By Luis Felipe Gonzalez

A dark room, a 2015 Macbook Pro, a keyboard and a whole lot of frustration. For Cody Isaacs, a 20-year-old music producer and business student, producing music is much harder than hitting a couple buttons and making things sound good.

“There are times when I’m sitting down at the computer for several hours, and nothing comes up,” Isaacs explained. “When I’m working on music, it all depends on my mood and how I’m feeling that day, That’s where the creativeness comes from.”

Becoming a music producer has been Isaacs’ childhood dream sense he could remember, but after attending college to acquire his degree in music, he quickly found out what he had to do to make his dreams come true.

College students say the process of becoming successful in today’s hyper-competitive society is more complicated than ever.

“One of my professors told me, your in a generation where you don’t need a degree to do music. You need to go out, pay your dues, intern for people, work for people, in order to get your foot in the door,” Isaacs explained. “A piece of paper that says you know how to produce music is not going to get you anywhere.”

Isaacs explained this was a very confusing time in his life. His dreams of becoming a music producer were starting to fade. He questioned if he would be able to make enough money from this career, if all the hours spent at school would mean anything once he received that piece of paper.

A recent study issued by the Strada Institute finds that 43 percent of recent college graduates are underemployed in their first job out of college. Leading college students to be worried about where they will be once they get out, and if their degrees will mean anything.

“I switched my major to business with hopes of landing a job sooner. Having my degree in business opens so many doors and I’m going to need that if I want to continue producing music on the side,” Isaacs said.

In a study conducted by Ohio State University’s Center for the Study of Student Life, Seven out of 10 college students feel stressed about their personal finances. Nearly 60 percent said they worry about having enough money to pay for school, while half are worried about paying their monthly expenses.

“I actually wanted to be a firefighter growing up, so I took the EMT class last semester. I passed the class and all of that but I know a lot of people who it’s taken them a long time to actually become firefighters,” said COC student Luke Adams. “ I guess the reason I changed my mind was because I wanted a job sooner than later, I wanted to start making money.”

With the amount of stress related to finances, Adams took a step back, observed his current situation and chose to take a different path.

“I’ve never really thought about other careers, but lately I have become interested in computer science and engineering, since they are always hiring in those fields,” Adams stated. “Going this route would be best for me just because my financial health isn’t really the best right now.”

“It’s not easy, you’ve got to really really really want it,” said former COC student Vincenzo Marino. “ You need to have a desire to be successful and be willing to sacrifice.”

Marino first enrolled at COC when he was 18 years old. After spending some time in school, Marino dropped out from a lack of motivation. Marino explained this decision was probably the worst thing he could have done at the time. He spent the next 10 years working at a restaurant and going out with his friends.

“It wasn’t until one morning I woke and and said to myself, ‘dude what are you doing with your life?’ I quickly got up and enrolled at COC again,” Marino explained. “ From here I’ve been able to do what I love, but the process was not easy. I constantly doubted myself and did not believe I had what it took to be successful.”

“I definitely think in today’s society people are made to think that they need to have everything figured out by age 21, which is not practical at all,” said Isaacs. “ I think it comes from very high expectations parents are placing on their kids.”

“I was given one chose, healthcare” said Amelia Maniago, a student at COC. “ My parents gave me the freedom to do whatever I wanted as long as it was in healthcare.”

“I do believe parents should step off a bit. I understand you want your child to be successful, but at the same time you don’t want them to be miserable,” said Maniago. “My parents have always told me to think if my job will actually pay for my future, especially since I want to become a pharmacist. That’s a lot of bills to pay; that’s a lot of debt to be in.”

Maniago explained how she would have never thought about it as much if her parents didn’t put that on me.”

“It feels like you can’t even tell your parents you want to be a liberal arts major,” explained COC student Johan Carrascoza. “My parents always wanted for me to be a doctor and at first I wasn’t interested in it until I had lung surgery a couple of years ago. In high school she said I could choose to do what I wanted but by that time it was too late. She had already instilled it in me.”

Carrascoza said he has worried about his finances in the past, but is hoping a career as a doctor will provide all that he needs and more.

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