As economy falters, teens take ‘major’ interest in economics

As economy falters, teens take ‘major’ interest in economics

Sam Elias

The seesawing U.S. economy may be a major headache for everyone from politicians on up to the average person in the street, but for area teens headed for college, it is providing a major focus on the next four years and the rest of their lives.

Roni Finkelstein graduated from Tenafly High School in June and will attend Grinnell College in Iowa. Her first choice for a career is “something in the nonprofit sector,” she said, which is why she is “leaning towards a minor in global development studies.” For a major, however, Roni is considering economics. “It’s a way to get into the ‘profit’ sector, and the major would be related to the minor.”

Finkelstein sees a possible silver lining beneath the economy’s dark clouds. “I hope the economy will help people realize how important it is to contribute support for nonprofits,” she said. She realizes, though, that the economy may mean she will have to put her nonprofit dreams on hold, and seek a career in the for-profit world. “That way I’ll have a job,” she says, “and perhaps go to the nonprofit sector when I’m done.”

Sam Elias recently graduated from Northern Valley Old Tappan. A resident of Norwood, he will attend Wesleyan University this fall. He says he has been somewhat influenced by his parents to pursue business as a career, especially in the past few years, but because he is going to a liberal arts school, he plans to pursue a major in economics instead.

The poor state of the economy is troubling his friends, Elias said, and many of them are worried about finding a job, but “I’m not thinking that far ahead.”

Noah Siegel is thinking that far ahead, but perhaps with less concern than Elias’ friends. Siegel, who graduated this year from Northern Valley Demarest, will attend Yale University in the fall, where he plans to study economics and public policy.

“Over the course of high school, whether through classes or summer seminars, I found myself intrigued by economics and politics,” he said.

“While the state of America’s rather lackluster economy may have deterred me from becoming attracted to other potential careers,” he continued, “it is clear to me that our future leaders need better economic knowledge than ever before.”

As for finding a job, “while such a search will likely be difficult,” Siegel said, he is optimistic about the future. “The economic climate can change greatly.”

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