Princeton alumni are many things. Bright. Ambitious. Creative. And — let’s not forget — lucky. Few can say that they made it to the University strictly by way of their own smarts and hard work, without the blessings of supportive parents, exceptional teachers, extracurricular opportunities, and an admission staff that noticed something — who knows just what it was? — to distinguish them from all the other straight-A, top-SAT high school seniors aching to land here.
For many young alumni during the financial recession, a Princeton degree has turned out to be ... lucky. Much has been written about how enthusiastic graduates have poured out of college campuses, only to grasp unsuccessfully for the first rung of the career ladder they had hoped to climb.
These have not been easy years for many Princeton grads, either, but their advantages are undeniable. As Zachary Goldfarb ’05 writes, beginning on page 28, private-sector opportunities open to young alumni may have been curtailed, but Princeton continues to offer a wide range of postgraduate fellowships that allow new grads to find gratifying work in the nonprofit world. A tight-knit network provides access to the advice and connections generously offered by older Princetonians. Meanwhile, the University’s extraordinary financial-aid program means that young alumni — unlike those at most colleges — need not worry about paying off large student loans while they search for the right position.
In his research, Goldfarb spoke to young graduates who have struggled during the recession. Some took unplanned paths. Some returned to school. Some remain uneasy. But overall, they have landed on their feet. At a time when so many others have not, that’s lucky.