Graduation is in the Air at the College of Charleston – Letter to our Future Leaders

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By Mark A. Leon

Reflections of Graduation 2018:? All the buzz is in the air this brisk morning as the soon to be graduates of the College of Charleston prepare for the honorary ceremony that will beckon their call to the trials and tribulations of life’s journey: professional achievement or personal failure. Gowned in white dresses and tuxedos, these bright eyed and bushy tailed students are ready for the next stop.

Some biking to the ceremony, others, walking alone and in groups and some crawling recovering from an evening of celebration. One student may have truly summed up the package in one permanent visionary memory. A long white gown with a dozen red roses and Red Bull in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Promise, gluttony, and addiction all wrapped up in one.

Today is a day of family and a day where we leave social status and prejudice behind and reflect on academic achievement. This is the moment when our youth steps out of the Utopian society of college and into the melting pot of life.

Happy Hour is replaced by staff meetings, fraternity parties by the Tonight Show and all-nighters, well they never go away.

With career planning books shelved at the bookstore and cases of champagne waiting to be uncorked it is a blend of pure emotion ranging from exuberance to fear. What is going through the minds of students at this defining stage? Post graduate studies, travel abroad, career, unemployment, following in their parents footsteps, continuing the same lifestyle, athletics or living for the next sunrise. So many questions without answers, so many decisions with lifetime repercussions.

This is a time of discovery; a time of judgement.

Last week, the United States Unemployment rate hit a low of 3.9%.?? This can send shivers down the spines, but that is when you dig deep into your heart, into the trenches of life’s greatest challenges and find the passion to change lives, to change the world and to leave a legacy burning along the way.? This is your time.

There are hundreds of thousands of articles written about you, the Millennials.? Some call you the creative renaissance; others the lazy generation where every moment is defined by a SnapChat or a 140 character observation,? Some say you are focused; while many claim you lack direction.? At the end of the day, you are not a defined as a group.? You are not a collective new generation, but the individual person you see on the other side of the mirror.? You define you.

When you look back fondly on those walks down Calhoun Street, late nights at Addlestone Library, dreaming on Cistern Yard or lazy days tanning at Marion Square, know you did something great in life.

To you, the college graduate, your time is now.
This is your chance to take your education and make a difference.
We salute you, wish you luck and thank you in advance for the impact you will make in the future.

South Carolina 7th Worst State for Millennials

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Money Rates has ranked the best and worst states for millenials in their new 2017 study.? Based on the following eight factors: job market for young adults, young adult proportion of population, college tuition affordability, residential rental availability, residential rental affordability, access to high-speed internet, concentration of bars relative to the young adult population and concentration of fitness facilities to the young adult population.

Based on the current results, South Carolina is the 7th worst state for millennials to live in the United States.

Worst States for Millennials 2017

While just about every state has both strengths and weaknesses, the following states seemed to have the most negatives as places for young adults to live:

1. Arizona

?Worst States for Millennials 2017 - 1. Arizona

This state is known more as a retirement destination than as a hot spot for young people, and a look at where Arizona ranked in some categories of interest to millennials helps explain why. Arizona was among the 10 worst states for access to high-speed broadband and for the concentration of fitness facilities relative to the young adult population. In fact, Arizona ranked below-median in seven of the eight categories used in this study.

2. New Hampshire (tie)

Worst States for Millennials 2017 - 2. New Hampshire

This is an especially bad choice if you are looking to attend college and money is an issue: at $15,650, the annual cost of in-state tuition at a four-year public school is the highest in the nation, more than 60 percent higher than in the typical state. New Hampshire is also not a great place to go for night life, with the second-lowest concentration of bars relative to the size of its young adult population. New Hampshire also ranked in the bottom 10 for both access to high-speed broadband and rental availability.

However, New Hampshire does have one very important redeeming feature for young adults looking for work: The unemployment rate for people aged 20 to 24 is just 4.2 percent, the lowest in the nation.

2. Virginia (tie)

Worst States for Millennials 2017 - 3. Virginia

Surprisingly, given its proximity to Washington D.C., Virginia is not a great place for night life, with the nation’s lowest concentration of bars relative to its number of young people. To put this in perspective, according to Census figures, Virginia has fewer bars than tiny Rhode Island, despite having about eight times as many young adults. Another key drawback for people just starting out is that it is a fairly expensive place to live. Both tuition and rents are among the 10 most expensive in the nation.

4. Washington

Worst States for Millennials 2017 - 4. Washington

Since young people tend to rent rather than own their homes, a crucial knock on Washington is that it can be a tough place to find a place to rent. The rental vacancy rate is the third-lowest in the nation. Besides that, Washington ranked better than average in only one category, which was the concentration of fitness facilities relative to the size of the young adult population.

5. Tennessee

Worst States for Millennials 2017 - 5. Tennessee

Whether you fall on the party-animal or the health-nut end of the personal life style spectrum, Tennessee is not a particularly welcoming state. Relative to the size of its young adult population, Tennessee ranked 44th for concentration of bars, and 41st for concentration of fitness facilities. It is a relatively easy place for renters to find a place to live, as it ranked better than average for both availability and affordability of rental properties.

6. Oregon

Worst States for Millennials 2017 - 6. Oregon

Like neighboring Washington, Oregon suffers from a relative scarcity of rental properties, ranking 45th in that category. It was generally ranked below average across the board, except that it does cater to young people with relatively high concentrations of bars and fitness facilities.

7. South Carolina

Worst States for Millennials 2017 - 7. South Carolina

Clearly, young people are not especially attracted to this state because its percentage of 20- to-24-year-olds ranks in the bottom five nationally. One turn-off may be the expense of college in South Carolina, with an average in-state tuition cost for a four-year public school that is among the 10 most expensive in the country.

8. New Jersey

Worst States for Millennials 2017 - 8. New Jersey

Expense is a big drawback to New Jersey for young adults on a tight budget. Tuition and rental costs are both among the five most expensive in the U.S. Those high costs are even tougher to afford in a weak job market, and New Jersey suffers from one of the 10 highest rates of young adult unemployment.

9. Kentucky

Worst States for Millennials 2017 - 9. Kentucky

This state ranked below average on five of eight criteria, with the most prominent example being a bottom-five ranking for concentration of fitness facilities. On the plus side, rents are fourth cheapest of all the states.

10. California

Worst States for Millennials 2017 - 10. California

Of course, California attracts a lot of young people, but this study is a reminder that you should kick the tires before you choose a place to live. Specifically, make sure you can line up a place to live before you commit because California has the lowest availability of rental property, and the third highest rental costs.

Of course, not all millennials think and act the same way. The above descriptions of strengths of weaknesses of different states offer some suggestions for what young people might want to look at when choosing where to move, but each person will prioritize and judge those factors differently.



To get a handle on some of the factors that may be driving decisions about where millennials choose to live, looked at the following eight factors:

  • Job market for young adults (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Young adult proportion of population (U.S. Census Bureau data)
  • College tuition affordability (Four-year in-state cost data from the College Board)
  • Residential rental availability (U.S. Census Bureau data)
  • Residential rental affordability (U.S. Census Bureau data)
  • Access to high-speed broadband?internet (Federal government’s National Broadband Map)
  • Concentration of bars relative to the young adult population (U.S. Census Bureau data)
  • Concentration of fitness facilities relative to the young adult population (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association)

All 50 states plus the District of Columbia were ranked on each of the above criteria, and then average rankings across all eight categories were calculated.

Based on the results, the following are the 10 Best and Worst States for Millennials in 2017:

Full Ranking of Best States for Millennials 2017

Didn’t see your home state in the best or worst lists? Look below for the full ranking of all 50 states and Washington D.C. and see where you stand:

Overall Rank State
1 North Dakota
2 South Dakota
3 Nebraska
4 Louisiana
5 Wyoming
6 Iowa
7 Kansas
7 Wisconsin
9 Montana
10 Indiana
11 Idaho
12 Florida
13 Nevada
14 Mississippi
15 Texas
16 District of Columbia
17 Arkansas
17 Minnesota
19 Delaware
19 Utah
21 Missouri
22 Michigan
23 Alabama
23 Maryland
25 Oklahoma
26 Ohio
26 Pennsylvania
28 Massachusetts
29 Alaska
30 Connecticut
31 New Mexico
31 New York
31 Rhode Island
34 Illinois
35 Colorado
36 West Virginia
37 Hawaii
38 Georgia
39 North Carolina
40 Vermont
41 Maine
42 California
43 Kentucky
44 New Jersey
45 South Carolina
46 Oregon
47 Tennessee
48 Washington
49 New Hampshire
49 Virginia
51 Arizona

Are We Becoming a Society of “Text Therapy”?

By Mark A. Leon

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those, who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear, which is inherent in a human condition” – Graham Greene

“The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.” – Hubert H. Humphrey

What is “Text Therapy”?

If you search the truth (aka Urban Dictionary) you will find several self-imposed definitions of the growing phenomenon in our social sphere. Some view it as the consolidation of emotions into a small phrase on Twitter, Facebook or text to a discriminate or non-discriminate audience. The thought of pouring your emotions to faceless millions does sound appealing to some and almost crazy to others.

In a time where social courage is running rampant, it is no surprise that this is a growing trend. We can meet and reject dates without ever meeting them in person via dating sites, dismiss a friendship with one click, share a new relationship to a global community without making one call or expressing sorrow over the loss of a loved one to the masses. Voices are silenced but never have they been so loud.

When was it acceptable to extend the arm of vulnerability in one hundred and forty characters? Is the first thought on our minds after a divorce or break up to tell anyone in front of a computer or smartphone that will listen that it is over, I am a free person and he/she does not know what they are missing? Are we looking for a reaction from the audience that clearly, by being a friend, paid admission to witness this comment? Does the immediacy of the reactions lend a higher weight to how valued you are by your social community? Are we so in need of virtual and immediate comfort that we don’t even take the time to let the situation sink in and accept the normal course of reaction time?

All valid questions that require a much deeper evaluation of the individuals participating in this ritualistic trend. But, if this piece exceeds 800 words, we will lose the core audience and thus eliminate any value that could be served.

I would like to shift gears away from the non-discriminate form of emotional up chuck and move to a targeted approach and what I believe is “Text Therapy”. Using the small sample size of my circle of friends, I have in the past been a shoulder of comfort to some creating the grand illusion of an open ear and voice of rational thought. The acceptance of friends coming to me for advice and consultation is not new in my world. What I have begun to bear witness is the exceedingly increasing use of text therapy sessions where I would receive a long text indicating depression, fear, anxiety, loneliness, heartache and trauma.

My first reaction is to offer phone time as these are not local friends, but rarely is the offer accepted. Without the ability to give a true and sensible response via text, I offer comfort through only a few simple words. Then a few more texts may ensue or silence. I will follow up and often times I get a “I feel a little better” or “I’m ok” but no clear sign of recovery from the drama that began with the first text.

Can this free and immediate consolidated therapy provide any long term help for the distressed. I am not a doctor, but my analysis is no. I sense that the social revolution has not only brought the world closer together but created a “right now” mentality that has corrupted our ability to feel.

I vividly remember the Challenger Disaster, September 11, 2001 and the announcement of the Death of Osama Bin Laden. The first two still leave vivid details in my memory box and lingering emotions for days and years. Bin Laden was very different. First, I found out 30 minutes before the President made the announcement as it was leaked out through various channels and within 5 minutes after the announcement, the bar did a round of free shots, some continued talking about what had transpired, but most of us moved on other subjects of sports, school, dating and life. We have almost turned ourselves into drones who are incapable of feeling for a long period of time.

That is a scary thought. The ability to feel and connect is what makes us human and thus the most intelligent beings on this planet. If we lose that, we are robots, void of emotion and void of feelings of love and compassion.

Let that sink in next time you reach out and request your next immediate text therapy session.

PS – 785 Words