10.31.2011

Monday Musings


DePaul University: The Culprit of My Student Debt Crisis
In an attempt to further procrastinate from my much dreaded homework, I’ve decided to momentarily let loose the somewhat bitter side of myself;  so please let me indulge on a brief musing about my college debt.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my education, the mind-blows that International Studies provides me, and the moments of existential crises and horrible cynicalness, but is it really worth the debt that I will forever be shackled with?

It’s a well-known fact by now that I want to do humanitarian aid work, preferably right after I graduate next year (brief public service announcement: if you are an NGO looking for an eager redheaded employee willing to travel to war zones, contact me!), but as I surf through job listings, I notice two common themes: low pay and the need for an advanced degree. Sorry, but how the hell does that equate? If all [entry-level] aid working jobs require an advanced degree, how can they pay such a meager salary? Unless I land a well-paying job at a UN agency next year, I’ll likely be making barely enough to cover my student loan payments.

So here is my question: If I am willing to put my life on the line to do aid work (yes, aid workers are killed in the field, just read the newspaper folks), suffer from PTSD and depression while in the field, suffer from even worse culture shock on the rare occasions I'll be in America, and succumb to a life of alcoholism and chain smoking (or at least that is how the documentary Living in Emergency portrays it), then why shouldn’t my education be covered…or at least reduced? Soldiers get their education paid for, and basically aid workers are soldiers, minus the guns and killing. Basically we are weaponless soldiers for peace; so where is our compensation?

A few possible solutions have recently come to my mind:
  1. The U.S. government could help pay for my education so that I can better serve humanity. Could this not be added to the pork barrel spending of the U.S. government? The only caveat of this is that then my name might be attached to America, which at the present time doesn’t quite please me. (If this post ever disappears it is because I decided, in a desperate attempt to get a job, to go against my better judgment and apply to USAID).
  2. I could attend school in Europe (Tu sais, je parle Français!), but it’s a bit too late for that. (Why didn’t I attend the Canadian schools I applied to?!)
  3. The international community (in its best interest, of course) could pay for my college education. Now with 7 billion people in the world, if only the wealthiest 1 million paid a penny, I’m sure that would more than cover my student loan debt.

Seeing as none of these options are all that feasible in my immediate future, I’ll just continue to begrudgingly take out student loans with the vain hope that someday I’ll be able to pay them back.
Now on to reading about nationalism…

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