My geezer rant on this...
First of all, when the parents tell their children that they can be whatever they want to be, that is not true for the great majority of the kids out there. A rationality as to desires as opposed to opportunities post-graduation needs to occur.
Second, there is no consideration of the return for effort and money in pursuing a degree (the guy in Taibbi story has some hazy plan starting out with philosophy, and ends up with a 28K job).
Third, college is for many a rolling party bus for 5 years while living in a newer apartment at exorbident rates where that spending is rolled into student debt.
Fourth, there is an extreme, distainful reluctance for some parents of students and students to actually do a job anytime prior to leaving college, so work life and its pitfalls is not experienced by a big proportion of college students.
Fifth, especially astounding, is how many students never take internship opportunities in ther desired field to see what working in that situation would actually be.
Sixth, if there are no internship opportunities in your chosen field, this should be big clue that the there are not any potential employers seeking your talents and you will probably end up at the wanting end of the stick after graduation.
Seventh, new opportunities usually exist in new places. A willingness to relocate is an essential part of a better future.
Eighth, there is no shame in physical labor and some of the best paying jobs and benefits are found with jobs that require some (or a lot) of physical work of actually getting something done.
A personal anecdote or two--my son was really intereted in history and travelling and outdoors. With lots of back and forth, he surprisingly decided he wanted to go into mining engineering. He got a scholarship to the highest rated school in the field, but lost the scholarship with an unfortunate encounter with calculus 3. He then went to the 3rd rated school which was a 1/3 of the cost and finished there. He was on internships at different sites every summer for 3 years and managed to graduate in the depth of a mining recession. He had gotten a decent, but not great, offer from a large underground construction company the fall of his senior year which he accepted, and has moved from that company, to one of the companies he interned with, then to another underground construction company that is redoing mines and tunnels from the 1880's throughout the west. So, 4 years on, he ends with travel, history and outdoors, makes about 100K a year plus per diem plus a vehicle. And is always being cold-called by head-hunters. It's a slice of the working world that worked for him, but it also has drawbacks like sometimes not the best accomodations, working with pretty sketchy laborers, hard physical effort sometimes, and schedules like 12 hour days and 10 days on 5 days off.
One kid he roomed with was in the 3rd year, going to be an electrical engineer, but my son had to actually show him how to buy and replace a light bulb that had burned out.
There were always internships available in his field, but it was surprising how many ddn't take advantage of it--a significant portion of the mining engineer graduates find they don't like the underground aspects of the work--imagine that!