Skip to comments.Student debt limits who we become (You won't believe this naive cry-baby)
Posted on 10/26/2007 6:49:11 PM PDT by VA Voter
I am 24, live with my parents, cant find work and am floundering in a sea of debt five figures high. I think of myself as ambitious, independent and hardworking. Now Im 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 peoples 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 didnt seem nearly as degrading as selling out. But sadly, other graduates dont have any choice but to work for temp agencies and retail stores to eke by.
Thats the tragedy of student debt: it doesnt just limit what we do, but who we become. Forget volunteering. Forget traveling. Forget trying to improve your country, or yourself. Youve got bills to pay, young man.
Unfortunately, the recent passage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act doesnt portend that times are a-changin. The act reduces interest rates on Stafford Loans and increases Pell Grant awards. Whoopty-do.
Theres no question that this is a step forward. But were still talking pennies and nickels when we need to completely revolutionize the governments 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 cant wait much longer, and soon I must leave home to find work that doesnt 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, Ill take my history major, my debt and my moms cooking any day of the week.
Ken Ilgunas, who lives in Niagara Falls, fears college is becoming unaffordable for most Americans.
College ain’t what it’s cracked up to be. But it gets more expensive every year.
He should have majored in Philosophy.
And just what's wrong with working as a philosopher?
We are all created equal. After that it is every man/woman for himself! ESAD jerk!
That reminds me of an old Saturday Night Live parody of Sarsky and Hutch called "Sartesky and Hutch." Sartesky (played by Akroyd)was the Police Department philosopher. It was a hellaciously funny skit!!
I can identify with this. After paying for a $60000 law school education (a bargain, especially considering I had no undergrad debt) and finding out that law was a complete waste of time and made no real difference in anyone’s life, I looked around at the jobs I really wanted and that would make a difference. I literally could not afford to take them. Luckily, through a friend of mine, I got a job as a director of volunteers at a local hospice. I got a much higher salary than the lady before me, but at $460 a month in education bills, I am still just barely making ends meet and struggling to save for retirement.
The author is right in that young people go to college and take out loans thinking “I can pay it back when I get a real job.” A couple of problems persist with this— 1) there are not that many “white collar” jobs out there for new grads especially— even in the legal market, it is very difficult for new lawyers to find a job and they will be luckily to crack $40K if they can find one, and 2) most young people are living in dorms with parental allowances when they are making these decisions. Few understand how many bills there are in real life that you are not worrying about in college. e.g. health insurance, car insurance, renters insurance, heat, water, etc etc. It doesn’t take long to eat up a paycheck.
PS— as a caveat to my previous post, might I add that this guy IS a total liberal whiner, but I do see this as an ongoing ordeal for many new graduates. ;-)
Having prosecuted over 3000 felonies, I can assure you I've "made a difference" in many peoples lives.
My guess is this story is a parody or a joke of some kind.
There are some jobs he might consider, however; that would massage his work ethic and ego at the same time.
Would suggest he call the Democratic Party. . .they can always use someone like Ken. . .or just go to a public school - preferably one he can walk to. . .and get a job teaching. They will love him for his sacrifice; and as well, his great contributions.
Surely he cannot consider either of those jobs; a 'sell-out' of his principles; and he need not give up his old bedroom - or Mom's cooking for that matter.
(He should consider however, replacing the old 'Super-Mario fan' with one that spins an updated Spider Man.)
Expecting others to pay for you "liberal arts" degree in history reduces your integrity to near zero to begin with.
He might have to submit to the random urine test once in a while also.
Having prosecuted over 3000 felonies, I can assure you I've "made a difference" in many peoples lives.
No more than wannabe 'loser speak'. . .from this whining; insufferable Lib twit.
It would seem he's already trained for his future career. Now he needs to get back to it. A history major, what a waste.
College is great if you pick a degree that actually gets you a well paying job. You pick your major based on being able to get a job.
I switched majors when I was going to college in the 80s from chemical engineering to computer science. Chem E’s weren’t getting job offers but CS majors were. It was a smart move back then.
Look at the job market, and then pick your major.
My niece graduated from college a few years ago with some sort of telecommunications degree. She’s only 25, and she just bought a house. She’s already making over $80K a year.
She just got an undergraduate degree from Texas A&M.
Then there’s my other niece who got a marketing degree from A&M. She got a job for about $30K, and her parents and fiance have had to help her out.
Get a degree based on the job market. See how much you want to make and what kinds of jobs will provide that job. Then go for the degree.
Try leaving Niagara Falls and going where the jobs are. The Falls was dead when I left in 1977, and has only decayed since then.
So your History degree isn't opening doors for you? I knew that would happen when I was 16. I loved History, still do, but I majored in Chemistry. Then I found out what jobs were available for BS Chem, and switched to Chemical Engineering. Never looked back.
It’s his own fault because:
1. If you can’t get a job in the field, get a degree in a field that you can earn a living in or find a way to get a job with the degree.
2. You don’t need a college degree to get educated. Sit in the library and read all the books.
3. This guy needed input on how stay focused in school and finish fast - and not run up debt.
4. Dave Ramsey program desperately needed - if you didn’t take all the spring break trips, you wouldn’t have a 5 digit debt.
Take down the fan.
You're also stupid.
I worked my way through college and post-graduate school. My father was dead; he had been a blue collar worker. My mother was a school teacher. I graduated with NO DEBT--ZERO! I didn't go to a pricy private school, though I was accepted. I went to the community college and the state universities. I worked after school, on holidays, and on weekends. I didn't have two nickels to rub together. This went on for years and years. I have never been in debt. I am not now either.
I was a millionaire by the time I was 40, a miltimillionaire by 45.
I set up a scholarship program for indigent people. I have no idea how many people I helped educate.
The reason I was so successful is this:
I DIDN'T DEPENT ON ANYBODY FOR A HANDOUT. AND I DIDN'T GO INTO DEBT. AND I DIDN'T WHINE ABOUT THE HARDSHIPS OF LIFE OR EARNING A LIVING!"This society" is not unfair--as you claim it is. And your self-pitying whining speaks volumes about you.
THE SAME SELF-RELIANCE MADE ME SUCCESSFUL.
THIS IS THE GREATEST AND THE MOST JUST NATION THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN!
IT IS THE LAND OF OPPORTUNITY.
MILLIONS OF PEOPLE ARE FLOCKING TO THE U.S.A. AND HAVE THROUGHOUT ITS HISTORY!
YOU ARE VERY FOOLISH!
DON'T TRY TO "MAKE A PROFOUND DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLE'S LIVES." YOU--OF ALL PEOPLE--SHOULD NOT BE GIVING OUT ADVICE OR TRYING TO INFLUENCE OTHER PEOPLE. YOU CAN'T EVEN TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF--BY YOUR OWN PATHETIC ADMISSION. TRY TO BECOME SELF-RELIANT. MOST PEOPLE CAN TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES. MAYBE YOU CAN TOO IF YOU STOP FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF AND GET TO WORK.
I DON'T FEEL SORRY FOR YOU ONE BIT.
The "tragedy of student debt"--as you so self-pityingly phrase it--is stupidity.
THIS IS THE ONLY INTELLIGENT THING YOU HAVE SAID:
"Forget volunteering. Forget traveling. Forget trying to improve your country, or yourself. Youve got bills to pay, young man."
This is very stupid:
"without help, a college education is...a privilege of the affluent."BALONEY! My life is proof of the stupidity of what you have said.
"Ill take my history major, my debt and my moms cooking any day of the week."So??? You've got 'em. What are you complaining about?
MAYBE YOU'RE JUST STUPID.
Or the Air Force.
I got a history degree, just like this bozo. The only difference is that I had real jobs. I taught in school, and taught martial arts on the side.
But I gave them up to put in a couple of years of service in the world’s finest Air Force. I didn’t even realize that they’ll knock off about 10 grand of college loans. Or that you can get another Associate’s degree from training. Or that you can get a Master’s degree for free while active.
This goober could do the same. But that would require discipline and sacrifice. Whining in the paper is much more to his liking. Doesn’t require sweat, or hard work.