State of the Union

By Jenna Caldwell | Web Editor

Alright college students, if you can sit through all 10 episodes of Making a Murderer, you could have watched President Barack Obama give his hour-long message regarding the state of our union on Tuesday, January 13. Even if you aren’t totally invested in politics or could give a flying hoot about the dang deficit, politics affect our everyday lives. Plus, our Commander in Chief touched on some important topics that could impact you personally. In case you missed the speech, I did the dirty work for you and have rounded up three important takeaways from Obama’s 7th and final State of the Union address. 

1) The Job Market:  

What Obama said: “Let us start with the economy, and a basic fact: currently The United States of America, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world. We’re in the middle of the longest streak of private sector job creation in history. More than 14 million new jobs, the strongest two years of job growth since the ‘90s, an unemployment rate cut in half.” 

Why it applies to you: As a college student with the natural fear of being able to land employment post-graduation, this statement should make you feel more at ease. It assures us that things are looking up for young adults in the labor market. Whether you agree with Obama or not, unemployment rates are now at pre-recession levels of 5 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics concluded that in 2015, the number of employed youth (ages 16-24) increased by 2.1 million to 20.3 million. 

2) College Tuition Costs: 

What Obama said: “We have to make college affordable for every American. No hardworking student should be stuck in the red. We’ve already reduced student loan payments to 10 percent of a borrower’s income. And that's good, but now, we’ve actually got to cut the cost of college. Providing two years of community college at no cost for every responsible student is one of the best ways to do that, and I’m going to keep fighting to get that started this year. It's the right thing to do.” 

Why it applies to you: Student debt is an issue that not only us, but future generations are subject to struggle with as the cost of college tuition rises. According to the Wall Street Journal, our country has accumulated $1.2 trillion in student debt. As a nation (and as students who sign student loan agreements), we should begin focusing on what can be done to decrease this debt, as well as how to reduce the cost of education in general. 

3) Our future: 

What Obama said: “That's the America I know. That's the country we love. Clear-eyed. Big-hearted. Optimistic that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. That's what makes me so hopeful about our future. I believe in change because of you. I believe in you. That's why I stand here confident that the State of our Union is strong." 

Why it applies to you: We are all pursuing a degree in different fields. As we get ready to enter the job market, we need to focus on how we can better use our knowledge and skills to help change the world. We are the present and the future. Regardless of if the past 8 years under Obama’s lead have been good or bad, the next 4 years and beyond are up to us.