I've been an advocate for the indentured educated class for well over a year, and February 2011 will mark the two-year anniversary.
At first, only the student debtors themselves wrote to me about their feelings of hopelessness, about their daily struggles, and their inability to find a decent paying job. When these debtors spoke of their frustration, they would say that they did what they were told to do, i.e., go to school. "Ever since I was a young kid, I was told by everyone that higher education was valuable," one debtor said to me.
I continue to receive despairing messages from debtors. In fact, the number of debtors writing to me has increased precipitously over the past few months.
After several months of advocating, however, the student loan debtors were no longer the only ones reaching out to me. Suddenly parents and grandparents began to write to me about their sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, who are all drowning in student loan debt. These messages are the hardest to read, and this particular note from a mother whom I am well acquainted with exemplifies their desperate tone.
In this particular tale, the young man's hopes -- let's call him "R" -- were dashed recently, and his mother wrote to vent about it.
He was informed that he will never be able to be of service to the United States as a meteorologist. An Air Force Squadron Commander who came to visit him at his lousy job as a sack boy at a grocery store told him not to bother applying for meteorology jobs. Why will he never have the opportunity to pursue this career, a career he spent years studying for in college? Well, he can thank his student loan sharks and that brutal, predatory system. So he spent all this time in school and for nothing.
Here's what R's mother wrote:
I had to email you today. I feel helpless, but I need to chat and only you understand.
You will remember my son, who has the degree in meteorology. We have been trying since his graduation in 2007 to find him a job. If you recall, the United States Air Force turned him away (although he got a 98 on his entrance exam, and he would have entered as an officer because of his degree) because of his student loan debt.
Well today a friend of my son's (who is also a meteorologist) had his Air Force Squadron Commander look him up at his grocery store job. R said he was very nice, but very honest too. He told R that he can quit applying for anything related to meteorology jobs in the Air Force, even as a civilian. Incidentally, meteorology jobs all are linked to the Air Force. Because he will be taken out of the list of possibles every time. Why is this the case? He has too much student loan debt.
R worked so hard for his degree. There was frustration and doubt, worry and fears that he wouldn't get through it. But he did, and he proudly walked across that stage to receive that worthless piece of paper. I know with this recent personal visit [from the Air Force Squadron Commander] that R will give up. He will see this as the final horrible truth the he will have to live with. And I don't know if he is strong enough to do that.
He has gastroparesis and ulcers of the stomach now. He barely eats and has very few friends. And maybe he will go to a bar and watch football, but otherwise my 27 year old is always home and hibernating in his basement apartment (our house). I am sorry. I just needed to vent.
This United States of America is a free country all right. Free to crush your fellow man. Free to make the rules up as you go. Free to treat the poor like paupers, the rich like royalty, and the middle class like slaves. Slavery didn't cease to exist, it only switched to a different class of people. The future is not good. Our children and grandchildren will be slaves to the rich.
This will never stop unless we die or can't take anymore and kill ourselves. I see the country as money driven and on a spiral to complete destruction, and it won't be but another 25-30 years before the only people existing will be the royalty and its slaves. College has become just a business to feed the ones at the top of the food chain.
I was concerned about R's devastation and his mothers concerns about what might happen to him after this conversation. Immediately, I wrote her back and told her that if R were contemplating suicide to seek medical help (I've written on the topic of suicide before, and that post continues to receive responses from people). R's mother replied reassuringly to let me know that her son would be fine. Unfortunately, that is not the case for other student loan debtors who lack a support system. I hope that my mission will result in a positive and long-lasting outcome for every single indentured educated soul. I want you to know that your suffering is not in vain.
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