Students worry over economy

Posted May 10 11:00 a.m.

by Carolyn Polinsky
U-WIRE Washington Bureau

George Washington University student Ben Stetler dreams of declaring his candidacy for U.S. presidency and barring that has hopes of seeing his name in lights in Hollywood. As a senior about to enter the work force, he realizes that his top two choices for employment may not pan out and shrugs that he could always be a coffee maker or live off his parents.

“I paint with a big brush,” says Stetler, a political communications major. “The one that doesn’t have many bristles because I can’t afford them.”

Like other students about to graduate, he faces a job market where the unemployment rate reached six percent last April, up two percentage points from March. Seniors will be particularly affected by a lack of available jobs, says Senior Economist William Carrington of Welsch Consulting, an economic advisory firm.

“Graduates in search of jobs are the first to bare the brunt of unemployment,” Carrington says.

“Because the economy is in a down phase, employees aren’t hiring seniors that they would have,” agrees John Sargent, an economist for the U.S. Department of Labor. In addition, “a lot of people who would have been creating jobs for seniors by moving are staying put in their jobs.”

Sargent says that economics indicators don’t show signs for economic improvement any time soon, and Carrington believes it will pick up anywhere from three months from now to a few years.

“In this kind of economy it’s really important for graduates to put some work in polishing their resume and getting out there and searching for jobs,” Sargent says.

“Looking for a job is the hardest job you’ll ever have,” says Carrington. He advises graduates to be persistent and says that it takes unemployed persons two to four months to find work.

“I’ll find work somewhere,” Stetler says. “Because of the economy there’s no sense in stressing out about it.” He plans on taking a year off before pursuing a career or going to law school and wants to travel and reflect

Sargent recommends that graduates use all their connections and tell relatives, friends, neighbors and parents that they are searching for a job. Fields with the most employment prospects include health care, nursing, teaching and information technology in the computer industry, he says.

Liz O’Mera-Goldberg, an G.W. American Studies major and Theater minor, hopes to use contacts in the theater world to find work. She plans to work in theater administration or arts marketing.

“Another option is to live off my parents,” she jokes, but ads that most of her friends are planning to move back home.

A few years ago, when the economy began to slow down, more people began to go to business and law school as an alternative to working, says Jaimie Bederman, the National Director of Graduate Services for The Princeton Review, a leading provider practice testing and services for students. Now people have less confidence that an MBA will help them and the number of people looking to go to graduate school for business is going down.

However, she said that the number of people who took the LSATs, was at its highest in October. She said that students are looking to law school as an alternative to finding a job and people who have lost their jobs are hoping it will help them embark on a new career.

Andrew Rossi, a communications major at George Washington University, will study Public Relations at the University of Syracuse, and plans to eventually do PR for the entertainment industry.

He says that while he learned communications theory in undergraduate school, he is hoping to gain real-wold experience in grad school to make him self “more marketable in the job market.”

Sargent says that graduate school can be used as a strategy to avoid the job hunt but student should make sure they choose a major that will improve their career prospects in the field they want to be in.

Mike Disabatino says that unlike most seniors he knows he has a job waiting for him and will go home to Delaware and to work at his father’s construction company in human resources. He plans on trying out the family business for a few years and if it doesn’t work out he will attend graduate school for an MBA

Senior Abby Krauent will continue working for a marketing research company and says “I’m lucky that I had an internship that turned into a job.”

As a junior analyst she will do cover testing for magazines, meaning she will work with focus groups to determine how publications will fare on the newsstand.

Though she likes knowing what will be in print four months ahead of time, she hopes to find a more creative job but realizes that finding one will be a difficult task.

Sara Veniulo, a Criminal Justice major, will work as an executive assistant at George Washington while attending law school part-time at Catholic University.

”I’ve always wanted to go. Hopefully it will help me out,” she says.

Veniulo and Krauant say that most people they know of will be moving back home or are waiting and hoping to hear from graduate schools.

Veniulo jokes, “That was my plan. Stay in school as long as possible.” .

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