The world is a-changin’, if you didn’t notice. Everyday there’s a story of political insurrection in some distant country. Right here at home, there’s massive public disapproval of the government. There are food, energy and financial crises unfolding simultaneously. The summer Olympic Games are approaching, and the worldwide torch run has seen more protests than any other in history. The world has been militarizing since 9/11, upgrading weapons systems and war techniques for 21st-century battles. There’s global inflation, overpopulation and unpredictable acts of terrorism. Frankly, the world is in the early stages of global anarchy.

So how will this affect us soon-to-be graduating Gauchos? There will be both positives and negatives for UCSB graduates about to endeavor into the real world. Let’s talk about a few important ones.

Positive. For those who save substantially in their 20s, it will be easier to buy a house, as you will be emerging into the housing market in what’s looking like the worst depression since 1929. There is a fire sale going on right now in the American private property market. Houses that were $500,000 a year ago are now $200,000. If you can maneuver your way through the tumultuous economic era America is going through, you could be a homeowner sooner than you think – maybe as early as 25. When the housing prices continue to decline, and we’re faced with decisions on housing after college, the high cost barrier that promotes renting and delays buying will be shattered. We will be emerging into the most favorable buyer’s market America has had in years. You will be able to skip renting and proceed right to buying… but you have to weather the storm.

Negative. We are in a heated global political climate. It is looking more and more like the buildup before World War II. Some world leaders’ tempers are flaring with discontent for other nations. The United States is engaged in one of the most internationally unpopular wars of all time. It is perceived as a war of conquest and expansion, not of liberation. Summarily, we are not in stable political times, and all it would take to throw the world into military lockdown would be a large event like 9/11. The summer Olympics are coming in August, followed by the U.S. Presidential Election in early November. The International Criminal Police Organization, also known as INTERPOL, and other intelligence and security agencies from all nations are on high alert for both of these events. Plots to disrupt the Olympics have already been thwarted by Chinese security forces. They were all planning to bomb the games. If a terrorist group were successful in executing an attack on either of these occasions, we might find ourselves in World War III.

Positive. Market conditions are fairly predictable right now. It’s a no-brainer America’s going to have a tough couple years, and China will probably have a few good ones. The Chinese companies are going to grow so much larger than anything we’ve ever seen, and the stock prices are still relatively low. American companies are forced out of Chinese markets by domestic Chinese companies. This is the world’s biggest market: A massive consumer economy slowly tapped, and as more people become involved in their consumer economy, the China-based companies will become enormous. A lot of people made a lot of money betting on America in the ’90s – my money’s on China in the 2010s. Take a look at some Chinese stocks – it could be like buying Google in 2004 or Microsoft in 1990.

Negative. Global warming is going to be a tough one to solve. The ice caps are melting faster than scientists thought, and drastic climate change could be right around the corner. The year 2007 was particularly eventful for severe weather in America. There was a massive spike in tornadoes and irregular rainfall patterns, which may be a sign of things to come. If weather patterns change unfavorably in America, we could be in for a devastating drought or other lengthy environmental disasters.

The future is uncertain. Things may not play out like this, but these are viable possibilities. It is certain, however, that tough times are looming on America’s horizon. All we can do is position ourselves advantageously.