Service organizations with significant time commitments receive a majority of their applications from new college graduates; a rising trend agencies can trace back to the onset of the economic recession.
With fewer paying jobs to go around, alumni are left looking high and low for opportunities to stay marketable and avoid the dreaded ‘gaps’ in social activity and self-betterment. As graduate programs are growing in popularity, college students are fighting for more qualifications, education, experience and other general accomplishments to set them apart, and service organizations have become a cheaper way to achieve much the same result for students leaving higher education with less-technical degrees who do not need, want or cannot afford a graduate degree.
Without jobs waiting after graduation, graduates have few options at their disposal. There is continued higher education, part-time work, minimum wage positions, service or nothing.
Service is not just a last resort for graduating college students — many are driven to service on an emotional and social care level that goes beyond the logical approach.
College is a time when many students actually begin to witness the real world. They get a glimpse of what their parents’ finances truly look like. They meet students from all parts of the country and world with different backgrounds and upbringings who struggle with the same issues. Nothing can bring a group of people together more than realizing how often they have lost sleep over the same thing.
In the economic climate of the past few years, few young people have not come of age without experiencing some hardships, either directly or indirectly. College options are often severely limited with parents less able to put up big sums, loans becoming harder to secure and scholarships harder to come by (More students are searching; fewer places are giving). Students have seen their houses or their houses of friends and family members foreclosed. Jobs have been lost or downsized.
At the same time these personal trials have swirled around individual lives, students have also grown up in the time of 9/11 and the subsequent War on Terror. Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters and numerous revolutions have occurred as well. Exposed to so many methods of raising money and aid for the most affected of these groups and witnessing the power of young people to effect remarkable change has been permanently impressed into the minds of the generation currently entering the workforce.
Greater awareness of the world’s problems and the power of the youth coupled with limited options have made service a viable career-starter for students after they exit the receiving line and turn their tassels.
Allana Wooley is a freshman anthropology and history double major from Marble Falls.