Graduating in 2015 is a challenging task. Students today face a world of uncertainty as they receive their high school diplomas and college degrees. The cost of higher education continues to rise without much relief in sight, salve treatment unemployment for young people is twice the national average, and stagnant wages create less than optimal opportunities for these new graduates of 2015 regardless of their level of education. High rates of unemployment among young adults (aged 18 to 25 years) are, literally, a public health concern. Researchers contend that there is a significant relationship between unemployment and depression in young adults, which is likely to cause an increase in the crime rate and drug and alcohol abuse.
The state of global politics is daunting as our government negotiates with world powers regarding nuclear arms, war and foreign trade. Although our national economy has been making progress, it is still sluggish and growth is slow. Climate change has been significant over the past decade and we have been experiencing documented global warming, while some of our most influential leaders have been in denial that the phenomenon even exists.
Our 2015 graduates truly have a lot to deal with as they move forward into their future, whether that future is further education, entering the workforce or fulfilling some other goal or aspiration. The formidable challenges they face can be so overwhelming as to paralyze them, holding them captive in a state of stupor. They could be dumbfounded and unable to move, choose or step forward into their future, although I seriously doubt if that would be the case.
No. This generation is a courageous one and they are committed to making their mark on the world they have inherited. They are a generation that dares to boldly stand up to social injustice and inequities. They are tech savvy and keenly engaged in the social media marketplace where thousands of dollars can be raised online in a matter of hours to support a cause. They can rally millions within seconds to engage in online movements that call attention to people, causes and social justice. They have, at this moment, what many of us do not, an entire lifetime ahead of them, with all the hopes and dreams that lifetime can hold. They have energy and they have stamina.
Let’s hope that they continue to gain knowledge as they move beyond the formal classroom and studio spaces, beyond their high school communities and university campus. Let us all hope that they grab hold of the opportunities that cross their paths and make bold and significant choices. Let us hope they will not shirk their responsibility as citizens, but rather grab hold with all of the vigor and optimism afforded to them by virtue of their youth. Let us hope that they are not dumbfounded by the world they are inheriting, but instead DARE to take on the challenges they face, large and small, with a deep faith and belief in their ability to make a difference somehow, somewhere. Indeed, we are all depending on them whether we know it or not. They are our future.
Graduates of 2015, step into your future, dream your dreams, make your way and do not be overwhelmed. You have been given the great gifts of youth, passion and the power of knowledge. Do not allow them to go to waste. Be bold enough to be as daring and brilliant as you can possibly be. #CongratulationsGrads2015
Up Next Week: Things My Father Taught Me