A former journalism student at WVU, Liddle transferred last year to Delaware County Community College near his home of Downingtown, Pennsylvania when faced with mounting student debt. A year into the change, with his sights now set on transferring to Temple University as a Political Science major, Liddle's demeanor is upbeat and positive. Despite having to work three part-time jobs while going to community college in the year he was originally supposed to graduate from WVU, Liddle claims to have hit upon "The New American Dream."
Liddle declared the new code for the Austerity Generation would be both simple and hard to follow. "First off, find a job that pays enough so that you can save at least a little, if not more. Doesn't have to be a job you necessarily want. Just has to pay the bills and, preferably, pay off your college loans quickly. Secondly, live as cheaply as possible. Don't do anything stupid like have kids early or get sucked into BS status purchases. " he said.
Liddle maintained that although times would be tough for many in our generation, others had found ways before and opportunities will be everywhere.
"Always remember: it's a jungle out there, but there's a ton of cash floating around for the person that's willing to work the hardest. Get that money, but don't buy into the BS. You're not a company man, and anybody who is is a fool. ," Liddle said.
A lot of the "status symbols" may not be as flashy as you imagine. Liddle considers buying a home "for suckers unless it is your goal to live in it for the next 30 years." As housing numbers continue to slump, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, many homeowners are defaulting on their homes – Liddle's cautious advice rings true.
As an extension of this, many people of our generation – graduated or not – will have to face the possibility of moving back in with their parents. While not mentioned directly by Liddle, living on your own is the archetypal status symbol many will have to forgo in order to attain financial freedom in the future.
Mocked within our own culture as a bastion for nerds and recluses, but embraced by previous and current immigrants, living with family will be the first of many necessary bitter pills to swallow.
Accepting the unknown, unfamiliar and enduring a lot of hard work will be the path to success for all graduates into this brave new world.
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