Graduating College Students Face Tough Road
March 22, 2011
By Meaghan Shugrue
Special to the Register Citizen
Garrett Eucalitto of Torrington used to get 200 applicants when an entry level job opened in Connecticut at Sen. Joe Lieberman's offices in Washington, D.C.
Now he gets five times as many.
"Because of the state of the economy, we have to weed out those who want to work in politics versus those who just want a job," said Eucalitto, a former graduate student of Boston University who is now the legislative assistant and director of operations for Lieberman. "The recession has made it much harder for us when looking for people to fill openings."
Since the beginning of the recession, 13.9 million jobs have been lost, and those with college degrees are facing the highest unemployment in two decades, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The millions that graduated with a bachelors or associates degree last May made slightly less than those before them. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average salary for the class of 2010 reflected nearly a 2 percent drop from the previous year.
"I know that many of my friends had a difficult time finding jobs in their field and were forced to look elsewhere," said Kari Dost of Taunton, Mass., a 2010 graduate from Stonehill College in Easton, Mass.. "I am very happy and fortunate to have found a profession that I like."
As an alternative to heading into a dim job market, many students are heading to graduate school instead.
"After college I went right to grad school, where I studied International Relations," said Eucalitto, "I can absolutely sympathize with recent grads because I was in that situation. I applied for a ton of jobs before I landed my first interview, and even then there were times I didn't think I would find one."
The enrollment of new students at U.S. graduate schools increased by 5.5 percent in 2009 and are still on the rise, according to the annual CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees.
"I have known I had to go to grad school for a long time," said Caroline Foisy of Pottsdam, N.Y., a senior at Stonehill College. "I'm getting my degree in biology, but I really want to go into physical therapy, and furthering my education is my ticket to getting a job."
Joanne Elkinson, of Southborough, Mass, a graduate of Boston College class of 1982 said she could understand why recent graduates are disappointed when they are not getting the jobs they deserve after working so hard.
"I graduated with a degree in early childhood education, and in 1982, there were major budget cuts in Massachusetts due to Proposition 2 1/2, causing many current teachers to lose their jobs," Elkinson said.
She was invited to apply for a kindergarten teaching position, but was deterred by how many teachers were being laid off. Her decision lead her in a different direction.
"I am currently a real estate investor and manager," said Elkinson.
Her advice for individuals having a hard time finding jobs? "Do not get discouraged, try applying for something that is not related to your main interest of work preference and you may find that you like it even better," she said.
Meaghan Shugrue, a resident of Torrington, is a senior communications major at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass. She wrote the story for her course in Advanced Newswriting and Reporting.
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