I have a couple weeks of summer left before school starts and it’s terrifying and anxiety-inducing simply to imagine the hassles of moving into my off-campus housing, buying books, and paying for other amenities. I’m very worried about what I’m going to do this semester because I’m past the halfway point which means I’m pressured to find an internship, look for student teaching opportunities, and get involved with the community and campus organizations. These are all things that I thought of fleetingly and now that fall semester is starting, pushing it to the back of my mind is now no longer an option.
I truly believe that attending college in America is expensive and not even a luxury. The job market is frankly too competitive for the average college student and we have to do too much to simply apply for an entry-level position. Graduates clamor to snatch an unpaid internship. UNPAID, do you hear me? I talk to people who go to top national universities and they tell me that they’re worried about not getting a job after graduation. Which is ridiculous because they’re literally paying to go to a brand name college since it will most likely guarantee them a job. However, the fact that they think about this shows just how bad the economy is right now. This correlates to the presidential election because America really needs someone who can help millennials right now. Forget about the corporations and middle-aged adults; we need a president who can help the youths and that means directly addressing education, testing, healthcare system, and the welfare of college students. Why is it that college graduates are unemployed?
I don’t want to end up like that so that means I need to struggle and work harder than my parents. My parents did not immigrate to America to pass on this burden to me; they came to achieve the American dream themselves. I worked hard as an adolescent alongside my parents at the restaurant but the point of me going to college is to never work at a restaurant again. But I find that I’m forced to work in the restaurant again during the summer because no one wants to pay when they can simply get volunteers, and oftentimes people require a connection to get a foot in the door.
Growing up poor is sadly a reality: I have no connections since I did not have the privilege to make them in my piss-poor environment. This leads to my current situation: I cannot afford to volunteer or have an unpaid internship. Who thought it a good idea to force labor on college students when they have to take out loans to pay for tuition?
So as a junior, I shake my head at all these expectations. The chips are stacked against me. I’m also Asian and although people say it’s a positive stereotype to be the model minority, I beg to differ. We are expected to be smart and very efficient so that means we need to work harder to meet those expectations. That sets the bar way higher for us than any other ethnicity. I need to be smarter than the average Asian to even join the workforce because there’s always another Asian available to replace me.
If you have the time, money, and means to attend cram school, get tutored, and take SAT/ACT (or whatever test your nation forces you to take) classes, please do it now. It only gets harder from hereon out.