Religious studies major Mark Mancini will graduate in May and look for a job. (NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN)
Religious studies major Mark Mancini will graduate in May and look for a job. (NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN)

Senior Mark Mancini wanted to be a paleontologist or, according to him, a “dinosaur scientist.” He earned an associate’s degree from community college in New Mexico and transferred to Stony Brook University in 2010 to pursue paleontology. But after realizing that many paleontologists are not professionals and dig simply for what Mancini called “the pursuit of passion” and not the money, he realized that he could theoretically already start digging because of his associate’s. Unsatisfied, he decided to switch to a religious studies major with a minor in theater. He is graduating in May of this year. And just like any other college student about to graduate, he is trying to find a job.

Bachelor’s degrees have now become a requirement in recent years when applying for many low-level jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in 2012 for those with only high school diplomas is 8.3 percent, compared to 4.5 percent for those with bachelor’s degrees. The median weekly wage of someone with a high school degree is only $652, while the same for a person with a bachelor’s degree is $1,066. A high school diploma is simply not as valuable as a college diploma.

Originally from Rochester, Mancini plans on returning there after graduating to find a job for at least a year before joining the Episcopal Service Corps for another year before possibly entering the seminary.

“Having a bachelor’s degree is a huge step into society regardless of the major,” he said.

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Mancini knows of many workplaces in Rochester that are hiring. But these would be jobs outside his major and outside of paleontology.

“Anything I can get pretty much,” he said. “Security, restaurant work, the works.”

But within his major?

“Not so great,” he said. “But luckily, I think I’m fairly adaptable.”

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In addition to being a full-time student, Mancini is a freelance writer for Mental Floss writing random trivia for extra money for expenses. But it’s not exactly a full-time job.

“It can’t sustain me, but it will help,” he said.

Like Mancini, senior sociology major Limei Zhu, a socwill also be looking for a job soon. But unlike Mancini, she knows exactly what kind of work she will enter into.

“I have something in mind as to what I wanna do,” she said. “So I’m not as concerned.”

Zhu wants to be a personal banker. She has already received two job offers.

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Her major, sociology, she says, is very broad and can apply to any kind of social work. Banking is her dream job.

“I like that job,” she said. “I like to talk to people.”

Zhu has worked in various jobs before, like retail for Abercrombie and customer service for Ben and Jerry’s. So she’s confident that these skills will help her in catching future employers’ attention. But before she dives into the workplace, Zhu wants to first travel to Europe and her home country, China.

“Just to know what the world is like,” she said. “And kind of get more experience outside and then settle down.”

At Stony Brook, students have the aid of the Career Center. Both Mancini and Zhu have used the services in touching up resumes and asking about job and internship availability.

For Mancini, it might be difficult finding a job pertaining to his major now. But it’s not totally hopeless.

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“I think I’ll be successful in finding a job and a happy life for myself,” he said.

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