Making the best of a bad time

DKS Editors

It seems like we can’t go a day anymore without hearing some kind of bad news about the economy. People – maybe even our families and friends – are jobless, companies are in debt, and President Lester Lefton has mentioned the possibility of a “catastrophic” budget cut.

It’s hard to stay optimistic about the future in times like these. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2008’s unemployment rate was 7.2 percent – the highest since January 1993, which none of us can probably even remember, let alone have comprehended at the time.

Sometimes we can’t help but wonder if our investment in higher education will really be worth it someday – if these budget cuts will get to be too much, and things will just fall apart.

We have to remain optimistic.

Possessing a 4-year degree is still an advantage in a recession. The thousands of dollars we spend investing in our college education will be worth it when we graduate and can apply for those jobs other people can’t because they don’t have a college degree.

We’re lucky we’ve made it this far and have such an advantage.

We’re also lucky that we have a governor, Ted Strickland, who has always fought to keep higher education a priority. Yes, he recently announced cuts to higher education, but before then – even still – he’s had our best interests at heart. After all, tuition hasn’t gone up for the past two years, courtesy of the two-year tuition freeze he enacted. And the budget cuts to Kent State and higher education are actually very small in the grand scheme of things.

We may find out Wednesday just how much more, if any, will be cut from higher education at Strickland’s State of the State address. Lefton said the university’s vice presidents have been asked to prepare for a serious budget cut, a disaster budget cut and a catastrophic budget cut; however, he said he remains hopeful that Strickland will announce no budget cut at all for higher education. In that case, all the worrying about university budget cuts may be for nothing.

And even in the worst case scenario, Lefton has promised to keep students’ best interests and academics at heart.

According to a survey by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2007, a mere 27 percent of Americans age 25 and older have completed a bachelor’s degree. That fact alone puts us ahead of the pack.

Even when the economy seems like it will never get better, remember the reason why we’re at Kent State in the first place. Remain focused on becoming educated in whatever your field of study is. Become educated in what’s going on around you as well. Stay hopeful that someday the time and money we’ve spent here will all be worth it.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.