College years are often credited as the most enjoyable, exciting, and fast-paced years of one's life. It's a time to explore newfound independence, discover how you fit into the world, what your identity is, and what your role will be within society. Nevertheless, what lies beyond those years is daunting to many, and in recent years, specifically following the United States' massive economic downturn following the housing market crash of 2008, it's hard to blame them. The job market was bleak, the economy was failing, and many graduates found their incredibly expensive degrees utterly useless.
These college grads found themselves taking jobs in fields where their degrees weren't even applicable and with lower pay than what they figured their diplomas should have guaranteed. Rather than earning their degree, getting their first job, and finally moving out of the house, far too many college graduates found themselves moving back into their parent's homes and staying far longer than expected.
However, college students now have something different on the horizon. Although unemployment skyrocketed after the 2008 recession meaning job growth was minimal at best, following the recession, the job market has shown a steady uphill trend. The numbers slightly decreased after it's high of three million recorded new jobs in 2014, but still showed considerably encouraging numbers in the years that followed. Even more exciting, 2018 is already on-trend to surpass both 2016 and 2017's added job numbers, which some attribute to recently introduced tax cuts. Since 2009 when the unemployment rate hit a staggering 10%, it has declined steadily and finally hit 4% when it was recorded on July 26th of this year, after reaching a low of 3.8% in May of this year.
It's easy to think "So what? Just because more jobs are available does not mean that they're in the field I want." This is often true, however, currently, the jobs that are being created are in need of graduates who earn degrees in the most popular and competitive majors. Fields such as nursing, education, psychology, and criminal justice. There are more opportunities for students to graduate and be hired by the companies they want, not simply what they can manage to get, and in positions where their degrees are needed.
So, what does this mean for graduates? This means that rather than attending a college or university and majoring in something because you feel there are more jobs available in that field, you can explore various majors that actually interest you without having to fear you'll never find a high enough paying job with your degree to afford your own place. After all, that is what college should be about. Discovering who you are and what you want to do, not continuing to fit into a mold.
Say what you will about Trump and his administration, but the U.S. economy and job market are currently thriving. As a college student that makes me feel as if I can be more flexible in what I choose to get my degree in. Rather than searching for the degree that fits the jobs that are available, I can search for a job that fits the degree I already have.
So, at least for now as these trends continue and the job market continues to flourish, I have more confidence that my future degree will get me into my own place in a shorter time after graduation than before – no matter how bad mom wants me to stay.