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Sehic: I know who I'm voting for ā€” do you?

BY GUEST COLUMN | SEPTEMBER 12, 2012 6:30 AM

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I am a student. I am a refugee. I am a woman. I am an Iowan, and I am an adamant supporter of President Obama.

As a Croatian refugee, I grew up seeing the American dream play out in front of me. My parents, who went to one of the best and oldest universities in Europe, were highly educated. However, their chemistry and engineering degrees were reduced to low-paying construction and cleaning jobs because their degrees didn’t count here. They always emphasized that there was no shame in hard work and that good things come to those who work hard.

My education was always their first concern. Their insistence that every B could always be an A pushed me to have higher expectations. So, I studied hard. I planned ahead. I got into college. Now, I’m at the University of Iowa, and like many of my peers, I go to class each day hoping my hard work will pay off.

I was taught you should only ask for help when you really need it. Well, it’s my second year at Iowa, and I have a lot of student debt. I don’t want to work so hard now just to spend the rest of my life paying back my college loans. I need help, and I’m not alone. The average student at the UI graduates with $26,338 in student debt.

Obama understands that in order to compete on an international level, we have to out-educate the rest of the world. He also understands that it’s hard to do when you’re burdened with student loans and have to repay them soon after you graduate.

To put it in perspective, my parent’s education in Europe was basically free. We absolutely have to make it easier for students to attend college. If we don’t, we are not only sacrificing our future but our country’s position as a world leader.

When I talk to students on campus, I tell them how Obama doubled investments in scholarships and financial aid so that students from working- and middle-class families could complete their college education. A look of surprise crosses their faces.

I then tell them that Obama pushed Congress to keep student-loan interest rates from increasing, which saved the average student $1,000. Their eyes widen, and they tell me that they didn’t know that. Last, I tell them that I volunteer with the Obama campaign because I know what Obama will do for me and what he’ll do for them.

When you look at the candidates, ask yourself who will help young Americans? It isn’t Mitt Romney, who told students they should just “shop around” and ask their parents for more money to help pay for college. He is more concerned with the people at the top, who already have healthy 401Ks.

Romney plans to slash education funding, which means 203,000 Iowa students with Pell Grants could lose some of their funding.

Obama is worried about us, those who are going to school hoping to have decent jobs after we graduate. Obama is invested in the future of this country because he knows young Americans are the future.

So, be proactive, and think about your future. Register to vote, and know that early voting is coming soon to our campus. There is only one person on that ballot who cares about young Americans.

I know who I’m voting for. Do you?

Monika Sehic
UI student


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