I'm in my early 20s at this historic, frustrating, hopeful, confusing and anxious time. I feel cheated. I wasn't old enough to vote in the last two elections, yet the consequences of those elections impact my age group significantly. My vote last November will benefit the generations below me but probably not myself anytime soon. My classmates and I are about to graduate with degrees that may or may not do us any good in an economy that will likely take years to recover. Many of my graduated peers are working restaurant and service jobs that are getting harder to come by, and I cringe to think about other issues such as the environment, global relations and education standards that I feel were messed up, then left to my generation to salvage what we can. - Angela S.
There's nothing like challenging times to change the rules. Like the No. 1 rule of Action Line: You must ask a question.
Hmm. There's plenty of angst, fear and resentment in your letter. But no query. So Action Line will do the unthinkable and answer a question that has not been asked. How Zen.
So, you're about to graduate and scared witless. Your unspoken question is, "Now what?"
Time for some Action Line tough love.
You are not cheated. No way. No how. Piffle.
You have something so valuable it cannot be purchased at any price. You have youth.
It's pure poppycock to resent being in the prime of life during an extraordinarily difficult time. Stop whining.
Every college senior is filled with dread as graduation nears. This happens regardless of economic or political circumstances.
So what's an FLC grad to do? President Obama had the answer in his inspiring inaugural address.
"These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.
"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met ...
"The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness."
Because you didn't ask a question, you're going to get some unsolicited advice:
- Don't settle for a restaurant job. Waiting tables or delivering pizza is honorable work, but you didn't attend college for that.
- Don't be picky. Your first job isn't going to be a lifetime career.
- Pack up your stuff. Durango's a great place, but your calling is elsewhere. You'll make new friends, find a spouse and have kids. When you're 40, you'll pack the kids in the car and come to Durango for a week's vacation to ride the train and visit Mesa Verde.
- Stop worrying about everything. That's Obama's job. Make the world a better place with one small charitable act daily.
- Open a Roth IRA and contribute every year. Nothing will make you feel more in control about the future than saving up a boatload of tax-free retirement cash.
- Your degree is more precious than you know. Employers can train for skills, but they can't train someone to be bright. A diploma shows employers not what you know but that you know. (How's that for Zen?)
- And speaking of Zen, here's a quote from the ancient Chinese philosopher Chuang-tzu, "The torch of doubt and chaos, this is what the sage steers by."
And by the way, in 20 years, a member of the FLC Class of 2029 is going to blame you guys for all that's wrong with the world and wonder why he or she has to clean up the mess you left for them.
E-mail questions to email@example.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if
you take it upon yourself to end the recession and boost employment by
buying lots of stuff.