Facing high costs for college, increasing interest rates on student loans, and then global competition for jobs, the
wondered if members of La Jolla's Class of 2013 (graduating Tuesday, June 11) feel lucky. Here are their thoughts.
By Ashley Mackin
La Jolla High School’s Class of 2013 knows for a fact that the days of “degree preferred” have been replaced by “degree required.” They are planning accordingly. Approximately 92 percent of the graduating class will attend a two-year or four-year college in the fall.
Six seniors, interviewed by
La Jolla Light
prior to their June 11 graduation, said they see going to college as a privilege, but also a necessity. Having witnessed the recession and spiked unemployment rates, these students view a career as the ultimate goal and plan to use every resource available to them to land a job right out of college.
Though generally optimistic about their futures, the students have a heightened awareness about the economic prospects that await them.
“Nowadays, the more education you get the more job opportunities you have,” said senior and ASB President Daniel Hamilton. The UC Berkeley-bound business major said he plans to go to school, work for a few years, and then go to a different school to earn a Master’s of Business Administration.
Achieving not just a degree, but also a graduate degree, is a factor several students see in starting a career.
“(My parents) always told me ‘if you want a good job, you have to go to college’ and ‘you’ll get a better job with a higher degree,’” said Lauren Robertson, who will attend San Diego State University to study business and pre-med. She said she will attend graduate school as soon as she finishes her pre-med degree because “I’d like to get right on track with my life and my career,” she said, “I want to start right away.”
For Hamilton, the push to get ahead in the game comes from changes in the working world. “I think our country as a whole is more aware of ourselves on an international playing field, as opposed to just San Diego or California or the United States,” he said. “I’m aware now that I’m going to be competing with people across the world for the best jobs and opportunities, not just my classmates.”
Soon-to-be biology and pre-med major at Indiana State, Billy Penny, agreed. “We have to take advantage of the education we’ve been given and not make the same mistakes that generations before us have made,” he said. “Some people just sit at home when they have the opportunity to go to college.”
Erin Riley, who will study communications and public relations at Chico State University, said she feels the same way. “I’m lucky to be able to go to a four-year college. It’s an opportunity and you should take advantage of it when you have it.”
To fund that education, most of the students are looking into scholarships. While many will get assistance from their parents, Hamilton and Penny are taking out student loans. Noting recent increases in interest rates for such loans, they maintained loans are something they have to do.