Sad: American Millennials Are Highly Educated But Unskilled

A new study from Princeton University concludes Millennials are highly educated but highly unskilled in the modern day.

My dad, who is a general contractor, recently lamented how hard it is to find guys around my age to hire as workers for his construction business. Most want to make a lot of money doing minimal work. Others can’t handle manual labor and refuse to get their hands dirty. As a result, vocational trades lag behind and our economy subsequently suffers. This is a troubling trend in other industries, as well. Many Millennials -regardless of gender – can’t comprehend an honest day’s work. They want instant gratification or a quick buck.

What best explains this? There’s this ridiculous expectation that a college degree will buy one success and happiness. (That’s patently false!) The quality of higher education – depending upon the university one graduates from – varies and is generally mediocre today compared to prior decades. (Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but a degree in Feminist/Gender Studies has a poor return on investment (ROI) and isn’t a marketable area of concentration.) With this inherent expectation that everyone must go to college, the higher education bubble is slated to burst. Millennials are graduating with mountains of debt and limited-to-no job prospects in sight. Opportunities to bask in prosperity are becoming increasingly dismal.

Having graduated with a B.A. from a reputable university in California, I can personally say that a college degree essentially is a piece of paper. Admittedly, I had the distinct pleasure of attending UCSD- an opportunity many still kill for today. (I earned my place there; I worked very hard in high school to get in there.) I made some great friends, graduated from a top political science program, learned a lot, and got my start in politics through campus activism there. That is a chapter in my life that I will always cherish. However, if having a college degree weren’t a prerequisite for getting a job today, I may have reconsidered college. Studying political science primarily comprised of theory rather than real-world application. If it weren’t for spending numerous hours volunteering or working part-time jobs/internships centered around conservative politics during college, I wouldn’t be where I am today. If you have a college degree but no work experience, prospective employers will glance over your application and not give any thought to hiring you. Yes, a college degree will set you apart from others – but if you can’t work hard or challenge yourself, the real world will work against you. Employers still care about quality work. If Millennials think waving a college degree in an employer’s’ face will compel them to hire them, they’re wrong.

Can our country have a highly educated populace AND a highly-skilled populace? I’d argue yes. (This is how we historically stood out from the rest of the world!) I’d also like to pose that education is a subjective term. One can be educated in a classroom or on a construction site; on a farm or in a factory; on the battlefield or on a base; in a family business or independent of the government, etc. There are many ways to be educated beyond a classroom!

It’s disheartening a real conversation on choice in education has yet to take place…

Crossposted from Facebook.

Be Outraged By Big Government, Not the American Flag

It’s quite saddening the American flag has been the subject of intense scrutiny of late…First, students at a University of California campus near my hometown deemed the flag “offensive” and attempted to ban it (which has been unsuccessful, thankfully). Now, a Virginia photographer is receiving threats for photographing a picture of a Navy veteran holding his newborn child with a flag (it doesn’t appear to evoke or suggest any desecration of the flag, IMHO).

Yes, the Constitution protects free speech – even stupid speech – and people are within their right to criticize the flag – however, they will be (rightfully) subjected to criticism and publicly shamed for conduct or statements made about the flag that are unbecoming.

However, the lack of reverence for Old Glory today is troubling. People view it as a symbol of “nationalism,” “sexism,” and “imperialism” thanks to indoctrination in our schools. Hell, they revile it and even have a more positive view of the Soviet flag and other communist symbols. (Sigh.)

The American flag doesn’t simply comprise of stars and stripes or the colors red, white, and blue. It symbolizes freedom, sacrifice, and perseverance. It is a symbol of hope, of the triumph of good over evil, and of boundless opportunities. Millions of people have died for this country and for our right to express ourselves. If you have gripes with the flag or have qualms with the American way of life, North Korea and Russia will happily welcome you with open arms.

Want to be offended about something? Look at our government and how gargantuan it is. Legal plunder is disgusting; patriotism is not.

My two cents…

Crossposted from Facebook.

Angling Right: Gear Up for Fishing Season!

Who else is excited for fishing season to start up again? I know I am!

I’ll be returning to the water this Sunday. (Post to follow!)

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Last spring, I launched a series of blog posts called “Angling Right” to help generate interest in fishing among members of my generation. I’m happy it’s been well-received by my fellow Millennial anglers and those curious about becoming anglers!

Starting March 15th, this Sunday, fishing weather in Virginia is slated to be off-the-hook (pun-intended)!

Need more reasons to go fishing? Take Me Fishing’s Debbie Henson explains below:

  1. Fishing is a physical activity that can be a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. The sports of fishing and boating encourage you to use your arms to cast and your legs to walk from one spot to another or to steady yourself on the boat deck.
  1. Fishing uses brain power. When you start getting into fishing, you use brain power to research things like tides, weather, water conditions and areas of structure. Every time you go fishing, you can learn something new.
  1. Fishing can give you a rush of happiness that is much more sustainable than a sugar rush. When you catch a big fish, you are on “cloud nine” for days, and smile from ear to ear every time you think about the good fishing memories you have made.
  1. The feelings of accomplishment that come from learning new fishing skills are sweeter. Think about how good it feels when you master a new skill. When you learn how to throw a cast net or tie a new fishing knot, you get those sweet feelings of accomplishment and success.

I couldn’t agree more!

Here in the Commonwealth of Virginia, there are a lot of untapped fishing spots to explore.  This may sound sacrilegious to write, but I’ve found more fishing opportunities here in Virginia than in Southern California. (Sorry, home state!)  I’ve been doing extensive research on local fishing spots to see which ones are good and have optimal returns on investment. Luckily for my family and I, there are plenty of rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans spots to choose from within a 50 mile radius–even as close as two miles!

Here are some places I’ll be visiting and/or blogging about this fishing season:

  • Riverbend Park – Great Falls, VA (Loudon County): This fishing spot is located just north of Great Falls Park in McLean/Great Falls, VA. This area is known for its hiking spots plus decent fishing. Crappie, perch, and small bass are common
  • Pohick Bay – Lorton, VA (Prince William County): Pohick Bay is located in Prince William County, which neighbors Fairfax County to the southwest.
  • Little Hunting Creek – Alexandria, VA (Fairfax County): This is my new favorite fishing spot. It’s easily accessible and is a unique body of water since it’s the intersection of the Potomac River and Little Hunting Creek. My dad and I have caught catfish, eel, and perch/small bass here. People reportedly catch largemouth bass and shad (herring) here.
  • Occoquan Reservoir – Occoquan, VA (Prince William County): I also discovered and fell in love with this fishing spot last year. It’s huge and surrounded by beautiful nature. Plus, the fish there actively bite.
  • Naples, FL – I look forward to deep-sea or backwater fishing here later this year.

I hope you join in on some fishy fun this year! If you haven’t gone fishing before, it’s never too late to start.

Check out Take Me Fishing, Field and Stream, North American Fishing, Keep America Fishing, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, and Gander Mountain to get started.

Do you plan to fish this year or introduce someone to fishing? Comment below!

Eric Church Rocked the Verizon Center

Last night, my sister and I saw country music artist Eric Church perform at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., as part of a stop on his “The Outsiders World Tour.” It was his first time performing at the Verizon Center. And unsurprisingly, the show was sold out.

My sister got us these concert tickets as an early birthday present. (My birthday is next Monday; I’ll be turning 24.) Hands down, it was the best birthday present I’ve received in recent memory. (Thank you and love you, sisute!)

Below are some pictures I took at the concert:

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Drive-By Truckers opened for Eric Church. It was my first time hearing their music and I LOVED it!

 

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Eric Church. Swoon.

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Eric Church is a badass. He really connects with his fans and loves what he does.

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Church and his signature ball cap look.

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The concert was sold out, as evidenced by this massive crowd.

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A few months ago, The Bobby Bones Show talked about a devil making an appearance at the Eric Church concert while “Devil, Devil” was playing. Here it is. Terrifying, isn’t it?

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For $35 seats, we had this optimal view. Not too shabby!

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Another awesome shot of Eric Church.

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Close up of Eric Church.

 

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Isn’t he dreamy?

I’ve been to my share of concert music concerts featuring Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, Florida-Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Lee Brice, among many people. While I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the aforementioned artists perform, I was absolutely blown away by how talented and dedicated Eric Church is to his craft. He has more of a rock ‘n roll vibe to his music, which I greatly appreciate and enjoy. (Who doesn’t like rock ‘n roll? It’s as American as they come.) He performed hits like “Talladega”, “Smoke a Little Smoke”, “Homeboy”, “Devil, Devil”, “Guys Like Me”, “That’s Damn Rock ‘N Roll”, “Springsteen”, and many other tracks from his various albums. His music is refreshing in the day and age of bro-country-though I do enjoy some FLAGA Line and Thomas Rhett.

If you also attended the concert, I hope you enjoyed it too! It was refreshing to see people decked out in camo here in D.C. (It’s a wonderful break from the usual stiffs and suits you see here in the nation’s capital.)

Want to learn more about Eric Church? Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

 

Happy 25th Anniversary of Reunification, Lithuania!

 

Credit: LTUWorld

Credit: LTUWorld

On this day 25 years ago, the Baltic Republic of Lithuania broke away from the Soviet Union. (It was the first Baltic to do so.)

Here’s more about this important historical event from LTUWorld:


Lithuania marks the 25-year anniversary of the restoration of its independence.

We Believe in Freedom. We always did. For centuries from the beginning of Lithuanian statehood to the present day.

Having restored Lithuania’s independence 25 years ago two out of three Lithuanians personally remember that thirst for freedom and how comforting the first gulps were. We remember how good it felt to return to Europe, to be back home where freedom is an underlying value.

11th March 1990 was the day when Lithuanians became free to choose, to grow, to be themselves. And we try to do our best.

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If you are interested in how the world press reacted to the restoration of Lithuania’s Independence in 1990, check out this source: http://parodos.lnb.lt/en/exhibits/show/paroda-kovo-11

Grateful to have immediate roots in a country that prizes faith, freedom, and free markets.

Happy Reunification Day, Lietuva!

The Case for Wanderlust: Go to Boston

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View of Boston Skyline from Top of the Hub

Do you crave adventure? Want to explore our magnificent country more but not sure where to start? If you’re like me, you probably suffer from a bout of “wanderlust” or the strong longing/desire to travel.

Since I’m a young professional curious about the world around her, I love traveling whenever I get the chance. I’m lucky my job allows me to travel up to the Northeast, and on occasion, elsewhere in the United States.

I figured I might as well profile some of the cool places I visit. This “Case for Wanderlust” post will be largely dedicated to profiling some of the best spots and sights in Boston, Massachusetts.

The original cradle of liberty, Boston is the state capital of the Bay State. For all of Massachusetts’ transgressions as a progressive cesspool, it is a beautiful state to explore. (And Boston is a gem!)

Here’s a list I’ve compiled of the best places to hit up in Beantown:

Best Touristy Things

Freedom Trail: Want to visit all the important historical sites in Boston? Walk the Freedom Trail. It traverses 16 different historical sites.

Bunker Hill: For all you history buffs out there, headto Charlestown while in Boston. This obelisk is a sight to behold. Plus, you’ll learn more about this important battle that took place during the Revolutionary War.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace: If you enjoy some good food and world-class shopping, the area surrounding Faneuil Hall -which encompasses Quincy Market- is a must-see. (I personally recommend you dine at Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and Ned Devine’s!)

Boston Common: Did you know that Boston serves as the capital of Massachusetts? Beacon Hill, which is like the Capitol Hill of Massachusetts, can be found here. Additionally, Boston Common is home to Boston Public Garden.

Sam Adams Brewery: Ben Franklin once said, “Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” If you love beer and want to go on a great brewery tour, Sam Adams is the place for you! I made my first visit to this brewery in April 2013. They offer three beer tastings and give visitors free Sam Adams glasses as souvenirs. Highly recommend you check this place out!

Best Food Options

Union Oyster House: Founded in 1826, Union Oyster House is America’s oldest restaurant. Founding Father Daniel Webster frequented this place. They are perhaps known for their seafood. I recommend their Ye Olde Seafood Platter, which comprises deep fried shrimp, clams, scallops, calamari, oysters and fillet of fish topped with onion rings.

Yankee Lobster Company: This restaurant is located in the heart of South Boston. It’s known for its lobster mac ‘n cheese and lobster bisque. This is a must-visit.

Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage: This gem in Cambridge, MA is worth the trek to Harvard. From a creative menu to delicious burgers, Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage will satisfy anyone’s appetite. Check out their menu and be prepared to laugh.

Mike’s Pastry: Nestled in the heart of North End, Mike’s Pastry is the quintessential Boston bake shop. This is arguably the best cannoli place in Boston. If you plan to be a patron of Mike’s, they have a cash-only policy.

Top of the Hub: This restaurant sits atop the 52nd floor of the Prudential Center Building in downtown Boston. It has killer panoramic views of the Charles River and Boston skyline.

Best Views of Boston

Fan Pier: Fan Pier is located near the Financial District, South Station, and Faneuil Hall. If you’re up for walking a bit to catch a great glimpse of Boston’s skyline, Fan Pier is the perfect destination to see it. What are some perks to this spot? It’s free to access.

Top of the Hub/Prudential Building: Fine dining and great views. Need I say more?

Cambridge: During my last stay in Boston, I choose to spend the night in the heart of Cambridge. Unbeknownst to most people, this neighborhood of Boston has some great views of downtown Boston.

Do you have a case of wanderlust? Cure it by traveling to Boston and elsewhere!

Stay tuned for my next ‘Wanderlust’ post next week from the South…