share your story? experience etc. high school senior not trying to mess up

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Ryan Lopez in newark, New Jersey

23 months ago

okay so im a senior in high school and i didnt know much about how bad the job market was until i got on this forum and after lurking for a few days i've realized that A.) Degrees dont get you get you jobs, experience gives you a better chance depending on the job. B. most college grads arent getting jobs and are stuck with large amounts of debts . and a few other things that im not exactly certain about.

i just want if your willing of course for you to share your story of where you are and how you got there. im still a senior in high school so you can see that i havent made any major mistakes yet. and im not planning to. so i want to know as much as i can before my public education ends. Im looking into getting a job that pays well but i dont have the money to go to college and with this shakey job market i dont want to be trapped in college debt for the rest of my life.

sorry for the wall of text.

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Riot in Ware, Massachusetts

23 months ago

It's good that you're thinking ahead; I don't think that many in your position are doing so.

If you decide that college isn't for you, that's a perfectly acceptable position. Working in the trades, skilled manufacturing, retail management, etc. can all lead to a decent, middle-class income. That said, I'd like to comment on what I see as some misconceptions you have about college graduates:

1) "Most college grads aren't getting jobs." - Many with 4-year degrees are finding it difficult to get jobs in their field or other jobs that require a degree. The statistic that I read was that 53.6% of recent 4-year graduates are jobless or underemployed. (i.e. The vast majority ARE working, but maybe not in a great job.) It's tough right now, but it will get better. My friend is an actuary and graduated in 2008. He wasn't able to find a job in his field for a year, maybe a year and a half, but eventually got into a temp position that allowed him to later be hired by another firm. He's now in the actuary training program and his career is pretty much where it should be, despite taking a while to find his first job.

2) "And are stuck with large amounts of debt." - If you have a large amount of college debt and it isn't because you went to Medical School, you're probably doing it wrong. If money is an issue and you want to go to college, start out at a Community College and then transfer to a state college or university.. Make sure you apply for federal financial aid and any scholarships you may qualify for. The "sticker price" for 2 years at my local CC and 2 more years at the closest state college to where I grew up would come to maybe $25,000. Almost no one pays the full amount.

Good Luck!

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Ryan Lopez in newark, New Jersey

23 months ago

Riot in Ware, Massachusetts said:

thanks for the reply riot. i do plan on researching as much as i can because if i do decide to take the college route i dont want to be in there not knowing what im doing. for now im looking at all types of jobs. you'd be surprised of the ways some people make money now a days. i was wondering btw where you're at and how you got there if you dont mind me asking.

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Riot in Ware, Massachusetts

23 months ago

Ryan Lopez in newark, New Jersey said: i was wondering btw where you're at and how you got there if you dont mind me asking.

I'm currently a biology graduate student in my first year of a PhD program. I started college right out of high school and studied Computer Science without really giving it much thought. After a year and a half, I left rather than go on Academic Probation. Following that, I worked for 3 years in various minimum wage-ish jobs including pizza delivery driver and food service worker. I went back to school at a community college and earned an AA degree. (I was over 24 and low-income, so everything was covered by Pell Grants or other non-loan aid.) In the process of finishing my AA, I did pretty well, so I earned a 2-year $10k/year scholarship to a local private college, which I graduated from this past spring. During my time at the 4-year school, I participated in undergraduate research. Total college loan debt, including first college attempt: $14k. Applied to grad schools during my senior year and completed an industry internship the summer after I graduated.

I'm looking at about 5 more years of graduate school, during which I'll make $22k + cost of living increases each year from a stipend, with decent health insurance that is fairly cheap, free vision and dental, and a few other benefits including tuition being waived for the duration of my program. (It's not much, considering my friends from my first college are all making about $70k/yr right now, but I did take 4 more years to figure out what I was doing.) In the future, I'm looking at 1-3 years of a post-doc position that typically pay $40-45k/yr. My research, including talking to actual people in these positions, indicates that after a post-doc, if I move into industry I can expect to make $80k/yr to start and $50-60k to start if I stay in academia.

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ping123 in Phoenix, Arizona

23 months ago

You should get a higher degree (BS or higher) in technical fields from accredited school, preferably from public school to save $$

While you are at school, make sure you do some related work, i.e research/internship, as much as possible. Start building your network by working hard.

I blew it the first time. I got an internship working in a Fortune 500 company as an engineer. My task was to do data entry. I felt entitled to more interesting technical tasks and slacked off. When i looked for reference after graduation few years later, the manager did not even reply my email. I had a few friends in the same program and got offers right after graduation. I went on to graduate school after because of crappy job market.

I worked much harder on my first job (50-60 hrs a week) without overtime. There were time i felt being used and treated unfairly. Looking back, i am glad i did work hard. The company didn't do too well and i moved on. My former manager literally called my current employer and got me this job which pays very well.

Make sure you get good grade in school too. It helps opening a lot of doors (scholarship, research funding, etc).

Good luck. It's good that you think about this early.

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Ryan Lopez in newark, New Jersey

23 months ago

ping123 in Phoenix, Arizona said:

thanks man but believe me im late at thinking of this compared to some of my friends who have already known what they were going to do since junior year in high school. the difference is i dont think many of them realize how bad the job market is right now. im thinking farther ahead so i dont end up regretting a big decision like this later on

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Beth in Plano in Plano, Texas

23 months ago

Read dailyjobcuts.com

Its very difficult to find a permanent full-time job when you have to compete with others that have more education and experience.

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B in Cleveland, Ohio

23 months ago

Hi Ryan. I definitely feel for those about to graduate. I graduated high school in 2004 and college in 2008, right as things were tanking economically. My advice to you? Skip college. I went to college on a $40,000 academic scholarship , yet still accumulated almost $20,000 in debt (private college). Going to a private college was mistake #1. If you're going to do college, do a state college. Much, much cheaper. But again, I say skip it. Get into a trade ASAP. Get into a specialized training program for that trade. If all else fails, work for UPS. My friend who did terrible in school works as a full-time driver for UPS, and he makes almost $30 an hour (think about what he makes in overtime pay!). College is not the answer. What do I regret? I regret not taking the college courses that were offered for free during high school, which was called Post-Secondary at my school. I also regret not taking vocational classes during high school, like automotive. That's the ticket these days is getting a running start right into a career and gaining valuable experience. Don't waste money on some BS degree like mine that employers couldn't care less about. Don't end up like me. I'm 26, making $10 an hour, part-time. I was at the top of my high school and college classes, and look where that got me. My husband barely did one class in college and out-earns me currently and is on track to become in charge of his whole division. Here's me, practically having to beg and claw my way to try to get jobs that don't even require degrees. It's pathetic. Sorry friend, I wish you the best in this terrible world!

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Beth in Plano in Plano, Texas

23 months ago

Yeah I know what you mean by learn a vocation. I have a friend that does field service for GE and made $25,000 just in overtime pay. Lots of high-school age kids don't want a blue collar job working with their hands.

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Ryan Lopez in newark, New Jersey

23 months ago

Beth in Plano in Plano, Texas said: Yeah I know what you mean by learn a vocation. I have a friend that does field service for GE and made $25,000 just in overtime pay. Lots of high-school age kids don't want a blue collar job working with their hands.

thats true. but in my case id much rather get into a field where i can do physical work and actually use my brain to do work. id also much rather be working outside in the fresh air than in a building with ac. i also dont want to be sitting on a computer all day. im trying to cut down how much i use the computer on a daily basis as i type this. i think when someone finds a field they're actually interested in they succeed in it because they enjoy it. instead of the kid that was recommended a type of job that pays well but he has no interest in. chances are that kid will make money but wont enjoy going to work at all.

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