Consider This

Consider This

From Chicken Soup for the College Soul

Consider This

[EDITORS’ NOTE: The following are excerpts from a commencement address given by Bill Clinton at Princeton University on June 4, 1996.]

Just consider this, there’s more computer power in a Ford Taurus every one of you can buy and drive to the supermarket than there was in Apollo II when Neil Armstrong took it to the moon. Nobody who wasn’t a high-energy physicist had even heard of the World Wide Web when I became President. And now even my cat, Socks, has his own page. By the time a child born today is old enough to read, over 100 million people will be on the Internet.

Just consider the last hundred years. At the turn of the century the progressives made it the law of the land for every child to be in school. Before then there was no such requirement. After World War II, we said ten years are not enough, public schools should extend to twelve years. And then the G.I. Bill and college loans threw open the doors of college to the sons and daughters of farmers and factory workers, and they have powered our economy ever since.

America knows that higher education is the key to the growth we need to lift our country, and today that is more true than ever. Over half the new jobs created in the last three years have been managerial and professional jobs. The new jobs require a higher level of skills.

Fifteen years ago the typical worker with a college degree made 38 percent more than a worker with a high-school diploma. Today that figure is 73 percent more. Two years of college means a 20 percent increase in annual earnings. People who finish two years of college earn a quarter of a million dollars more than their high-school counterparts over a lifetime.

The older I get and the more I become aware that I have more yesterdays than tomorrows, the more I think that in our final hours, which all of us have to face, very rarely will we say, “Gosh, I wish I had spent more time at the office,” or, “If only I had made just a little more money.” But we will think about the dreams we lived out, the wonders we knew, when we were most fully alive.

Bill Clinton

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