By Brittney

I recently came into a wee bit of internet fame (or would infamy be a better term?) as an article, as well as a slideshow gallery, was published on CNN Money about “Generation: Lost,” featuring interviews with myself and several other recent graduates who have found themselves unable to find jobs in their fields of study.

I also made the mistake of reading the comments.

I took most of them with a grain of salt because these people don’t know me and they don’t know my story. Not the whole of it, anyway.

There were a lot of aspersions on my character, however, quite a few of them that I’d like to address:

  1. While I am a minority, I made it into Princeton on the power of my own accomplishments, without the aid of any “connections” or affirmative action, and I made it out under my own power.
  2. This one is threefold: I know exactly how much money I spent at Princeton. My parents didn’t pay for my education. Princeton has a fantastic financial aid program, and while I do have student loans, they are manageable. And most of all, my finances are none of your business.
  3. I didn’t major in French and Spanish – I majored in Comparative Literature, which can be explained easiest as a double major in French and Spanish, since those are the languages I concentrated in. I also didn’t major in this because I expected to be a high school teacher. I majored in CompLit because I have every intent on teaching at the collegiate level.
  4. My decision to get a Master’s in English is not a plan to hide out in academia until the economy improves. It’s part of my 7-year plan to gain a teaching position at an institution of higher learning. I don’t care if I have to waitress until I get there because I actually do have a plan and it’s a damned good one.
  5. To those of you who stated that I should have majored in something more marketable – I agree. I completely and utterly agree with you. I actually started as a pre-medicine major – but I was completely and utterly unsuited for it. That’s not where my strengths lie. I’m terrible at math and horrible at memorization, but I’m a really good critical thinker, writer and teacher. Hence my aspiration to teach.
  6. To those that said that my generation is spoiled because we expect to be happy and wealthy from the beginning? Not entirely inaccurate. Except that I’m not happy and I won’t be until I’ve paid my dues and gotten to where I want to be. I also don’t mind slogging it out in the lower end of the salary pool (or even hourly wage pool) until I can get there. I’m more than willing to work hard to get what I want. The issue here is, the thing that I want is a job that makes me happy. Even if it doesn’t pay very well.
  7. To those of you who said that I wasted time and money on a Princeton degree when I could have majored in the same concentration at a far cheaper school? Absolute truth. I could have easily gone to a cheaper school, but I got into my dream school and it was affordable with financial aid. So I followed my dream. Sure it wasn’t practical, but at least I’m living with no regrets.

Yes, I am working at a video store as well as freelancing other jobs. Yes, I am picky about the work I choose to do. Yes, my parents have gone above and beyond the call of parental duty.

But it’s my life. And I’m not representative of all the problems that my generation faces, nor am I representative of all the problems that my generation is causing.

I’m just me. And I’m finding my way. It’s just taking a little longer than anticipated.

So, I’m not Generation: Lost. I’m more…Generation: Detour.

P.S. Thank you to everyone who had nothing but kind and helpful things to say. I appreciate it more than words can say. I made a lot of mistakes, missteps and had quite a few mishaps, but I’m getting back on track. I’ll be in graduate school in the fall, working to offset my costs, and I’ll be on my way to teaching and researching in no time!

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