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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

A World Of Uncertainty

Golden colored decision scales
Golden colored decision scales

How young adults are coping with career and work plans amidst covid-19

The residual effects of COVID-19 will reverberate throughout the U.S economy for years to come. In terms of college students as well as recent graduates, reports have indicated that the current job market is one of the worst in decades. 

According to The Labor Department, the unemployment rate for young adults between ages 16 and 24 is 11.5%, which is nearly double the overall unemployment rate of 6.7% The pandemic has forced individuals entering the workforce or attending graduate school to reconsider their plans due to financial, familial and personal health concerns, further delaying the next phase of adulthood. 

Experts estimate that the challenges posed by the current crisis will mimic the difficulties faced by millennial college students during the economic crash of 2008. 

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While many graduates fare well, some former undergraduate students who earned their bachelor’s degrees within the last few years prior to the looming shadow of a pandemic still live with parents, unable to find jobs related to their fields of interest and will be paying student loans well into mid-adult life, leaving soon-to-be alumni unsure of where they stand in an unstable economy. 

A study conducted by The Pew Research Center found a vast generational shift, indicating that the percentage of people between ages 18 and 29 living in their childhood homes increased to 52% from 44% just a decade ago. Researchers also noted a 26% increase in loan debt among recent graduates compared to the class of 2009. 

John Fort, associate professor of economics and pre-law advisor, shared his thoughts regarding the preparation of Wofford students, specifically those aspiring towards a career in law, to enter the world, expressing optimism and positivity for the future. 

“At the moment,” he said“we have 18 students that have applied to law school for next year. Although that is low, it is within the range of applicants we have every year.” 

Fort continued, stating his feelings concerning the flexibility of the legal profession. 

“We still have courts operating and people are still using legal services,” he added. “On a personal note, two of my children are attorneys and they are both working 100% remotely. I conducted over 500 hearings last year telephonically as a bankruptcy trustee.”

Fort concluded by discussing the future of law and citing the resilience and adaptability of Wofford students as the source of their continued success in maintaining a tradition of excellence despite obstacles imposed by uncontrollable forces. 

 “I can tell you that the profession has adapted well to the changes,” he said. “The use of telephonic and remote hearings is increasing efficiency in many cases and will most likely be viewed as a positive change. I do think a liberal arts education gives you many tools that help you adapt, so Wofford students have an advantage.”

Written By Nehemiah Broadie

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