Friday, August 21, 2009

Paradise Lost

A few excerpts from a commentary titled "Our Side of Paradise" published last week in Forbes. The author is a soon-to-be-NYU graduate. She provides some insight into the minds of other students now trying to find their way in the post-college world.

[U]nlike the rest of the responsible adult population, fear of unemployment among recent college grads is not quite as evident as one might expect. For a generation trying to find its place in the job market, the excuse of a "bad economy" has actually been a relief -- even a breath of fresh air -- for recent grads. At least for some of them. The post-graduate summer for recent NYU alums has been freckled with rooftop barbecues, typical bar gatherings on Manhattan's Lower East Side and apartment parties in Brooklyn.


Several weeks ago, during cocktail hour with some new acquaintances, the subject turned, inevitably, to unemployment. Once it was established that nearly everyone just graduated from NYU, the dreaded question was posed: "What are you doing now?" Financially speaking, the answers were unsurprising: freelance photography, an unpaid internship, waitering. And yet no one seemed to mind that income was slim to none and the jobs unassuming. "The economy's bad," someone said.

The thing is, some lucky (some may say "spoiled") recent college grads are OK with the idea of unemployment--at least temporarily. As a generation once defined by SAT scores and the number of clubs on our resumes, we have found ourselves suddenly free of the conventions of school and the pressures of finding a "good" job. "We're young. We should enjoy not having a lot responsibility," a friend recently told me.


In June of this year, I moved into an apartment in Brooklyn with several recent NYU grads and spent the summer interning and finishing up one last course. One of my roommates, who graduated in May, spent the summer in a part-time, paid internship. Another was able to find a few freelance editing jobs earlier in the summer, and another has yet to find any job at all. But it's not the end of the world that none of us are able to fully afford rent.

That's because, thankfully, our parents can


Yes, our generation has traditionally been criticized as selfish, spoiled and coddled by boomers, but we aren't the only generation to have this experience. Flip through the pages of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "lost generation" masterpiece This Side of Paradise, and you'll find the relevant tale of the young Amory Blaine, who hauntingly reflects a generation privileged with minimal responsibility and a sense of exciting uncertainty.

The full article is here.


Laura Goggin Photography said...

I really shouldn't read stuff like this, especially so close to the date my rent is due...

Jill said...

I am trying so hard to crush my son's spirit so that he won't be one of these.