Despite the dire employment conditions of higher education, young people continue to enrol in graduate school. Detractors roll their eyes: Why would a young person spend years earning a degree of questionable value? Why not “go get a job”? To which the 20-something laughs, having graduated into an economy where peers spend years vainly looking for a job, finding only unpaid internships or low-wage contingency labour, often while living at home. A funded graduate programme, with health insurance, seems a welcome escape.
"But it is not just about your current earnings," the detractor continues, "It is about the wages you lose while in the programme." To which the 30-something, having spent their adult life in an economy of stagnant wages and eroding opportunities, takes the 20-something aside, and explains that this is a maxim they, too, were told, but from which they never benefitted. They tell the 20-something what they already know: It is hard to plan for what is already gone.
We live in the tunnel at the end of the light.