When most people think of college, they probably envision ivy-covered buildings and beautiful campuses filled with carefree young people. But the reality of college is far different.
Some of us can't afford to look at those ivy-covered buildings right out of high school, let alone attend them. Instead we opt for online universities, community college or state schools. But no matter what path you take toward that degree, there's a lot of anxiety that comes along with the process.
For example: By the time I finish paying off these loans, will I be 90 or 100?
Or, when you're a woman: Why am I getting paid less than my male counterparts when I got the same expensive-ass education?
College affordability and equal pay are obviously on the minds of many Millennials. How are we supposed to be the future when we're drowning under student loan payments? (“There goes another complaining Millennial!”)
I mean, I love my parents, but I don't think I could take more than one year of living in their basement, begging them to replace their ancient wireless router and getting yelled at for accidentally deleting one of their 1,000 DVR'd shows.
Though it might not be apparent, these sorts of issues are tied together. Without the right people in government representing us, we Millennial folk risk sliding backward economically and socially. What would happen if we no longer had the right to make our own healthcare decisions? Or if we couldn't marry the person we love?
While one of our 2016 presidential candidates may not be tied to protecting these rights (cough, Donald Trump, cough), at least we know one candidate is keeping us in mind. Here are five ways post-grad life would be better if Hillary wins.
1. The biggie: She wants to make college debt-free.
Clinton has a plan to ACTUALLY achieve the goal of college being debt-free, along with a drastic cut in existing student debt.
By 2021, her plan will include no college tuition for people whose families have an income of under $85,000, with no in-state tuition for families with incomes under $125,000. Community colleges would be free for all.
The plan offers benefits for aspiring entrepreneurs, who would be able to defer their loans for three years, and social entrepreneurs, who would also be eligible for nearly $18,000 in loan forgiveness.
How much will this all cost? Just as Robin Hood would hope, the money will come from increasing taxes on high-income taxpayers and closing loopholes.
Wondering how much college would cost you? Check out Clinton's college calculator here to find out how much her plan will save you on student loan debt.
2. Women's rights will have a huge advocate in the White House.
Hillary Clinton has been the most aggressive champion for women we've ever seen in a presidential nominee. Period.
Clinton is famous for declaring in a high-profile speech that women's rights are human rights. Defending women and children has been a priority for her ever since she graduated from law school more than four decades ago.
Clinton wants to protect a woman's right to choose, including safe, legal and affordable access to all methods of contraception.
She also plans on launching a comprehensive effort to end sexual assault on college campuses — the kind of traumatic event that sticks with young women for the rest of their lives.
This issue is certainly among the most significant contrasts between Clinton and Trump. When Trump was asked what a woman should do if she were harassed at work, he said she should just quit her job. Righttttttttt. That attitude treats women's rights as unworthy, and — of course — overlooks the fact that many women don't have the luxury of simply finding another college or workplace when faced with adversity.
3. The environment wouldn't be destroyed.
Climate change is a real issue. How anyone can still fight that simple fact is beyond me (and science).
But our generation knows that we have to take care of what we have so future generations have, ya know, a planet to inhabit. On this front, Clinton wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions up to 30 percent by 2025, something essential to combating climate change.
A Clinton administration would also prop up the US renewable energy sector by slashing oil consumption (through cleaner fuel development and more stringent energy efficiency standards) and installing 500 million solar panels by the end of her first term.
Because here's the bottom line: Oil is a finite resource, and there will come a time when we run out of it. Devoting resources to strengthening renewable energy research and development will not only forestall climate change, but also propel the US to the forefront of the global clean energy revolution.
4. Equal pay will be a national priority.
Let's be blunt about this: It's insane that women still earn just 79 cents for every $1 men take home. It makes no sense, especially when women are just as (if not more) educated than men.
In other words, the pay gap needs to be closed immediately.
Of course, Donald Trump thinks the solution is for women to do just as good of a job as men. Um, I'm sorry, but last time I checked, we DO work just as hard as men. In fact, we have to work hard just to prove we deserve a seat at the table.
Hillary's stance on equal pay is a stark contrast.
While serving as a senator for New York, she introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act to close the pay gap between men and women. Though it's not yet been passed, the bill remains a legislative priority for her, as does legislation designed to protect and expand paid family leave.
5. And last but CERTAINLY not least: FREE WiFi.
Ah yes, how happy we will be if (when) President Clinton makes this happen.
In a Clinton-led America, 100 percent of Americans will have access to affordable internet by 2020, with public places like mass transit equipped with — yes — free WiFi.
Free WiFi while you're on the subway? Free WiFi while you're waiting to board your plane at the airport? Check and check.
Never again will you be forced to pay for some slow, awful WiFi connection.
Now that's a change we can believe in.
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