What’s next for millennial grads?

Graduates and soon-to-be-grads discuss their futures in today’s political environment.

Recent political events have many wondering what lies ahead, especially those who are graduating from college. Looking forward to starting their careers, four college students share their plans — or lack-thereof — for the future.

Ashley Lara graduated from St. Edward’s University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. Enjoying the science and analysis aspects of that area of study, Lara chose to pursue an M.Ed. in special education with a concentration in autism and applied behavior analysis. After she graduates with her Master’s degree in two days, she will start working on her certification to be a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

Lara tries to be optimistic about the future of special education in public schools, but finds it difficult after Texas passed a bill that reduced Medicaid funding for pediatric therapy programs. This bill reduces the access that children with special needs have to expensive ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy.

Lara comments on the impact of Texas policy on children with special needs.

Lara also worries about the negative impact on students with special needs following the election of President-elect Trump, who openly mocked a reporter’s disability.

Lara comments on the effect that Trump’s election has had on the children she works with.

Aside from mocking a reporter’s disabilities, Trump has promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act — the healthcare policy implemented by the Obama Administration.

Jessica Miller graduated from Davidson College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in chemistry. She participated in the pre-med track at the university and graduated in Spring 2016. After earning her B.A., Miller decided to make the move from North Carolina to Texas, where she attends Texas State University. There, she’s taking extra courses to give her an edge on her medical school applications.

The doctors Miller works with have said that they’re paid less now than they used to be due to the Affordable Care Act. Even though news sources have disputed this, Miller still faces the possibility that the actions taken by Trump will impact how long it takes her to pay off her student debt and how much she gets paid. The possibility of financial disadvantage doesn’t deter her from her passion.

Hunter Kendall is studying Exercise and Sports Science with a minor in Health Education at Texas State University. He plans to graduate May 2017. Thinking ahead, Kendall has decided to enlist in the United States Air Force after he graduates to serve his country and enjoy the benefits afforded to members of the Air Force.

Kendall believes that if Senator Hillary Clinton were elected as President, he would have faced a sure future in war.

Kendall isn’t alone in that belief. On November 11, This American Life aired an episode in which two soldiers — one Clinton supporter and one Trump Supporter — agreed that Clinton was more likely to send them to war.

Sometimes it may seem as though all anyone ever thinks about is politics. Facebook, Twitter, The New York Times… they were all (and still are) flooded with updates about Trump, political protests, and political opinions. Preston Manka doesn’t concern himself with politics.

Manka is graduating Friday. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Texas State University.

He’s decided on a post-graduation plan.

“Find a job,” Manka said. “I’ll keep my serving job to pay my bills while I’m applying to jobs,” he added.

“I don’t think the current political climate will have an effect on the job market honestly,” Manka said.

He was instantly rebutted by Doug Hill, Manka’s classmate who will also graduate Friday with a B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering.

“Actually, President-elect Trump wants to implement policies that would bring manufacturing jobs back to America by penalizing companies that send those jobs overseas,” Hill said.

“It probably wouldn’t affect the near future,” he added.

Whether one believes that they will be affected by the changing political climate seems to have no bearing on reality. Graduates, soon-to-be-grads, and everyone else should look forward to inevitable changes in the future.

Author’s Note: Mr. Manka and Mr. Hill requested not to be recorded on camera.

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