Twelve 20-somethings chronicle their lives for WBUR. Learn more.
I am nowhere near where I want to be in life. When I was in college, I had this idealistic notion that money didn’t matter — that if I found something I loved, I wouldn’t have to work a day in my life.
I majored in journalism with a minor in history. I graduated in May 2009 and moved home with my mom because I couldn’t find a job. My graduation came eight months after the American financial system collapsed in upon itself. Before I graduated, I attended resume writing classes, job placement programs, and presentations on how to land decent work.
I remember being at one such presentation and the speaker flashed a graph on the screen that was a line representing the amount of post grads getting work after college. The line went back to 2001 and from there steadily but minutely increased until it hit 2008, where it looked more like a graph of Black Tuesday 1929. Basically, the presenter was imparting on us what we could expect when thrust out into the “real world.” It was disheartening, like getting shot in the leg before a race.
My dream was to work as a journalist in some city, either my native New York or Barcelona. I wanted to make enough money to live, play, hang out with bohemian woman, and drink delicious grog.
Unfortunately, I live with my parents and work two part-time jobs. One is as a waiter at a local restaurant, the other is at a local paper. I do have friends that are successful and work in Manhattan and are living the dream I always wanted, but much more of my friends are at home with their parents.
It’s demoralizing and emotionally stagnating to be at home. It’s embarrassing to be on a date and tell a beautiful woman that you live at home. I feel that I wasn’t even given a chance to explore my American Dream, that my friends’ older brothers and sisters were the last ones to really have a crack at opportunity.
I feel that when it was my turn, every door of opportunity was firmly closed shut and now I’m too old and too inexperienced to keep up with a slowly recovering job market. It’s even more upsetting when I talk to Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers who had this freedom in their twenties that I’ll never get to experience.
There is no American Dream anymore, at least for me — my biggest fears right now are having nothing to retire with and dying in abject poverty.
Sam is one of the two participants in Generation Stuck who are documenting their lives in audio form, in addition to text. Those stories will be broadcast on WBUR in November.