For years, the conventional wisdom has been that college is a necessary first step towards a better life. However, new realities are prompting people to rethink this assumption.
It has been said for generations that a college degree is necessary if you want to have a lucrative career. But in the current climate, with rising tuition fees and the need for artisans, some degrees are increasingly under the microscope.
At present, there is a growing demand for workers in fields that do not require a university degree.
According to PeopleReady Skilled Trades, a company that connects businesses with skilled workers, there has been a 50% increase in the need to fill these jobs during the pandemic.
Some of these positions, depending on the company, include apprenticeships for plumbers, roofers or carpenters. There is also a growing need for construction workers or electricians.
At the same time, the cost of college education is reaching record highs.
A US News report says tuition fees in private schools have jumped 144% in the past 20 years. Tuition fees in the state have increased by more than 200%. Some people question a college degree and others wonder why they took on debt for a degree that can’t promise a financially stable career.
Sean Lynott, from Perrysburg, says he knows all about the regret that can come from choosing the wrong field of study.
Lynott graduated from Ohio University in Creative Writing, but now works in brewing beer at a winery and brewery in Petoskey, Michigan.
“I feel like a more practical degree allows you to survive in the world and you can always write next to it,” he said.
Lynott believes that if he had stuck with journalism he would write professionally now.
In order to have a career in creative writing, writers are encouraged to publish, but it is this difficulty that drives people out of the field.
According to Lynott, who claims to have written personal essays and non-fiction, editing is the mark of a professional and the way a creative writer makes a living.
“It seemed like an impossible hill to climb,” said Lynott.
Professor Abby Cloud of the BGSU Creative Writing Department heads the Mid-American Review, which publishes short stories and poetry.
Cloud says that established journals like the Mid-American Review, which typically don’t pay writers but instead provide a foothold in the writing profession by giving aspiring writers publishing credits, are themselves difficult to find. publish.
“We’re currently very late and we’re not even open. Our acceptance rate is usually 1% or less. We print maybe 10-12 stories a year. We print maybe 60 poems a year.” , says Cloud.
To be accepted in a recognized journal, an aspiring writer sends his work, usually by mail.
This submission joins other submissions mailed from across the country.
At this point, associate editors will read the submission and, if they like it, forward the work to a poetry or fiction editor.
A collection of hundreds of submissions can be reduced to a small handful when it comes time to actually post.
The exception that confirms the rule
It is even more difficult to get the attention of a publishing house. “Big Five” publishers include Penguin / Random House, Hachette Book Group, Harper Collins, Macmillan, and Simon and Schuster.
This is something that fiction writer and Toledoan Amy Merrill-Wyatt was able to do, but only after developing thick skin. She also says that it is essential to find an agent willing to represent you.
“When I had my first agent several years ago, I probably sent my book easily to 60, 70 or 80 agents, and they all rejected it before I finally got an agent for the accept. And that agent sent it to another 25 publishers at various publishing houses, ”Merrill-Wyatt said.
She says a publisher accepted her first book, which led to a multi-book contract, but it was far from easy.
Merill-Wyatt says she received a standard deal from Simon and Schuster. $ 25,000 plus royalties for the first book and $ 25,000 plus royalties for the second book.
The cost of tuition per year at BGSU is $ 12,547.20 for state residents. At the University of Toledo it’s pretty much the same – $ 11,356 per year.
Marcellus Pfaff is not sold for a college degree. The Toledoan has always worked for the Local 500 workers’ union. He is 25 years old and has never considered going to university.
“Without having tens of thousands of dollars in debt, most trades pay well enough to support a family and invest money,” Pfaff said.
He says the starting salary is around $ 16 an hour and journeymen can go up to nearly $ 29 an hour.
And of course, a college education later in life will always be an option.
On the other hand…
Still, BGSU’s Professor Abby Cloud believes a creative writing degree and others like it have a purpose, especially in today’s workforce. She says she answers parents’ question all the time.
“Every organization, every office needs writers. And creative writing makes you uniquely suited for writing to different audiences and telling a story. Writers are probably more important than ever,” Cloud said.
She adds that many organizations struggle to pivot during a crisis. Creative writers, she says, are the most flexible.
In the wake of his book being published by one of the “Big Five,” Merrill-Wyatt has these words of wisdom for anyone who dreams of becoming a writer.
“With editing it is very difficult and very easy to get discouraged. My advice would be that it is okay to be discouraged.
Amy Merrill-Wyatt’s “Tangled Up in Luck” will be released on Tuesday, November 2nd. Simon and Schuster are committed to publishing this series.