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Sarah Fader Headshot

Dear Sallie Mae

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Dear Sallie Mae,

I would like to thank you for lending me a massive amount of money so that I could get a higher education. I wouldn't trade my time at New York University's Gallatin School for anything. It was an incomparable education where I learned a great deal about Plato, Kant and Nietzsche. I'm aware that choosing philosophy as a major wasn't going to make me into a business tycoon, but nevertheless I chose to pursue what I had a passion for.

Four years passed and I was out of school and ready to find a job. My twenties were a time of exploration. I tried out different jobs including publishing, banking and teaching, just to name a few. It was not an easy time by any means. But, then again, there is a distinct lack of career guidance offered to American high school students and even less vocational advice provided to undergraduate college students.

Anyway, now I'm in my thirties, and I finally figured out what I want to do with my life. I'm working as a professional writer and raising two children. Now, as you may be aware, writers don't make a lot of money. In fact, many of us are starving artists. I'm not saying that my career choice is your fault. I'm just telling you about my life so that we can get on the same page.

Writing doesn't pay the bills; this we know. So, in addition to my side gig of working as a substitute teacher, I am also sending out resumes to a variety of companies in the hopes of securing full-time employment. However, as you may be aware, the American economy is rough right now. There are no jobs. I am competing with people in their twenties for entry level positions that I am overqualified for. It's disheartening to say the least.

At this point, I'm willing to take just about any job. I would totally work in a grocery store. However, Trader Joe's refuses to hire me because I can't work nights. I have to take care of my children too.

The point is I'm trying, I really am. But I'm having difficulty putting food on the table and paying my bills.

So when you refuse to accept the fact that I cannot pay you $220 per month, it's frustrating to me. When you offer no alternative options and simply demand that I pay you, I am at a loss for words. You see, I'm seriously considering applying for food stamps. With that in mind, do you think it's reasonable for you to ask me for $220 a month?

Listen, it was great when you offered me the interest only option. I could handle paying $123 a month. But then you abruptly took that payment plan away without notifying me. That's unprofessional and foolish.

So, I'm sorry I called one of your supervisors an asshole. But he kept demanding money that I clearly do not have. He wasn't hearing me and I was frustrated. I told him I was considering going down and applying for government assistance and he simply told me that this was a debt I had to pay. So I asked him if he had kids. He replied: "Ma'am, I don't want to get into my personal life."

Well, he was certainly interested in my personal financial life. He kept asking if there was any way I could pay your company. He wanted to know all about my family and how much I paid for every single one of my expenses. I think that's pretty personal.

So thanks for nothing, Sallie Mae.

I hope someone reports you to the Better Business Bureau.

Sarah Fader