Strain: Beware the Brain Drain

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Amanda Strain

Amanda Strain

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Staff Photo

Amanda Strain

Amanda Strain

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Some of you have probably heard the term “brain drain” before, and if you haven’t, it’s about time that you learn.

The Brain Drain is commonly described as a process, even though it is more like a cycle, that stunts the overall success rate of our state. The Brain Drain is caused when the most educated people from Mississippi leave our state in search of more prevalent opportunities, often because of the significant lack of opportunity that is available in Mississippi. This, in turn, prevents opportunities from developing in Mississippi because the people most able to better our state no longer reside in our population.

The Mississippi Brain Drain is becoming even more evident now that the millennial generation is coming of age. From 2010-2016 Mississippi’s millennial generation has suffered a greater decline that any other state.

Personally, living in Mississippi for the rest of my life would never had been my first choice, as it has never been appealing to me. I’ve caught myself asking people who have moved here over the years, “of all places, why Mississippi?” The reasons for my lack of pride in our state are numerous and widely shared by my peers. One look at the statistics about our state are enough to discourage people looking to come here and the people who are already live here.

Because of Mississippi’s undesirable reputation and the widely spread lack of hope in our state I had planned to leave the area as soon as physically and financially possible, until I spent last summer at two of the early college summer programs that were offered. I had an amazing opportunity to invest my time this summer at Mississippi’s Governors School and Ole Miss’s Lott Institute Program for Political Science, where I learned a lot about the Brain Drain and met tons of the brilliant minds that would be future contributors to the Brain Drain if they were to leave Mississippi after high school or college.

These two programs are just two of many that the State of Mississippi has implemented to help appease the appetite for education that its most gifted future scholars crave, and in return they contribute to combating the Brain Drain. Through higher education programs I not only broadened my horizons and developed more intellectually and as a person, but I also developed a sense of pride in my state and what it offers that was absent before. So, my advice for anyone who is thinking about leaving our state and taking their potential and talent away with them, is investigate your options here first. Look at what our state has to offer, and think about all that you could contribute to it before you look for what you could contribute elsewhere. If every citizen strives to be the best citizen they can be, then we can create the best state Mississippi can be.

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