Every day for the past several weeks we’ve seen information about the financial crisis on television and in newspapers.
It seems that nearly every day, a new bank requests a bail-out from the federal government, and it’s become harder than ever to get credit. Everyone seems to be talking about how the crisis is affecting them, their family, or even people they know.
Now even students are talking about it. We’ve heard the buzz across campus, and even professors are now covering the subject in lots of different classes, not just business classes.
Some students started to feel the credit crunch very early on, when organizations like Iowa Student Loan informed them that there wasn’t enough funding to offer the private student loan that many students had borrowed in the past.
More students than ever are applying for college, which means there are more students applying for the now very limited amounts of funding that are available. Even large banks are making their regulations stricter for student loan applicants.
And what could happen when and if the economy balances back out? Many student loans through private lenders have variable interest rates. While that’s good now, if the economy bounces back, surely the interest rates will bounce back up as well.
In terms of jobs, which is what we’ll all be looking for in a few years, Iowans haven’t seemed to be so affected as some of the people in neighboring states. We don’t have huge manufacturing companies such as GM and the like. Many entry level and unskilled positions within companies are being cut, which stresses the importance of getting a college education even more.
As the future of this country becomes seemingly more and more unstable, these challenges of the future will be left up to us.
To older generations, the fact that our gerneration will be the future of the country is daunting. We haven’t had a test, no event that has unified us like previous generations.
Yes, we have our faults. The majority of us spend more time watching watching the latest episode of The Hills than we do CNN.
And yes, our greatest outcry has been the Great Minifeed Incident of 2007. But what do you expect? We’re college students. True, it didn’t have a lasting impact on the world. But we saw something that we didn’t like and we did something about it.
But we have faith in us. Just walking between classes, we can see it. Students talking on their cell phones to the parents, telling them the stock market fell 300 points. Students bringing the economy up in classes, asking professors to give them the straight answer that the media often lacks. Students talking about the views of presidential candidates over their nugs at Pfeiffer.
For a generation who gets railed as being narcissistic and even a campus that is often viewed as apathetic, we tell those dissenters to get real.
Look around campus. People are active in the world. They know what’s happening. Bring up the financial crisis in any circle and even if the students don’t know every detail, they are, at the very least, interested.
Look off campus. Students are volunteering for political campaigns. They go to soup kitchens in Des Moines and discover issues facing the homeless and impoverished just a few miles away from us. They know what’s going on in the world and they know what needs to be done.
So yeah, we’re not monumental movers and shakers yet. But don’t underestimate the power we have to become them. We know what we want the world to be and we’re informed. But what do you expect? We’re college students.