I graduated from high school in 2002 and went straight to college at the University of Florida. I graduated from UF in 2007 with two degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and a Master of Arts in International Business. I was fortunate to be able to leave UF without any debt, mainly because of Florida's Bright Futures Scholarship Program and some personal savings.
I'd always thought about becoming a lawyer, so I started applying to law schools and chose to attend the University of Miami. At first I hesitated to attend a private institution because of their high tuition rates especially in a city like Miami where life can be expensive, but I'm from South Florida and I wanted to be close to home. I wasn't sure how I would pay for it all so I looked into student loans. The financial aid office at UM was very helpful and was able to help me get the money I needed for tuition and living expenses while in school. I knew I would have to pay the money back eventually, but I thought about the earning potential I would have as a lawyer and didn't think I would have any problems paying those loans back. Unfortunately, my plan didn't involve an economic recession.
Now here I stand three months from graduating, $180,000 in debt and no prospects of a job after graduation. I've started reaching out to everyone I know in hopes of finding something to pay the bills after I graduate, but no luck so far. Every industry has been hit hard; even the legal profession, which was once thought to be recession proof. The recession has made finding a job that much harder because I'm now competing against experienced attorneys who were recently laid off and are also in need of a job. I had originally hoped to have paid off my loans in 10 years, but now I don't know if that will be possible. I know there has been talk in Washington about helping us "student debt-drowners," but I watch politics go on as usual and it leads me to believe that there will be no help for me and the thousands like me. Where's our bailout?
Millions of Americans are struggling to get by and yet Washington seems unwilling and unable to cooperatively work towards helping the American people. I always thought that's what politics were all about. Politicians need to wake up to the fact that most of my generation is willing to cross party lines to vote for someone who will actually work for the people regardless of their party affiliation. So shape up Washington, or we'll find a way to ship you out!
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