Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Funday: A Gift For Grads

This time of year seems to sneak up on us every time - like a holiday of sorts - and every year, we seem to have a similar set of mixed emotions about it.

As a staff filled with people who like learning, and enjoyed school, the month of May always means graduation for us. Paul was a teacher and college professor for many years, and as president of the Peru State College National Alumni Association, he's still involved with the school - so graduation is more on our minds than ever.

We even know a few people who are graduating this month from different schools - and if that's you, congratulations.

There has been a great deal of talk recently about keeping the student loan rates low - including a commentary by us. Contrary to what the fools on the Wall Street Journal editorial board believe, college grads need both lower student loan rates AND new jobs.

We're not going to say it's not a tough job market to be graduating into. The statistics don't lie - things are tougher for recent grads than they have been in America for a long time, as Paul Krugman pointed out recently.

Those who are graduating college should NOT follow the example offered by Mitt Romney, to attempt to borrow money from their parents to start a business if they can't find a job. Maybe that works for those who are born with silver feet in their mouths (as Texas governor Ann Richards once said), but for most Americans who actually work for a living, recent graduates will still likely have more in student loan debt than they'd like.

Still, even with all the doom and gloom surrounding college grads these days, we think it's important to note all the things that are going right.

The overall jobs numbers continue to trend upward, while the jobless claims continue to drop. Job creation is near a four year high, and two sets of manufacturing numbers - apparel sales and factory activity - are both also trending upward. Furthermore, the important thing to remember - with all the economic numbers coming out over the past 48 hours - is that the overall trend is what matters in economic news.

And in those trend lines? The news is good. Economic indicators are continuing to improve - and look to continue improving for the foreseeable future.

For those who are graduating college this month? That may mean those graduates have the best luck of all, the good fortune to graduate at just the moment when the economic recovery really begins to gain strength.

For those people you may know who are graduating from college - or from high school - this month, the best gift we think those grads can receive is the gift of hope. It's the gift of the idea that maybe, just maybe, anything is possible, now that the responsibilities of formal education are done.

As individuals who've capitalized on the education that we each received in college - even in some tough times - we have to say to those graduating: Go for it, whatever "it" is. At this point, why not?

Come to think of it, that's some good advice for everyone, graduating student or not.

Take a chance. Grab whatever opportunity you can. Make it worthwhile. And enjoy it.

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