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College Grad Feels 'Lied To' After Working Hard All Week To Just Lay In Bed All Weekend Because She Can't Afford Anything

Photo: Yan Krukau / Pexels
upset college grad

Everyone knows that our economy is shifting — headlines are overflowing with stories about student debt, inflation, homelessness, and the struggle of the working class. Not only is it disheartening to read, but it’s disheartening to live through, especially for recent college graduates and people just starting their careers. 

According to a Handshake study on college seniors, over 70% of students say their career plans are shifting to accommodate “looming student loan repayment” bills. In addition, over 30% of college students don’t even have enough money for groceries.

Recent college graduate Abby Ferrell shared her experience with this hardship, describing the shame and struggle she’s dealt with navigating finances in her corporate post-grad role. 

Ferrell posted a tearful video saying she feels ‘lied to’ because she can’t ‘afford to do anything’ after graduating college. 

“Has anyone else just worked their [butt] off for the last three or four years to get a college degree and now you have a job that you hate, you still can’t afford life, and you’re still [expletive] miserable?” she questioned.

   

   

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Her video from February 5 has gained a great deal of attention, as many people empathize with her exhaustion. She admitted she couldn’t afford her rent, groceries, and other bills despite following “the path of success” everyone pushed her toward. 

“You just feel lied to because you thought that if you just went to college and got a degree you’d be able to afford a house and things that make you happy," she said. "But yet you still barely can afford groceries or clothes or literally anything that makes you happy at all and you had to spend the whole entire weekend in your bed because you literally don't have any money to go do anything."

Ferrell is far from the only recent graduate who can barely afford groceries and bills, let alone entertainment or nights out. 

Not only does the idea of owning a home seem like a borderline-impossible dream for people in their 20s, but many college graduates are struggling to afford even a studio or one-bedroom apartment. Studies show that college graduates from the Class of 2019 are paying an exceedingly higher amount in rent than the Class of 2009, despite making lower wages, navigating a more difficult job market, and having less opportunity for financial growth. 

   

   

Despite childhood stories of success after college, modern post-graduate students are experiencing quite the opposite — and it’s no wonder they "feel lied to" in the face of this nightmare. Some even turn to taking on more debt with higher education due to a lack of job opportunities or fear of student loan repayment. 

But even for those graduate students, the sad reality is it doesn't seem to get easier. Studies from 2023 show that 17% of graduate students are experiencing homelessness, 39% are struggling with food insecurity, and more than half are struggling with some form of housing insecurity. 

In the same vein, more established figures of power in the United States are attempting to criminalize homelessness, as if they aren’t the ones responsible for its exacerbation.

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The comment section is disheartening, with many attempting to discredit her experience. 

Although this generation of new graduates is actively sharing their stories and asking for help on social media, it seems there are still ignorant audiences that don’t truly grasp the significance of their struggles. Comments under this woman’s post greatly encompass that ignorance, with one commenter writing, “You’ll be okay. Other generations have gone through this for decades.” 

It’s just not the truth — the countless statistics, stories, and heartbreaking experiences are proof of that. Others in her comment section tried to re-emphasize a falsified version of “hard work,” using opinions and misinformed perceptions of “Gen Z’s work ethic” as a foundation for their hurtful comments. 

“Do you understand the ‘American Dream’? If you want to live, work, and succeed here, you have to work for it. That also means working through the hard parts,” one person wrote. 

   

   

But that's not exactly the case. Scholars and employment professionals from across the world spend their lives investigating this idea of “The American Dream.” The sad truth is that it’s dead if it really ever existed to begin with. What’s taking its place is a much simpler — but vastly different — dream, where people have access to basic freedom and comfort. 

For decades, “The American Dream” has targeted very specific demographics with false hope and misled motivation, leading them towards a future where they’re never truly better off in our jaded society. Even if immigrant students make it to college — which studies show is becoming increasingly difficult — they’re faced with a flawed financial aid system that leaves them worse off than when they started. 

So, while some commenters feel this woman’s experience is unjustified, the truth is millions of college graduates are feeling the same. Failing to acknowledge her experience, and that of the entire post-grad community, is only failing the future of our country financially, socially, and beyond. 

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango focusing on pop culture analysis and human interest stories.