Over the last few weeks I have been reading articles related to the whole OWS situation. This article isn't necessarily about the OWS movement,
however it is touching upon one of their main concerns, which is student Debt.
To state my opinion upfront on the issue, I believe that both sides need to change. I agree that gov't subsidies are in turn making tuition more
expensive(why not soak up free money?). I also believe there tends to be a lot of predatory lending in these situations, as young adults are forced
with a choice- try and survive on a highschool diploma(no thanks), or make it big with a new idea, OR take on student debt and earn a higher degree
for the chance at better future job prospects. Both situations come with inherent risks, however I fully understand why people would take the chance
for a better future, even if it means incurring debt. I did.
However, this article really struck a note with me, and Its been stuck in my head since I read it.
Here is the link to the article
Huffington Post: Brittany Baker: Up to my neck in Debt
be a smart idea to read this article first before continuing on mine.
Does any part of this article irk you?
Well it did for me, and here's where it starts-
There are some things you just don't skimp on: ketchup, for instance. Anniversary dinners, toilet paper. In my mind, education was always one of these
splurge-worthy essentials. So despite the very blue-collar upbringing I had (my mother is a bookkeeper and my dad, a truck driver), I enrolled in
Allegheny College, a private, four-year liberal arts school nestled in a small Pennsylvania town of bars and churches.
Now, four years later and $40,000 in debt, I'm still going to school, this time at more urban (i.e. more expensive) private school, Sarah Lawrence. As
if my mounting debt and larger-than-life-interest rates weren't bad enough, I'm going to school for creative nonfiction writing -- a field I've loved
since high school and came to appreciate in undergrad, but which offers little direction or lucrative endeavors after these next two years of grad
The ignorance in this just blew my mind.
1. " In my mind, education was always one of these splurge-worthy essentials."
Ms. Baker is equating the cost of a college to the level of education she would receive. This is just wrong and stupid in my opinion. In my mind, the
only thing that determines the quality of your education is how much work you put into it. You can go to harvard, and have your parents pay/bribe the
entire tuition for you, but that does not guarantee you will come out of that school any smarter than you entered it. What does ? How hard you worked
and what knowledge you've ingrained into your head. I go to a local Community College and spend only 3k a year on tuition to study Computer
Information Technology. And I guarantee I'm coming out of my schooling much more educated and useful than Ms. Baker. Although I will admit, my
creative writing skills may not be as up to par as hers, however when she needs the help of an IT person, I doubt they will accept a creative story as
2. "Now, four years later and $40,000 in debt, I'm still going to school, this time at more urban (i.e. more expensive) private school, Sarah
So, you opted to transfer to an even more expensive school? Again, this just blows my mind. Everyone knows these private "for profit" institutions are
typically the most expensive schools you can go to. So why transfer to an even more expensive school? You KNOW its more expensive. Its your right as a
free person to do so, but I think that takes away your right to complain about the debt your INTENTIONALLY incurring upon yourself. Add in this next
line, and I pretty much lost it.
3."As if my mounting debt and larger-than-life-interest rates weren't bad enough, I'm going to school for creative nonfiction writing -- a field I've
loved since high school and came to appreciate in undergrad, but which offers little direction or lucrative endeavors after these next two years of
So you chose to go from one expensive school, to an even more expensive school, to study "Nonfiction Writing", a field that you admit knowing offers
little in direction or lucrative endeavors after graduation? Am I missing something? Why are you studying such a (worthless) degree at such a
ridiculous cost? I just fail to see how ANY of this made any sense to Ms.Baker. On top of that, she will be going to Graduate school, which is
typically even more expensive. It just seems to me she keeps digging herself into a deeper and deeper hole, and then wants to complain about the
situation her own actions created.
4. " I won a writing award. I cashed in my Roth IRA savings for a plane ticket to Greece, a gamble which helped write my senior thesis."
Okay, so you plan on coming out of college with 80k? potentially in debt. So what do you do? Cash in your roth IRA for a trip to Europe? She could
have just as easily held onto this IRA, and let it continue to accrue interest, which she could then put towards her student debt after graduation.
Was a trip to Greece necessary to do your senior thesis? HARDLY. To me, this sounds more like she is using this to excuse and mask her poor
Dont get me wrong, I would LOVE, absolutely LOVE to travel, especially to Europe. However, I put whatever money I scrape up towards living and school
expenses. Sometimes, you have to do what you HAVE to do, instead of what you WANT to do! Life isnt all about unicorns farts and obama-promises. I
rarely ever go out and enjoy myself because i know in the real sense that I CANNOT afford to pay 400% markup on crap water beer. look, im even writing
this on a saturday night while most of my peers are off getting drunk and feeling up girlies in the club. Would I love to be doing that right now? You
bet. But, at this point in my life, securing my future is much more important to me. I'll probably fall asleep tonight reading my book for my
In Summation: I work my butt off for what I have and where I am. I am delaying my happiness now in the hopes that I will be even happier in the
future. It really pisses me off to see people do easy degrees, and have fun all the time, and then not understand why they aren't getting a 100k job
for some joke degree that everyone else does, because its an easy degree to complete. I hope to have a great paying job someday (will be transferring
after graduation into a BS in cybersecurity next semester!!) This College charges 30k a year in tuition, however, its one of the few colleges in the
US offering CyberSecurity, and it is in association with the state police, FBI, DHS, and secret service. Great internship opportunities. However, Ive
been saving whatever money I can to go towards this tuition. I have not had a vacation in years. I havent gone to a bar in over a year. Im doing all
this hard work and delaying my happiness so that I can afford 30k a year tuition for 2 years. However, I am not doing this so that in the future I can
help subsidize someone else's worthless degree, constant weekend partying, and trips to europe.
PS- to any younger folk reading this, go to a Community college first. You will save money, get better attention from your profs, and be much farther
ahead than your peers by having less student debt!
edit on 11/5/2011 by VonDoomen because: (no reason given)