by Kimberly Bain
As many students enter and leave college this fall, all have something on their mind. How will my degree help me provide for myself? This question has occurred to most college students once or twice. So what’s your answer? A job..post-grad work..seeing if the linen paper your degree was printed on is worth anything? Or maybe putting your own value on your degree?
While it sounds sad, many students have found themselves regretting their degrees because it either lead to no job or spending more money. A young recent graduate from Florida Atlantic University with a 3.0 GPA and a degree in English had high hopes that after college, he would land the perfect high school teaching job. After searching for months for an opening position in his districts schools, he was left with lots of student loans and a substitute teaching position which could barely pay off any of them.
Another international student had it all planned out. He would graduate with the “perfect” degree, as his parents described. A degree in Computer Science was his one way ticket to a high paying job in the IT field. After two years of searching for any entry-level job within the companies that have outsourced their work overseas, he feels cheated out of what he felt would financially secure him.
So what’s the solution to this bleak probability that’s become higher in the recent years’ economic downturn? People are getting fired, and people aren’t getting hired. Time Magazine reports the unemployment rate has gone up to 7.3 % this month. Though, as a society, we’ve abandoned what has gotten us this far since the founding of the country. Entrepreneurship. Many people around the country are tired of being laid off, not called-back and in need of income especially after they’ve spent thousands on a college degree.
Does this mean we should abandon the college system? Skills gained and experience from a college degree can be a great stepping stone into building a successful business. In business, customers and clients rely on the expertise of the owner to provide them with information or services that require specialized skills. Many degrees provide this.
Someone who’s great with numbers has great value to the economy but unless they are hired by an employer, their skills may be left untapped; skills that the economy needs. Employers cannot tell you the value of your skills because your skills, to them, are based upon if the company has an open position.
On the other hand, the economy may just be waiting for you to provide your services. Here are a few examples of some degrees that could translate into a profitable small business:
- Private educator/tutor
- Private school operator
- Educational curriculum developer
- Educational writer
- Publication editor
- Educational material sales
- Financial adviser
- Sales representative
- Business adviser
- Freelance paralegal
- Home health nurse
- Insurance contractor
- Vocational educator
- Freelance writer/adviser
- Midwifery/Private Care
- Contract Archivist
- Freelance editor
- Private educator
- Freelance writer
- Literary agent
As any good entrepreneur would understand, you have find your strengths and skills that you have in order to creatively develop a business for yourself. Starting the world’s largest fast food chain has already been done, so it will take your creative endeavors matched with your skills to create yourself a job. Starting with a degree gives you a good start because you have already gained many skills from that.
Betsy, of Oklahoma City, decided to turn the math degree she earned at University of Oklahoma into a profitable tutoring business. She now has a client list of 20 students and teaches summer remedial courses, on a contract basis, at the community center. She gives one-on-one training to struggling students and eager learners that she may not have had the opportunity to meet and assist waiting for a call-back from the district school for a job.
Logan, from Miami, Florida, graduated last year with a degree in Art from the University of Florida. He knew, before graduating, that his job outlook was bleak. He shuffled around a few part-time jobs as a museum curator, library assistant and customer service temp. Unsatisfied, he decided to dabble in his hobby of watercolor illustration. What started as a hobby, has turned into a successful freelance company. He, now designs commercial art for 20 companies, is the contract illustrator for three international publishing companies and instructs dozens of students each semester from his own professional studio.
Before you regret your degree or forgo it, take the more creative route to success and apply your skills to the current market. It can be a very rewarding experience. When jobs are scarce, creating one for yourself might be the best solution.