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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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To: VA Voter
Now I’m dependent, unemployed and sleeping under the same Super Mario ceiling fan that I did when I was 7.

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Heyyyy! It'sa me, Maa-rio! Wotsa matta? You-a no like-a me no more? @#$%! Why-a donchoo go out and get a steenking job?

101 posted on 10/27/2007 3:02:01 AM PDT by Caipirabob (Communists... Socialists... Democrats...Traitors... Who can tell the difference?)
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To: VA Voter

My cousin was a history major. He makes a pretty good living as a computer programmer now. Get a life kid.

102 posted on 10/27/2007 3:08:50 AM PDT by Aeronaut (Hebrews 13:4)
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To: VA Voter

Shut up crybaby! This is what happens to white males. Blatant job discrimination. Non-white-males get their college tuition at reduced rate and don’t have to pay back as much as white males. Get used to it!

103 posted on 10/27/2007 3:40:11 AM PDT by Leftism is Mentally Deranged
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To: Perdogg


104 posted on 10/27/2007 4:26:05 AM PDT by joeystoy
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To: VA Voter
What do you want to bet that little Kenny is an only child?

My thoughts exactly.

105 posted on 10/27/2007 4:28:31 AM PDT by dearolddad
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To: Abby4116

He wants to be a liberal elite, not get his metrosexual, manicured hands dirty!

Manual labor is SOOOOOOO beneath him.

106 posted on 10/27/2007 4:35:48 AM PDT by Nickname
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To: Aeronaut

A history degree is terrific for anyone already capable of higher-level thinking, working with others, and taking the initiative to make oneself valuable in the modern world.

For those with the worker-Joe mindset that a degree is an automatic ticket to vocational salvation, history is a poor field of major.

107 posted on 10/27/2007 4:41:24 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: dearolddad

My niece graduated from State University at Albany with a liberal arts degree and the intention to go on to grad school and eventually become a teacher. During the summer after graduation she took a part-time job with the NYC office of an Italian bank. Her boyfriend at the time worked there fulltime. Young and smart with discipline and good attitude, within three weeks she was being recruited by every department within the bank. She’s been there now for seven years, working her way up in the industrial finance department. She married the young man who recommended her for the summer job (he had to leave because of anti-nepotism rules and she was making more by then), they just bought their first home, and they’re expecting their first child.

Oh yeah... they not only saved enough money while they were making two salaries for a substantial down payment, she’s also planning to stay home with her baby because they’ve saved enough money to handle the new home with one salary. He’s an IT professional with a local cable network.

No big cars...
No fancy million dollar home in Chappaqua...
No regular trips three times a day to Starbucks...

Just good old-fashioned American common sense.

The American dream is alive and well here in Oceanside, NY.

108 posted on 10/27/2007 4:44:23 AM PDT by joeystoy
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To: VA Voter
Apparently this sniveling little brat is still a boy. How embarrassing to write an article like this.
109 posted on 10/27/2007 4:45:07 AM PDT by ItisaReligionofPeace
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To: VA Voter

110 posted on 10/27/2007 4:50:42 AM PDT by Kozak (Anti Shahada: There is no god named Allah, and Muhammed is a false prophet)
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To: ItisaReligionofPeace

He’s got potential to become a journalist...

111 posted on 10/27/2007 4:55:10 AM PDT by abb (The Dinosaur Media: A One-Way Medium in a Two-Way World)
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To: Perdogg

I graduated in 1974 with a degree in Zoology, no money, no car, and a bicycle. I went to work as a welder in a trailer factory and ended up as VP of Manufacturing 17 years later. I would reccommend that this little boy get a job, any job and work hard for about twenty years and see where you end up. He gets no sympathy from me.

112 posted on 10/27/2007 4:55:31 AM PDT by tom paine 2
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To: Hattie
So how does “work” compromise your integrity?

I made the same point in an earlier thread.

This is were the rubber meets the road, this cry baby puke doesn't understand the concept of work or the concept of integrity.

His concept of "work" is based on what he can do for society rather than the traditional concept of trading your skills, labor for wages

It's clear his concept of integrity is tied into his personal political belief system rather than his personal moral character.

Maybe that's the underlining base line physiological disorder known as of BDS

113 posted on 10/27/2007 5:13:45 AM PDT by Popman
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To: Will_Zurmacht

I had five semesters of history in college because it was that good (would’ve taken six of it, but all of my electives could not be in the same subject so I took sociology instead, which was boring).

My main history professor is now kind of famous. He’s written some books and I’ve seen him on C-Span a couple of times. One time in class, he started out by saying, “The following is the most financially valuable thing you will learn in this class: Don’t buy on credit!”

After explaining that “financially valuable” is not the same as valuable, he proceded to plow through the motions and debates in various colonial assemblies leading up to the Declaration of Independence. He was right about the valuable part, but he was also right about “Don’t buy on credit.”

My point in this is the young man complaining about being in debt for $32k. He should have paid his way, or he should be willing to get a regular job to pay off his debt instead of whining about it. We don’t need another daggone government program to pay people who aren’t willing to work.

For my part, I’ve long forgotten the names of the non-famous local colonial representatives who voted to break away from England, but I’m glad that I was able to study that. It made watching “The Patriot” much more fun.

114 posted on 10/27/2007 5:26:56 AM PDT by advance_copy
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To: VA Voter

Dear Ken,

When you finally find this thread you will discover a wealth of good, solid advice amongst all the well deserved abuse. You can turn away from it and feel even more sorry for yourself or you can embrace it and get on with the rest of your life.

My recommendation is to move out of your parents house immediately (within a few days of reading this)and don’t ever move back. Don’t accept invitations for dinner more than once a month. Moving out is actually the hardest part of the bromide.

Put one foot in front of the other, get a job, any job, find a good woman, make babies and over time all your current angst will seem like nothing more than a distant dream.

Good luck,

115 posted on 10/27/2007 5:31:47 AM PDT by VA Voter
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To: Seruzawa
Imagine believing that a liberal arts degree in history would make one ready to make huge benefits in other people’s lives.

This whole article sounds like the author missed the period from 1917 to 1989, and what happened to all the angry young idealists like him who were going to change the world one way or another.

116 posted on 10/27/2007 5:44:07 AM PDT by Hardastarboard ( is an internet hate site.)
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To: maine-iac7

Yes! This is a truly brilliant idea and I wish the U.S. would adopt something similar in our educational system. Not everyone is college material. Why don’t our schools do testing early in middle school years to find out if someone would be better suited attending a technical/vocational type school. Our daughter recently married a young man who is Swiss. He told us that they are tested to find out what type of job best suits their interests and personality types and then are either directed toward votech or college during the course of their education. He worked at a bank during his high school years, later got a college degree and today works as a CPA for Price Waterhouse Coopers. This approach makes so much more sense to me.

117 posted on 10/27/2007 5:51:20 AM PDT by Bahama Mama (FReeper in Paradise)
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To: VA Voter
Good grief. Thirty years ago I faced similar situation, except I was 28, married and had a baby on the way. Wife and I had accumulated college bills. Undergrad degree in physics wasn't very useful in the job market at that time. But it never occurred to me that other fellow citizens should assume the burden of my choices. Financially, things worked out fine. Had to live in low rent digs, and work lots of overtime for a while, but not so hard.

Society now is breeding a generation of helpless wimps.

118 posted on 10/27/2007 6:31:41 AM PDT by GregoryFul (is a bear a bomb in a bull?)
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To: VA Voter

Ken, you’re an idiot and I am certain you are a liberal democrat.

119 posted on 10/27/2007 8:09:24 AM PDT by enough_idiocy (
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To: VA Voter

Hey, I have a friend with a “pottery” degree. We both have the same job, and she feels that she should make more than me just because she has that degree.

120 posted on 10/27/2007 8:11:37 AM PDT by GOP_Lady
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