Ten Tales of 20-Somethings: Survey Style

By Coley Christine via Unsplash

Photo by Coley Christine via Unsplash

This survey came out of a dark place. “Why am I sad all the time?” “Why am I eating this cheeseburger?” “Why do I still have trouble spelling the word thesaurus?”

From one rut to another, in between a rock and a hard place, I sought out friends and asked them some questions… wondering if we were in the same lifeboat, all crowded together trying to escape a sinking ship. Honestly, I just wanted to know if anyone felt the same way – kind of lost, kind of navigating dark waters, kind of fighting to sink or swim.

I think the only thing we’re gathering from this is that I have a deep-seated fear of the ocean and a penchant for self-absorption – neither of which I will deny. And before you argue that as a Pisces, water is your element, and I need a better analogy, let me tell you that I know I need a better analogy. Don’t kick me while I’m down.

ONE

  1. What did you study in college? Chemical engineering.
  2. Do you have student loan debt? Yes, it’s manageable. I chose my university to avoid excessive debt.
  3. Are you happy? I’m not sad.
  4. Is your work challenging? Is it mentally stimulating? Yes, that’s why I like it.
  5. Describe your annual income versus the cost of living in your area.  My income is much lower than the median wage in Seattle. That doesn’t matter much. I don’t have a family, and I live conservatively. With the new minimum wage law in Seattle, I might soon make less than the minimum wage because I am salaried.
  6. Does the job you want require a degree? Yes.

TWO

  1. Major: Physics ; Minor: Anthropology
  2. Do you have student loan debt? I do have student loan debt.
  3. Are you happy? At times I am happy.
  4. Do you think your job requires a degree? I do not believe my job requires a college degree and I do feel as if I am overqualified for the job at hand (assistant). I also think the education system in our country is failing and children need more from high school degrees, so that the average education doesn’t lead to leaving school at 21 with $20,000 in debt and the same education, knowledge, and practical skills that you should have at 18 with a high school degree and no debt.

THREE

  1. What did you study in college? Radio/TV/Film and International Studies
  2. What is your dream job? Sitting in a research lab studying neuroscience and physics so that I can be telepathic.
  3. Are you happy? Not with my life, though.  But I have happy moments, like nice sunsets and ladybugs that aren’t dead.
  4. Did your degree prepare you for your current position? My degree? Not really.  I feel like anyone could do this job.

FOUR

  1. What did you study in college? I studied psychology with a minor in human development and family studies.
  2. Do you have student loan debt? I do not have any student loan debt (yet, although for nursing school I will have to take out loans).
  3. Describe your annual income versus the cost of living in your area. My annual income is very sad. I more or less live paycheck to paycheck to pay rent.

FIVE

  1. Do you have student loan debt? Yup. Pretty sure I started with $40k, down to $30k four years out of college. So at this rate, which is the maximum I can possibly afford ever and not even really now, I’ll pay off my student loans for my bachelor’s degree only at age 40.
  2. Did college prepare you for your current job? Not in the way that I thought. The film program definitely didn’t fill me in on all the job possibilities in the field, nor adequately prepare me for a single one of them. But working together in teams did stuff, I think.
  3. Are you happy? For now–I’m working towards goals, making decent money, saving up more than half of my paycheck, enjoying work/life balance, thoroughly loving when I have time to write scripts or do improv and not forcing myself to…so maybe it’s a backwards way of doing things but it may lead to the same road eventually.

SIX

  1. Do you have student loan debt? Yes, lots.
  2. Did college prepare you for your current job? Current job? Not at all. But my freshman professor got me my first internship, which turned into my first job, which introduced me to my boss, which got me my second job, which subsequently got me jobs 3-5 and helped in landing current job #6. So I guess that counts for something.
  3. How do you make your living? [Working for a non-profit]. In other words, I write thank you letters for my boss and dabble in database management. Meaning they over pay me for the work I do, yet I am vastly overqualified for what they ask of me. But I just got a raise!
  4. Are you happy? Define happy? In my personal life, yes, I am very happy. I have an amazing husband who I love (he cleaned AND did the grocery shopping today), we are buying a very pretty house that I am excited about, and I hope we have a kid in the relatively near future. Professionally? I dislike my boss, am perpetually bored at work and feel like I have zero direction or passion for my job. But it pays my bills and my student loans, so I can’t complain too much. (It also allows me to answer your surveys during business hours).
  5. Is your job challenging? Not at all. A well trained monkey could do most of my job.

SEVEN

  1. Do you have student loan debt? Yes. A lot. Just over $98,000 the last time I totaled it up.
  2. Did college prepare you for your current job? Not at all. Maybe 1% of the things I learned in college came up in my work over the last 4 years.
  3. Are you happy? Yes! Work is fine but my hobbies and the people in my life are the key to my happiness.
  4. Describe your annual income versus the cost of living in your area. For the first time in my life I am making more than my cost of living. I am able to save a little while still being able to enjoy life and spend a little bit of money on the things I like to do/want.
  5. Do you think your job requires a degree? Nope. I have learned everything about being a coordinator by being a coordinator. I will learn how to be a producer by being a producer. BUT I probably wouldn’t have been hired if I didn’t have a degree (any degree), so that is that catch!

EIGHT

  1. What did you study in college? I began with history with a focus on 20th century American history; and then picked up a 2nd degree for theater with a focus on play/screenwriting
  2. Do you have student loan debt? Nope.
  3. What is your dream job? Either being a writer of some sort or a history professor. Unfortunately the world doesn’t need history professors.
  4. Are you happy? *long pause-several minute pause* I’m hopeful for something better.

NINE

  1. Did your degree prepare you for your current position? Yes and No. I am very underprepared when it comes to internships and experience and I feel this is negatively affecting my ability to find work.
  2. Are you happy? Yes, but I’m lucky enough to know that my happiness is independent from my circumstances.
  3. Do you think your job requires a degree? No – I actually don’t think any job requires a degree. A job requires the ability to do the job – degrees are arbitrary and universities are soul sucking businesses with so many perks and fond memories that you actually feel pride to rep said businesses colors. I don’t believe in degrees. I believe in being smart and in working hard. While degrees give employers a feeling that said applicant / employee can do a certain job – that isn’t always true. Life should be a meritocracy sans fancy pieces of paper.

TEN

  1. What did you study in college? In college, I studied Biology with a specialization in Ecology and Conservation & Film and Television.
  2. Do you have student loan debt? I definitely still have loan debt.
  3. Did your degree prepare you for your current position? One of my degrees is in an entirely different field so that has not been at all helpful except in creating small talk on OKCupid.  My degree in film & television has been somewhat helpful, but many of the courses have had no practical effect on my career at all.
  4. Is your work challenging? Is it mentally stimulating? I would say that my work is mentally stimulating.
  5. Do you think your job requires a degree? My job currently requires a degree, but I’m not sure it really needs to.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s