Monday, October 6, 2014

The Loan Rearranger Rides Again

Time for this week's helping of Right-Wing Millennial Shaming(tm) from an unlikely source, TIME Magazine via, as recent college graduate Jessica Slizewski gives her treatise on why those of us who took out student loans in the last ten years or so have only yourself to blame.

I can’t pretend I completely understand how these people feel after the fun is over and the repayments begin, but I can say that I really don’t feel bad for them.

Why not? Because I worked hard to avoid taking out loans. My wonderful parents and grandmother helped me pay for my education, but in the end, it was a few decisions I made that saved me the burden of borrowing money I would never have been able to pay back. Unlike the majority of my friends who went to schools less than an hour from their parents’ homes and chose to live on campus rather than commute, my college roommates were named Mom and Dad. I chose state schools that were half, sometimes one-quarter, of the cost of the schools my friends were attending and worked a part-time on-campus scholarship job in addition to full-time hours at my retail job. I spent the four years of my life designed for partying essentially reliving my high school years. And yes, it was awful.

Imagine the stereotypical American college experience. You pick some private university in the middle of a cornfield with a tuition price of about $36,000 a year, plus room and board, party it up every night since you’ve finally escaped the teenage hellhole known as your family’s home, and stumble into your Symbolism in Harry Potter seminar at 11 a.m. still half-drunk and probably reeking of Icehouse. You join a sorority, get vomit in your hair more times than you’re willing to admit publicly, and spend half the day on whatever flavor-of-the-week social media site the guy you currently like is active on.

Sounds fun — until you realize all this will probably leave you at least $30,000 in the hole upon receiving that diploma. And guess what? Unless you absolutely needed some highly specialized major that was only offered at a few schools, chances are you probably could have gotten your education/accounting/psychology degree at a much more affordable university closer to home. You might have even been able to — gasp — live with your parents.

It seems to me that the real problem is the ridiculous cost of a college education in 2014, and in several states, cuts to state university systems are only making this worse.  The college system we have and the methods we have of paying for it aren't going to survive this generation, I expect.

But the cost of college isn't the fault of the Millenials.  You might not feel bad for this Jessica, but you should.  Like it or not, we're all in this together, and this is badly hurting our economy, including wherever you're employed at.  It's great that you worked your way through college, that takes a lot of discipline.  Apparently however, it took more discipline than you have to realize that it doesn't make you a goddess, nor does it fix the fact that you're still dependent on a bunch of Millennials with huge college debt to power the economy you're a part of going forward.

Of course, the article notes she lives in New Zealand now.  That actually says a lot.

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