Bummer: Young Conservationists Realize Their Degrees Are Worthless

One of the problems we’ve seen for years now is that kids are going to college and majoring in disciplines that aren’t worth the paper they’re printing on, much less the tens of thousands of dollars of student debt accrued. At least with the old basket weaving degree joke, making baskets can result in money made. You can work to make awesome baskets, start your own company, and sell them for a profit. Not so much with things like this

All work, no pay: the plight of young conservationists
Qualified graduates are struggling to find paid jobs and many give up to pursue a different career. The result is a net loss for conservation work, reports Mongabay

Nika Levikov swore she would never work as a waitress again. But, today — with a master’s degree in conservation science from Imperial College London — she’s taking orders, delivering drinks, and cleaning tables to support herself.

After two years of looking for paid work as a conservationist around Europe and four months doing unpaid work in East Africa, Levikov moved to the island of Malta to work at Greenhouse Malta. Levikov, who owes over $100,000 (£77,644) in student loans, described her work at the small environment NGO as “casual” and “freelancing” — some hours are paid, others are volunteer — while the group looks to secure more funding.

“The reality many of us face is that we will have to babysit, clean toilets, and serve drinks as we try to gain the experience we need in conservation to finally get that dream job,” said Levikov, a former intern at Mongabay, who just turned 30.

“I’m not blaming anyone for my current situation in which I am utterly broke and still crossing my fingers that in the near future my career will finally take off,” she told Mongabay. “Indeed I was wrong in thinking that all my hard, unpaid work would lead to something or that having a degree from a … highly-respected university would give me a leg-up.”

Levikov is not alone.

Over a dozen conservationists related a depressingly similar story: serial unpaid internships, crippling student debt, short-term work for little or no pay, dismissive attitudes, and entry-level job requirements that include expectations of considerable field time and experience.

What they’ve learned is that just because they want something doesn’t mean they’ll get it. The Real World doesn’t work like that. And, the aforementioned notion that some degrees aren’t worth squat.

Interestingly, one of the things we learn from the article is that all these conservation groups, which get a lot of donations and money from government, are happy to pay the bigwigs lots of money, but love paying the worker bees low wages to no wages. Interesting.

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2 Responses to “Bummer: Young Conservationists Realize Their Degrees Are Worthless”

  1. Why pay interns if you have a steady stream of unemployed conservationist grads desperate to get experience?

  2. Conservative Beaner says:

    At least they can use the paper their degrees are printed on as toilet paper.

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