College Students Encounter Obstacles of Financial Insecurity

Image via The Balance

Amid the pandemic, college students are encountering food and housing insecurity — one of the main obstacles of graduating on time and succeeding as it hinders their long-term career goals/path.

This poses as a financial crisis to many college students and recent graduates. Once again, Millennials and Gen Z’s are bearing the brunt of those who came before them.

It is not hard to believe that many students have lost financial support from their parents as a result of the pandemic, and that it would lead to food scarcity for them and not being able to pay their full amount of their rent, mortgage or utility bills. They may have lost their own supplementary jobs as well due to the long hiring freeze of many companies since March 2020, although many sectors have been slowly picking back up.

The status of their financial well-being affects between 68-72% of their mental health, leading to anxiety and depression being the highest among college graduates. Entry-level hiring has been almost cut off entirely and even STEM majors are going to have an absolutely degrading experience looking for their first job right out of graduation.

For many college graduates/recent graduates, it seems that this financial crisis leads to no hope for them. And the term “financial crisis” fits this current circumstance as there is a net inflation of tuition for certain college degrees. We are about to hit the fourth wave of the virus, and while things still are not entirely back to normal, the goals that these students set have been energy draining instead of motivating them during this situation.

Graduating from the Class of 2020 is extremely hard as this was the year that led to burnout. Additionally, there were many instances where graduates have shared the same concern about closely giving up on the idea of becoming what they studied for, while endless applying for jobs in their field that led to rejection and being ghosted by the employer.

It is going to be a major crisis for the United States if we turn our backs on an entire generation when graduates are trying to enter the workforce.

So what if you are currently lost? What if the job/career that you are looking for is currently on a hiring freeze or a decline? No vacancies at the moment? You still need to make some kind of income to keep a roof over your head.

  1. You either get creative and start your own side gig/freelance project such as starting a website/blog and get paid for it. Or if you can create your own shampoo product or using your design skills to start your own clothing line online, go for it!
  2. Or you can take a step backwards, and apply for jobs to keep you busy. Even if it isn’t the job that you are looking for, it is still a good chance for you to develop new skills that you can display on your resume.

According to Dorie Clark’s article at Harvard Business Review, he mentions something similar that will probably speak out to the crowd who is going through a tough journey right now.

Dorie states, “Unfortunately, meeting those urgent needs sometimes means that longer-range goals get shunted aside. A year into the Covid-19 pandemic, many professionals have found themselves turning down coveted promotions in order to maintain flexible hours, accepting positions in fields they actually want to leave, or saying yes to jobs they’re overqualified for or unexcited about because they simply need the money.
Those decisions — while painful — may be necessary in the short term. But a temporary departure from your professional goals doesn’t mean that all is lost. It’s essential — and possible, even with a busy day job — to stay focused on your long-term career trajectory, so you can rebound quickly and get back on a path that feels right for you.”

Below, is a survey that illustrates the population that is most vulnerable to food and housing insecurity.

#RealCollege 2021: Basic Needs Insecurity During the Ongoing Pandemic