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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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To: mountainlyons

And he’s obviously never heard of the museum industry. I’d guess they’d take a history major or two.


21 posted on 10/26/2007 7:01:56 PM PDT by PrincessB ("I am an expert on my own opinion." - Dave Ramsey)
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To: VA Voter

Shouldn’t his history ciricculum have taught him that there are no jobs for history majors?

I went to the Buffalo paper where the story originated and wanted to tell the kid that (as the rest of us have pointed out). Too bad; they don’t allow comments over there.


22 posted on 10/26/2007 7:02:40 PM PDT by Joann37
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To: HarryCaul

Haliburton is looking for truck drivers to drive fuel tank trucks in Iraq for $ 90,000 a year. Get to strap on a pistol and carry a carbine on the job.


23 posted on 10/26/2007 7:02:45 PM PDT by Fee (An American empire can only be built by leaders with the stomach of Romans.)
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To: VA Voter
The World's Smallest Violin (Desperate liberal needs Freeper advice)

Different title and source, but we've already had a lot of fun beating on this pinata.

24 posted on 10/26/2007 7:03:08 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (May the heirs of Charles Martel and Jan Sobieski rise up again to defend Europe.)
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To: Ken Ilgunas

"I sometimes wonder what it would be like if I had declared as an accounting major.."

I can tell you. You would be hearing things like: 'Forget it, loser, you are way too stupid' all the time.


25 posted on 10/26/2007 7:03:28 PM PDT by I see my hands (_8(|)
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To: VA Voter

Oh, yeah. I wanna hire him.


26 posted on 10/26/2007 7:03:54 PM PDT by Larry Lucido (Hunter 2008)
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To: VA Voter

If he wanted a degree in history, he could have obtained his teaching certificate to go with it. Instant job.

Or better yet, get the history degree within an ROTC program. Instant job.

Or spend the $32,000 learning a trade and opening a business.

He is as dumb as I was when I left college with a degree in English. It didn’t take me long to go to nursing school to get a marketable skill.


27 posted on 10/26/2007 7:04:15 PM PDT by Wage Slave (Good fences make good neighbors. -- Robert Frost)
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To: Joann37

That should be “curriculum”. Sorry.


28 posted on 10/26/2007 7:04:18 PM PDT by Joann37
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To: VA Voter

History is a hobby. Get a degree that prepares you for a job. Stop whining. You are not the first graduate to have trouble finding a job. Nor are you the first person to be in debt. Just face it. You made some bad decisions. Now, get your act together and make something of yourself so we don’t have to pay any more of your bills.


29 posted on 10/26/2007 7:05:32 PM PDT by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE

Want to borrow a kid? If he screws up his education, I will rent him out. LOL.


30 posted on 10/26/2007 7:05:50 PM PDT by patton (cuiquam in sua arte credendum)
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To: Abby4116
Might have been a good idea for him to apprentice as an electrician or a plumber.

In Europe, for hundreds of years, one's education included becoming a master in some trade, be it masonry, arts, goldsmith, = as a fall-back in times when the 'real' jobs were scarce. It was a good backup plan.

I think high schoolers and college kis alike should be required to take a 2 year course in some trade at a voc school. There would far less unemployment

31 posted on 10/26/2007 7:06:10 PM PDT by maine-iac7 ("...but you can't fool all of the people all of the time" LINCOLN)
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To: VA Voter
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.

Waaaah! Maybe if you had a few econ classes you would have learned about the distorting effects government subsidies have on markets. To summarize, Uncle Sucker subsidizing so much of college education allows the price on it for everyone to rise.

32 posted on 10/26/2007 7:06:16 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (May the heirs of Charles Martel and Jan Sobieski rise up again to defend Europe.)
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To: VA Voter

Mom and Dad need to send JR. packing.


33 posted on 10/26/2007 7:06:27 PM PDT by CindyDawg
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To: PrincessB

Sure, but he would have to compromise his integrity by wearing a clean shirt showing up on time, and filling out reports.


34 posted on 10/26/2007 7:06:30 PM PDT by jdub
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To: VA Voter

Dude, get a grip. Look, your major is useless in this techno-specialist world. Next trick, go back to school for computors, or even better, join the Army and become a Master of the Bayonet. When you get out you’ll still be able to work on PCs, and kick crap out of anyone dissin’ Rangers. You’ll hate liberals and have lovely flashbacks of combat, like mine, to remind you of the good old days. Don’t be such a whiner!


35 posted on 10/26/2007 7:07:35 PM PDT by TnTonto
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE
I need somebody to clean up power plants ... at 15.00 - 20.00 per hour.

Got anything teaching history for, say, 40.00 per hour? These Alaksa trips ain't cheap.

36 posted on 10/26/2007 7:07:42 PM PDT by Larry Lucido (Hunter 2008)
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To: VA Voter

So how does “work” compromise your integrity?


37 posted on 10/26/2007 7:07:52 PM PDT by Hattie
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To: VA Voter

Only place that pays for a history degree is the military and they have help pay your college loans.

What did he expect to make with a history degree?


38 posted on 10/26/2007 7:07:58 PM PDT by art_rocks
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To: VA Voter
Just add a degree in Library Science which really isn’t too far off from your history studies.
Heard a lot about book worms that need advice.
The best thing however, you continue on in your favorite subject, earn a Masters, then a Doctorate, then go and turn into a Professor that teaches aspiring students the goods about history.
You then completed a full circle with income and job security.
39 posted on 10/26/2007 7:08:07 PM PDT by hermgem (Will Olmr)
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To: VA Voter

>> I am 24, live with my parents, can’t find work and am floundering in a sea of debt five figures high.

Ken, glad to see you made it through Complaining 101, 201, and 301. You’re very good at it. Get a job in a journalism.


40 posted on 10/26/2007 7:09:00 PM PDT by Gene Eric
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To: maine-iac7
Yep. It should start in 9th grade. You may not want to fix hair or be a nurses aide or a mechanic all your life but it's work you can do as you continue your education.

I think student loans are ruining our kids. It's a right now. They used to work their way thru college. I did.

41 posted on 10/26/2007 7:09:36 PM PDT by CindyDawg
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To: VA Voter
...equipped with a degree in history and $32,000 in student loans.

Paid more than that for one of my cars, and I wrote a check for it. You should have gotten an engineering degree. But, had you done that, you wouldn't know all about how the evil capitalists in the United States are racists and thwarted marxist socialism utopia. Well, go eat crap, you pathetic pink-o.
42 posted on 10/26/2007 7:10:05 PM PDT by advance_copy (Stand for life, or nothing at all)
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To: CindyDawg

What do you want to bet that little Kenny is an only child?


43 posted on 10/26/2007 7:12:17 PM PDT by VA Voter
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To: VA Voter
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.

So you want more of MY tax money to help you pay for an education which has failed to prevent you from becoming a whiny basement-dwelling f#$ktard? lol, you fail at LIFE. I'll send you a razor blade if you promise to use it on your wrists and become an hero. Remember, down the road, not across the street.

44 posted on 10/26/2007 7:12:49 PM PDT by lesser_satan (READ MY LIPS: NO NEW RINOS | FRED THOMPSON '08)
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To: VA Voter
  soon I must leave home to find work that doesn’t compromise my integrity

Yeah, it'd be a real shame to have to do an honest day's labor for an honest day's pay.
45 posted on 10/26/2007 7:14:30 PM PDT by Mike-o-Matic
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To: VA Voter

I wonder what his DU name is.


46 posted on 10/26/2007 7:15:22 PM PDT by armymarinemom (My sons freed Iraqi and Afghan Honor Roll students.)
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To: VA Voter
Forget trying to improve your country, or yourself. You’ve got bills to pay, young man.

That's a relief, the last thing we need are more socialist do-gooders, I love it when a liberal is mugged by reality. Why couldn't he go to a cheap junior college to begin with? Why did he need to spen $30,000+ to get a degree at Dummy U. ?

47 posted on 10/26/2007 7:16:33 PM PDT by Brett66 (Where government advances, and it advances relentlessly , freedom is imperiled -Janice Rogers Brown)
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To: VA Voter

try mowing lawns.


48 posted on 10/26/2007 7:17:24 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand
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To: VA Voter
HAHAHAHAHAHhahahaHA!!!! *gasp!!* BWHAHAHAHAHahahaha!!! *eyes watering* HAHAhahahahAHAHA*snort*HAHAHAHahahahahahahAAAAAA!!!!
49 posted on 10/26/2007 7:18:15 PM PDT by Marie (Unintended consequences.)
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To: VA Voter

Maybe .... In one way I can understand. I am not a Monday-Friday 9-5 person either. I suggest he join the military. His schedule will vary, and he can travel the world and learn a trade that he can make a living at and get a steady paycheck every 2 weeks. (all the things he said he wants:’)


50 posted on 10/26/2007 7:19:04 PM PDT by CindyDawg
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