I’ve commented on the economy in previous columns, but, in all honesty, my words, despite their genius, have no effect on the actual economic future of the United States. After all, I am just a measly, poor college-student nobody whose opinion means little to nothing in the ‘real world’. In fact, the next time I’m with friends or family discussing possible solutions to the world’s problems, I should just stop the meaningful conversation in which I’m engaged and go watch WWE or play some mindless video game (neither of which I do . . . ever). What’s the point? The world is going to hell in a hand-basket and there is absolutely nothing any of us can do but hang on and hope to find a smidge of happiness and a couple of bucks along the way. At times I find myself feeling that hope for a bright future is some far and unattainable fantasy. How can I pay for school? How will I get a job after graduation? How will my future family survive with an economic outlook like this? All of these problems and ambiguous questions and we can’t do anything to change it! Or can we?

Believe it or not we — all Weber State University Wildcats — are now involved with the single most important driver of the economic recovery and hope for the future of the United States. We don’t always realize it, if ever, but as we suffer through our TBE 1700 class, or as we’re learning and discussing the French Revolution in our history class, or as we’re practicing quadratic equations in our math class, we are all contributing to the economic recovery and hope of today and tomorrow. How are we doing this? We’re getting a first-class education, that’s how. Education is the key to both societal and individual economic success and, as WSU students, we are in the driver’s seat of the economic recovery vehicle. A recent Deseret News article written by Geoffrey Fattah cited a recent Dan Jones & Associates poll which found that “Utahns with a degree or certification have an income level 75 percent higher than those who do not, and are also two-and-a-half times more likely to hold salaried positions.” If someone came to me with an investment opportunity that would increase my income by 75 percent, I would say, “Sign me up!” Thankfully, I did choose to make that investment, as did all of you. And don’t think the dividends stop at a 75 percent pay increase, because the returns are practically limitless.

Say you’re a business management major and, with your quality education from WSU, you decide to start a business. Your business grows and makes you millions, and in the process you’ve created more than 500 jobs which otherwise would never have existed. One of your employees is a young lady who has debated whether to attend school or not, but is inspired by your success and decides to make the investment. She also gets a top-notch education at WSU and becomes a high-school chemistry teacher, inspiring a future Nobel Laureate who discovers a cure for cancer, thus saving millions of future lives, and all can be traced back to your decision to get educated. Now, I understand that this story is a bit out there, but you can see where I’m coming from. Our education is having and will continue to have a serious effect on the economic present and future of the United States. I have a family member who quit school and said that he isn’t convinced that you have to be educated to make money. I would agree with him to a certain degree — Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates have done pretty well, I suppose. But in order to make a truly prosperous and robust economy, we need men and women who are honest, ambitious and, above all, educated. The more educated people we have in the work force will make for a better overall economy and a brighter future.

I reiterate that we are all vital to the economic recovery and future of this great nation, and if we really want to make a difference and contribute to the creation of a hope-filled future, we will do all that it takes to walk across the stage at the Dee Events Center with our WSU diploma in hand. This, above everything, will make the biggest difference of all.

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