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Student debt limits who we become (You won't believe this naive cry-baby)
The Buffalo News Opnion ^ | 10/25/07 | Ken Ilgunas

Posted on 10/26/2007 6:49:11 PM PDT by VA Voter

I am 24, live with my parents, can’t find work and am floundering in a sea of debt five figures high. I think of myself as ambitious, independent and hardworking. Now I’m dependent, unemployed and sleeping under the same Super Mario ceiling fan that I did when I was 7.

How did this happen? I did what every upstanding citizen is supposed to do. I went to college. I took out loans so I could enroll at Alfred University, a pricey private school. The next year, I transferred to the more finance-friendly University at Buffalo, where I could commute from home and push carts part-time at Home Depot.

I related my forthcoming debt to puberty or a midlife crisis — each an unavoidable nuisance; tickets required upon admission to the next stage of adulthood. But as interest rates climbed and the cost of tuition, books and daily living mounted to galactic proportions,

I realized this was more than some paltry inconvenience.

Upon graduating, I was helplessly launched headfirst into the “real world,” equipped with a degree in history and $32,000 in student loans. Before ricocheting back home, I would learn two important lessons: 1) There are no well-paying — let alone paying — jobs for history majors. 2) The real world is really tough.

Desperate times called for desperate measures, and I had no intention of living in a society that was as unfair as this one. To seek a haven devoid of the ruthless 9-to-5 ebb and flow of contemporary America, I moved to Alaska.

As a liberal arts major, I dreamed of making a profound difference in people’s lives. Instead, for a year, I lived in Coldfoot, a town north of the Arctic Circle that resembles a Soviet Gulag camp. My job as a tour guide for visitors temporarily alleviated my money woes because it provided room and board, but when the season ended and I moved back home, I was again confronted with the grim realities of debt.

Desperate, I browsed through insurance and bank job descriptions. I had hit an all-time low. Could I surrender my soul for health coverage and a steady income? Could I sacrifice my ideals by falling into line?

Suddenly, living at home didn’t seem nearly as degrading as selling out. But sadly, other graduates don’t have any choice but to work for temp agencies and retail stores to eke by.

That’s the tragedy of student debt: it doesn’t just limit what we do, but who we become. Forget volunteering. Forget traveling. Forget trying to improve your country, or yourself. You’ve got bills to pay, young man.

Unfortunately, the recent passage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act doesn’t portend that times are a-changin’. The act reduces interest rates on Stafford Loans and increases Pell Grant awards. Whoopty-do.

There’s no question that this is a step forward. But we’re still talking pennies and nickels when we need to completely revolutionize the government’s role in financing post-secondary education.

College is a wonderful experience and something every young citizen should pursue. But without help, a college education is becoming an unaffordable rite of passage and a privilege of the affluent.

My loan payments can’t wait much longer, and soon I must leave home to find work that doesn’t compromise my integrity. Although I sometimes wonder what it would be like if I had declared as an accounting major and got a cushy job punching numbers somewhere, I’ll take my history major, my debt and my mom’s cooking any day of the week.

Ken Ilgunas, who lives in Niagara Falls, fears college is becoming unaffordable for most Americans.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: basementdweller; crybaby; democratbase; loser
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1 posted on 10/26/2007 6:49:13 PM PDT by VA Voter
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To: VA Voter

What a p***y boy. I would be embarrassed to use my name.


2 posted on 10/26/2007 6:51:19 PM PDT by Perdogg (Join the NCAA basketball thread - Freemail me - Go tarheels!)
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To: VA Voter
History major? Hah.

He should have majored in Philosophy.

3 posted on 10/26/2007 6:51:21 PM PDT by LdSentinal
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To: VA Voter
The economy is great and there is full employment. You should have tried to get a job after Vietnam when someone like john kerry called you a baby killer and a war criminal. Lots of people had to do what ever they could not just what you want to do.
4 posted on 10/26/2007 6:52:41 PM PDT by mountainlyons (Hard core conservative)
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To: VA Voter
He joined a hippie commune for 2 days but they wanted him to help harvest their weed.:}
5 posted on 10/26/2007 6:53:08 PM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Remember the Alamo, Goliad and WACO, It is Time for a new San Jacinto)
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To: VA Voter

“1) There are no well-paying — let alone paying — jobs for history majors.”

It would help if you could construct a logically coherent sentence. Hint- reverse paying and well-paying.


6 posted on 10/26/2007 6:53:16 PM PDT by HarryCaul
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To: VA Voter

Wow! What an incredibly arrogant narcissist. Amazing.

Imagine believing that a liberal arts degree in history would make one ready to make huge benefits in other people’s lives. It’ all so unfair! LOL!


7 posted on 10/26/2007 6:53:33 PM PDT by Seruzawa (Attila the Hun... wasn't he a liberal?)
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To: VA Voter

Might have been a good idea for him to apprentice as an electrician or a plumber. Obviously there isn’t a big job market out there for BA History majors.


8 posted on 10/26/2007 6:53:37 PM PDT by Abby4116
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To: VA Voter

To quote Drew Carey - ‘Awwwww, you don’t like your job? We have a club for that!
It’s called EVERYBODY.
We meet every night after work at the bar.’


9 posted on 10/26/2007 6:54:01 PM PDT by dk88 (Beer, bacon and Rock)
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To: VA Voter

hahah, get the waaaammmmbulance. This kid bought all the lies — ‘Major in anything, it doesn’t matter. Don’t sell YOUR soul and actually get a 9-5 job — (let your dad do that). Go to a pricey school. A career will be the fulfillment of all your dreams.’

The nature of life is -— WORK. There, you’ve got it.


10 posted on 10/26/2007 6:55:05 PM PDT by bboop (Stealth Tutor)
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To: VA Voter
Upon graduating, I was helplessly launched headfirst into the “real world,” equipped with a degree in history

Helplessly launched?

"Equipped" with a degree in HISTORY???

I don't even know where to begin. But I do know that little Kenny will soon be saying, "Would you like to supersize that".

11 posted on 10/26/2007 6:55:06 PM PDT by Lizavetta ( Politicians: When they're speaking, they're lying - when they're not speaking, they're stealing.)
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To: dk88

I love that one — ‘we meet after work at the bar.’ hjahah.


12 posted on 10/26/2007 6:55:55 PM PDT by bboop (Stealth Tutor)
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To: Abby4116

I learned that too, thats why I am studying Accounting after a BA in Political Science.


13 posted on 10/26/2007 6:56:35 PM PDT by Munson
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To: VA Voter
Upon a second reading of the article I caught this little gem...."To seek a haven devoid of the ruthless 9-to-5 ebb and flow of contemporary America"....

It's official. He's a loser throwback to the 60s.

14 posted on 10/26/2007 6:56:40 PM PDT by Lizavetta ( Politicians: When they're speaking, they're lying - when they're not speaking, they're stealing.)
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To: Perdogg; All

The poor baby doesn’t want to doesn’t compromise his integrity. Imagine how prowd his parents must be.


15 posted on 10/26/2007 6:57:50 PM PDT by VA Voter
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To: VA Voter

I wouldn’t hire him. He has horrible judgement, going 5 figures in debt for a History degree? LOL! History is a great subject and can enrich your life enormously, but not with money.....bwhahahahahahahaha!

Now he’s living at the mom and dad Holiday Inn....maybe they will give him points....:)


16 posted on 10/26/2007 6:58:01 PM PDT by HerrBlucher (He's the coolest thing around, gonna shut HRC down, gonna turn it on, wind it up, blow em out, FDT!)
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To: VA Voter

I need somebody to clean up power plants ... at 15.00 - 20.00 per hour.


17 posted on 10/26/2007 6:59:08 PM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: VA Voter

What a brat.


18 posted on 10/26/2007 6:59:16 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: VA Voter

Should have been “proud”.


19 posted on 10/26/2007 6:59:26 PM PDT by VA Voter
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To: VA Voter
Before ricocheting back home, I would learn two important lessons: 1) There are no well-paying — let alone paying — jobs for history majors.

I won't say "Duh!" because I don't know the market. I took a similar gamble (presuming the world will always need new engineers, even if it didn't when I got my BSEE, though it certainly did later for an MSEE/CS) -- and won. But if they weren't looking then I might have gone for Piled Highest and Deepest.

And maybe wound up flipping burgers.

There are no guarantees.

20 posted on 10/26/2007 7:00:02 PM PDT by sionnsar (trad-anglican.faithweb.com |Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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