I am a member of the “millennial” generation. You know, the stereotypical hipster kids who like some band you’ve probably never heard of and are living with their parents, unemployed. Except…that’s not me.
I graduated from college and immediately went to grad school. In the sciences, math, and engineering, students generally get paid stipends to go to grad school. Oh, sure, it wasn’t a huge stipend, but it was enough not only to pay the bills but also to let me squirrel away some savings. I was in graduate school during the big financial bust of 2008, but I kept working and kept getting that stipend, thanks in part to the fact that my university valued its grad students enough to guarantee our funding, and in part to support my lab received from various organizations, including NASA – an agency of the federal government.
Immediately after I finished my degree, I got a job. In fact, I even had to push my start date back a little bit, because I needed some time to finish up university obligations and organize my final dissertation. My total period of unemployment was about a week, in early 2011, and then I started working. As it happens, the job I took is with a major commercial spacecraft company; the biggest program we are working right now is a batch of satellites that the US Air Force bought to replace older models.
So, here’s one person’s story: I’ve directly benefited from a government and from institutions that value advanced education, basic research, high technology, and infrastructure investments. And the recession didn’t touch me.
Huh. How about that.