after seeing all the recent comments in the blog world about student loan debt, much of it stemming from this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/04/your-money/04money.html/?src=ISMR_AP_LO_MST_FB and others like it, I feel the need to comment on student loan debt.
It's no secret that I have lots of student loan debt from undergrad, and that said debt has been in deferment since I graduated in 2006, because I've been in grad school the whole time. Some of that debt is in federal loans, and some is private. I also had a half tuition scholarship for all four years I was at BU. Even with that, the amount of loan debt I incurred is staggering/appalling/what have you.
Many people have posted wondering about how students could be as naive to not realize what they were getting into and other such things, and my response to that is: I certainly didn't think about it. It didn't occur to me that the debt I was getting into was going to affect my ability to buy a house one day, or that I'd probably be paying it off until I was 60 (yikes). Because I was at a school where that kind of student loan debt was common!
I find it a little disturbing that an undergraduate education in the USA could possibly cost as much as it does. I know that I chose to go to a private school instead of a state school, and I made that decision knowing that I would be going into debt. But I made the choice willingly, to leave Arizona because I thought I'd have better opportunities available to me by going to school in the East, in a big city, and I don't regret it. I'd even argue that I was right. I was a National Merit scholar - a program designed essentially to give kids from areas with not-so-great schools who excel on the PSATs the opportunity to go elsewhere for college, and I took advantage of it (hence, the scholarship) - but even with that, my loan debt is high. If you didn't have that scholarship, it would be RIDICULOUS to get a degree at BU or somewhere like it.
I guess the bottom line is, I don't know how much you can blame these kids who are 17 years old for going to the best college they can get into, even if they incur debt to do it. We all grew up thinking that that was the way to do it, right? And even if kids do understand that they are taking out loans and getting into debt, I don't think that an 18 year old just graduating high school who has never paid rent/bought groceries, even if they did pay for other things in high school, can understand what they are doing when they sign on the line for those loans. Maybe we need to make more "financial understanding" type classes mandatory in high school - I think that would at least be a start.
Also stolen from both Anna and Secret Society of List Addicts...
BAD DECISIONS I HABITUALLY MAKE
BAD DECISIONS I HABITUALLY MAKE
- Drinking WAY too much coffee. Well, this one is a given if you know me, but I continually think "Oh, I know I can't usually drink this much coffee without my hands getting all shaky and getting all twitchy, but I'm sure it will be fine THIS time...." right. A close relative of this is Drinking Caffeine after 4PM (I'm sure this time it won't keep me up at night!).
- Wearing uncomfortable shoes when I'll be walking around. I'm getting better about this as I get older, and in general I am just plain not BUYING shoes that aren't comfy.... but it still happens.
- Not drinking water during the day. Accentuates the effects of all the coffee I drink (aka, shakiness), and its just plain not good for you.
- Thinking "I'll just do that reading this weekend!" Except then it's the weekend and I don't want to do the reading, because it's the weekend, and I hate doing schoolwork on weekends.
- Carrying WAY too much stuff in my bag for school, including all the reading I'm going to do after my class (right, because that happens, I don't just go hang out with my friends for lunch), and then I'm just dragging around a laptop bag that's probably like 30 pounds and rubs my jeans the wrong way on one side and makes them get all messed up.
- Not putting gas in the car. I see it getting close to where the light will turn on and think "Oh I'll get gas tonight!" and then I end up sitting in 45 minutes of traffic and the light turns on, and then there's construction by my house and I don't want to sit in even MORE traffic to get gas, so we end up trying to get it at 7:30am before we stop for coffee and battling traffic then too. And inevitably, every time I wait to get gas, it's pouring rain the next morning when we stop. And while Chris is a gentleman and gets out in the rain and pumps gas...it was all avoidable.
following Anna's lead, and stolen from Secret Society of List Addicts... things that I do now, at 26, that my 16 year old self would probably not like, or at least be very surprised by:
- using the air conditioning in my car! that's a weird one, I know, but I didn't have AC in my car in high school (yes, in Arizona), and I didn't care. I thought it was a waste of gas to use AC. Even after I got Tito (my beloved car) I only used the AC when Cheryl and I didn't have AC in our apartments and it was 90 degrees out and humid and we would drive around solely to sit in the air conditioning.
- just like Anna...eating tomatoes!! I hated them too. Now I'm not QUITE at the level of putting them in everything, but I am not anti-tomato anymore.
- watching so much tv. I didn't really watch television in high school, and now I'm addicted. It all started with digital cable... once I could see what was on, I started watching it!
- I also didn't drink at 16. I don't drink much now either, but I will say that my 16 year old self would be slightly appalled by some of my college (and just post college) antics - bar crawls, staying out all night, on occasion making out with boys when I didn't know their last names and met them walking down the street... I was much more "wild" in college than my 16 year old self would ever have imagined. Though my college friends reading this are probably laughing because I am still so lame in comparison to most!
I'm trying a new blog thing that I read about elsewhere - #Friday5! Every week there's a different topic. This week?
5 most thought provoking films.
- Schindler's List - isn't that one a given?
- Inception - I really liked this one. I thought a lot about the idea that you could implant ideas in other people's minds, invade their dreams, etc. - I think in some ways advertising does that anyway.
- The Butterfly Effect - I know, I know. It's kind of dumb. But again, I find the idea behind it fascinating - one action can change your future, and the future of the people around you?
- Fight Club. I actually need to watch this one again, since I've read the book now (for a college class, awesome. and yes, it's been THAT long since I watched Fight Club.)
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - similar idea to Inception AND The Butterfly Effect. Evidently, I have a theme going :)
that's really all i have to say about that particular fact. it means that my life is now 300 times busier than it was 2 weeks ago, but i knew it was coming. KNOWING, however, doesn't mean i LIKE it.
it's also occurred to me that, if i get the kind of job that i want, this will at long last be my last school year start....yikes.
what i do have for you, though, are some thoughts for the new undergrads who just arrived on campus (many of them can apply to life in general too i think):
- there's a 95% chance that, if you were given written instructions on how to do something/set something up, the answer to your question can be found in said handout. that's not always true (which is why i left 5% wiggle room), but i don't write the instructions for fun. i am mainly trying to avoid being asked the same question 85 times. and guess what? when it's IN the handout and you still ask? you look like an idiot.
- yes, this is how much textbooks cost. yes, we know it sucks. we have all had to pay for them. talk to the publishers about changing it. until then, there's not much we can do.
- if you need to hand in a letter from athletics so that you're excused from class when you have games, you should attach your game schedule to said letter. funnily enough, all of the girls have figured this out. the boys have to turn in the schedule later (in fact, they still haven't.) not sure what i'm trying to say about gender differences here, but just throwing that out there.
- last, and certainly not least, this is my yearly reminder that TIGHTS ARE NOT PANTS. NEITHER ARE LEGGINGS. they are both made for wearing with things that are just slightly too short to be worn without leggings/tights. that means that any top that you wear with them must at the very least cover your ass. if not... YOU AREN'T WEARING ANY BOTTOMS. YOUR ASS IS HANGING OUT IN AN INAPPROPRIATE FASHION.
- mind you, this is a yearly reminder because it continues to be an issue. i wore some very short skirts when i was younger, probably with some inappropriately high heels for said skirts.. but i always.wore.bottoms.
- this also can be translated to "if you are wearing a skirt that is SO short that random individuals who see you on the street wonder how you possibly sit down in that (answer: you don't), you need to wear tights or leggings or your ass is ALSO hanging out."