The Class of 2009: Out of School, Out of Work

As part of our Children of the Recessionseries, we introduced you to four members of the class of 2009 who were beginning their real world journey with a dose of harsh reality. CBS News Anchor Katie Couric caught up with them one year later, to get an update on their progress.

In general, do you feel like the environment is a little more positive when it comes to looking for jobs?

"To be honest, I don't think it's really changed since last year that much," said Pooja Jaitly. "Among my friends, none of them have really fulfilled what they wanted to do after graduating."

Pooja spent months looking for a job after graduation from Fordham University. She settled for an unpaid internship in the fall, and is now going to law school.

Children of the Recession, Class of '09

She thinks that more kids are going to graduate school, because they just don't have any other alternative. "Having a college degree is so common. I think it's like what a high school degree used to be."

A college degree does improve your chances in the job market. Among workers with a degree under age 25, unemployment was about eight percent in May - below the national average. But that's double the unemployment rate for young graduates in 2007.

Jessica Piperis has been looking for a job in marketing since she graduated. "It's been rough, I'm not going to lie," she said. "A lot of applying and not hearing back."

To make ends meet and pay down her $20,000 student loan debt, Jessica continues to work at Best Buy. She may apply to graduate school in the fall.

CBS Reports: Children of the Recession

Like 35,000 other graduates in 2009, Eric Jordan applied to the Teach for America Program.He spent the year teaching middle school kids in San Jose, but says he is the one who learned a lesson.

"Things are definitely more complicated than I expected," he said. "Regardless of where you went to school, you were going to have to work just like everyone else."

Youth trend expert Jane Buckingham says it's a message the so-called "Me Generation" needed to hear.

"Nobody really prepared them for what the real world was going to be. They sort of promised them that if you studied hard, if you got straight A's, you could have the world at your feet. And that's not the truth," Buckingham said.

Alan Carlotto graduated Phi Beta kappa from Tufts University, and wanted to work in a lab. After several rejections, he took an office job.

Carlotto wants to be a dentist. It turns out, his boss is affiliated with Harvard's dental school.

"He sort of pushed me to apply. And things actually ended up working out well. I got accepted," Carlotto said.

With a year's worth of a real world education, our 2009 graduates offer some advice to the class of 2010.

"You basically have to fend for yourself in that world," Pooja said.

Alan said, "If I could back and do it again, I would place a much higher priority on gaining experience, say, in whatever field I was in."

"People just need to be aware that graduating college now is not the end-all, be-all," Eric said. "It's simply one more step in that path to getting where you need to be."
  • Katie Couric

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