All I can remember wanting while I was growing up was for my walls to be painted. I would daydream about redecorating my room and adding a touch of my personality, studying Pottery Barn catalogs and the JCPenney website to help myself develop a sense of design. I was obsessed. I would even wander off to the paint section of Walmart while my mother would grocery shop, just so I could collect paint swatches. 

My dad knew that my color preferences would likely not meet his approval. He wasn’t a fan of the lime green, neon pink or bright yellow ideas. And, there was no swaying him on the thought of black walls with splatter paint all over them, Jackson Pollock style.  

His argument revolved around the idea that painting my walls some outlandish color would mean he has to repaint them again when I moved out. Which, my parents never forgot to remind me happened when I was 18. So, the return on investment just wasn’t there.

But the year before I started high school, I got my wish. Likely due to the fact that I was no longer trying to persuade him to paint my walls “zebra print,” whatever that means. Besides the reason, that year for my birthday my dad painted my walls the most perfect shade on magenta. 

Never give up on your dreams, kids!

I was very grateful for those painted walls. It made my room feel like it was truly mine. To this day, when I go home, even though my parents have transformed my childhood bedroom into some type of storage space, the magenta walls remain. Though basically nothing else of mine is left in that room, the walls stand as a reminder that I was there. That I grew up, and grew out. 

Now I stand on the precipice of graduating college. An exciting time no doubt, but even more interesting in the middle of a global pandemic

WHO’S HIRING?

A survey conducted by Strada Education Network suggests 6 out of 10 Americans have lost their job(s) due to the outbreak of COVID-19. A stark and devastating blow to college graduates across the country who have invested tens-of-thousands of dollars into their education, hoping to secure employment post-graduation. 

CNBC published a jobs picture representing the top employers hiring right now amidst the pandemic. None are jobs designed for college grads. Talk about a truly terrible return on investment. Right, dad?

The traditional rite-of-passage that is the post-grad job search has been severely hindered. Begging the questions, is COVID-19 driving more college graduates back to their childhood bedrooms?

Internships have gone virtual, college campuses have closed for the summer, leaving vibrant college towns deserted, and the Department of Labor has reported weekly spikes of three million new unemployment claims for the past five weeks. 

These statistics can make mom and dad’s house look pretty damn appealing to young adults. The uncertainty of the future has been amplified times ten, and is gut-checking all of us who are currently seeking long-term employment. 

Apparently, not all of our degrees are really “essential.” 

Financial services company, TD Ameritrade, conducted a study in 2019 that revealed Gen Z are more optimistic about being able to move out of their childhood homes at a younger age, more so than previous generations. 

But, what becomes of that optimism when the reality is contrasting? 

The truth is, our government forgot about the college kids. Millions of young adults who needed the $1,200 stimulus check were left out. I am personally not one to support government handouts, but when you are dishing them out left and right, how do you not include the future of our workforce?

Young adults everywhere have had no option but to move back home. With mass unemployment, and no college left to attend, the hometowns we scratched and clawed to get out of are now our only resort. 

How does that play out for young adults who have no “home” to resort to? 

It comes down to the fact that this pandemic has disadvantaged the future of young Americans. We are to inherit a country straddled with unsurmountable debt that will continue to hinder economic growth. A social security system, which currently accounts for over 3% of our country’s total revenue, that has no viable future for us to benefit from. And, we still need jobs. We should all be pissed off. 

On top of all this, come to find out, there is research that indicates young adults living at home with their parents are more likely to become depressed. 

The Society and Mental Health journal concluded that young adults who lived independently were less depressed, better off financially and more likely to have achieve other markers of adulthood than young adults who stayed with their parents. 

Also, the research suggested mental health deterioration was worse for young adults who came back home after previously experiencing independence. 

It’s clear this pandemic contains multiple epidemics within itself, mental health being one of them. This will be a byproduct of the disastrous mess COVID-19 has reeked on our economy and society. 

Hopefully, it will be the young adults who fear the comfort of magenta walls, that help us rebuild this country. It’s clear we will need it.