To the graduating Class of 2010: We do not envy you.
The effects of the Great Recession will continue for years, despite the tepid indications that a recovery is imminent. As you've seen, all it takes is a disastrous underwater oil leak, a crapshoot trillion-dollar rescue plan for Europe, the belligerent act of a communist Korean nation or one iffy Wall Street report to push the economy back down the sand hill.
IKEA configurations for those college apartments in full swing, but politics reigns supreme — there is no break.
As you figure out your fall schedule, lawmakers are making decisions on economic policies and government spending that will affect you years on out, about the time you're really entering the workforce.
Yes, a college degree is necessary for higher levels of income and professional advancement later in life. But by the time you actually start reading the Wall Street Journal or paying attention to the politics section of your online news site, policies enacted now will be in full effect and affecting everything from your ability to find an affordable apartment, to finding a job that matches your degree.
At that point, your involvement in the political system — staying informed of what your representatives are doing and then voicing your opinion — will be for mid-adult life, and the generation coming up behind you.
The point is, in all the work you now face in preparing for your professional future, be sure to put political involvement near the top of the list. See politics through the lens of how it may affect you six, 10 years from now. Remember how high school seemed to whiz by? It's no different for college.