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Students reconsidering career choices in light of government shutdown


Monday, October 07, 2013

The government shutdown has been the focus of media attention since Congress failed to avert the situation last week. However, according to Allison Hammond, a collegiate correspondent for USA Today, in addition to the suspension of certain government services and the wages of some federal employees, the shutdown has affected college students on a personal level. Students across the country who had previously considered a career in politics are abandoning their aspirations in light of the government's failure to take decisive action to prevent the shutdown.

Disillusioned
Millennials—students who were born between the mid-1980s and early 2000s—are often depicted as idealistic and driven by a desire to effect real change in the world. Prior to the shutdown, which began October 1, some students believed that pursuing careers within the government after graduating from college was a viable way to make a positive contribution to society. However, the government's failure to avert the situation has left many students disillusioned with the political and democratic process.

Stephen Henninger, a senior at Michigan State University, is one such student. The news source reported that the shutdown has reaffirmed Henninger's decision not to pursue a career in civil service.

"What we're seeing at Michigan State is a lot of students getting involved in civic duty but don't see the government as a viable option," Henninger told the news source. "You see a lot of students going to community service events and wanting to make a difference, but don't see the government as a viable option for that."

A problem of engagement
Although many news outlets reported that significant numbers of young voters went to the polls for the first time during President Barack Obama's campaign in 2008, the reality is that many students and young people remain disengaged from the political process.

According to the Campus Vote Project, an initiative spearheaded by the Fair Elections Legal Network, youth voters accounted for just 19 percent of the electorate in 2008, despite widespread reports of higher voter turnout within this demographic.

However, in the 2010 election, young people age 18 to 24 who were currently in college were more likely to vote than their peers who were not currently attending college by a margin of nine percentage points.

While the current situation may result in more young people feeling disconnected to the government, those with a college degree may be in a better position to effect change by working outside the traditional political framework.

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Students reconsidering career choices in light of government shutdown
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