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View Diary: "F*** You. I'm Gen Y, and I Don't Feel Special or Entitled, Just Poor" (209 comments)

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  •  I'm so glad that you waited until (9+ / 0-)

    you knew your barista's major in college before you passed judgement on an entire generation.  That shows some real keen powers of observation.

    Governments care only as much as their citizens force them to care. Nothing changes unless we change -- George Monbiot.

    by Nulwee on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 08:35:04 AM PDT

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    •  She brought it up.. (4+ / 0-)

      she was very proud when she graduated and rightfully so.  I don't have a master's degree in a damn thing so I was both impressed and excited for her.

      I just don't understand why, with no job prospects or requirements to pursue that kind of degree, why she would sink TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars (NONE of which she had) to go get it.

      She got her masters over a year ago now (I have no idea when she graduated from under-grad).... she's still working in the same coffee shop.

      I just don't understand it.  I have no idea how her barista paycheck covers her student loans.  Why would someone incur this kind of debt?

      If you had a friend or relative that made $35k a year and went out and bought a Ferrari because their greatest passion was a limitless love and appreciation of high-performance vehicles you'd think they were irresponsible at best and an utter fucking buffoon at worst.  No one is disputing that Ferrari's are great cars.  No one is impugning your friend for revering them.  ...but what fucking sense did it make for a guy making $35k to buy a car with a $3400 monthly payment?  

      Look, I can appreciate academic curiosity.  My wife and I are moving across country soon to a city with a renown university. Once we get settled, I am seriously considering enrolling to study Philosophy.  I am an IT Executive.  This degree will not relate to my job in the least bit and will cost me THOUSANDS of dollars and many hours out of my already busy life.

      But I want to do it and I think I can afford it.  I've always wanted to study it but it just didn't make sense when I was younger.  I could never afford to go back to school full-time and had other priorities on my time and limited budget to even do it part-time.

      But now, as I near 40, I think I can pull it off and I'm still interested in the subject.  

      This woman is 20-something, with no income, no career, no working spouse, no savings and decides "Now is the perfect time to get a post-graduate degree in Sociology because I want to".

      Okay.... and I bet Ferrari's are fun to drive.

      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

      by Wisper on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 09:01:36 AM PDT

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      •  indentured servitude (0+ / 0-)

        I totally agree with this author.  With the cost of a college education these days, it makes sense to investigate your job prospects before you borrow tens of thousands of dollars.  But then, I was a loan officer for many years, and my job was evaluating whether a person could afford to borrow.  

        We have a daughter that will be going to college next year, and we have figured out a budget for what amount we can afford to pay without taking out student loans.  We have limited her to choices within that budget, unless she earns scholarships for anything above it.  She is free to choose a major that interests her, but I have encouraged her to research starting salaries and prepare a budget based on what she learns, to see if she can support herself.  It's just part of making an informed decision.

        Student loans are nothing but indentured servitude, regardless of what major you choose.

      •  What's not being discussed here is why (6+ / 0-)

        college debt is such a huge problem today.

        When I went to school, the government grants (PELL and BEOG, if I remember right) covered nearly all the cost of tuition and even some of books. Then I just needed to cover housing, food, transportation.

        I did that by working summers and some part time jobs on and off campus.  Loans weren't really ever necessary, but I did take one my fifth year, of only a couple thousand dollars.

        Today the equation has changed. Government assistance and scholarships do not cover the vastly inflated tuition costs, the ridiculous book prices and the desire of many students to live in nice apartments.

        I lived in some conditions which were a slight upgrade to the word "hovel", meaning they were very low end, college rentals with jerk landlords who would make Tea Partiers look like generous saints.  But I did that to be able to afford things - pay as I go, not build up debt.

        So, today, for a variety of reasons, the cost of a college education is beyond reach. During the Reagan era, the focus on government aid was shifted to student loans.  Bob Dole was a huge SallieMae backer and pushed that concept strongly.

        So, NATIONAL POLICY is that college students be in debt with student loans.

        That is about as wrong as wrong can be. We need a huge shift in policy and costs. Students who maintain strong grades in any field should be able to get their undergraduate degree at little to low cost to them.  The government should insure that anyone who does the work can get a college education, particularly in today's competitive world (which is another national policy run amuck - free trade).

        Graduate school?  Well, "because I like it" seems like a luxury to me. yes, perhaps that will be the next great sociologist, but ... there shouldn't be any complaining about massive debt when the job prospects are so low.  Some thinking about the outcomes has to be involved at some point.

        But bottom line, our national policies suck, are wrong, are damaging our nation instead of building it.   That is the fault of Republicans and corporate Democrats.  

        The problem isn't one generation or another.  The problem is that our policies are all wrong. Completely, utterly wrong.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 11:34:15 AM PDT

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        •  No one is disputing this (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Texan, Sparhawk

          Sure.. the world needs to change.  We all want to help change it.  Stipulated.

          But the world today is the one in which we all live.  All of us, including Generation-Y.  So until the Diploma-in-Every-Pot Age dawns in this country it is the job of each individual to make responsible decisions and/or live with the consequences.

          I lament the condition of our social safety net and I am very much moved to see someone's life derailed, with the trickle-down effect splashing over to their families and children, by something out of their control like health care, parental care, child-raising, recessions, etc.

          We can and should do better for our fellow citizens.

          But I have a hard time keeping a straight face much less drumming up heartfelt sympathy for a 24-year old that is complaining about his "crushing debt" when it is school loans he took voluntarily to spend 5 years of prime-earning years paying for a degree in something with a single-digit job placement rate.

          If I borrowed several times my total net worth, while having no job or career to speak of, to invest in swampland in Florida only to find out I lost all my money and started complaining about how unfair it is that I am now trapped in poverty that would make me a moron.

          But if I'm 18 years old (EIGHTEEN!) and I willingly borrow several times my total net worth in inescapable life-time loans with absolutely no career experience or earning prospects in order to spend 4 years not working full-time so I can study DANCE and then complain about how unfair this debt is that makes me what?  an artist?  a victim?  an example of how the country has lost its moorings?

          I'd say maybe its a generational thing and I'm too old to understand, but the fact is that I'm only 2 years older then the guy who wrote the "go fuck yourself" article this diary references and I have to confess that I don't get it.

          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

          by Wisper on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 12:27:13 PM PDT

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          •  Perhaps there should be limits on lending (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk, la urracca

            depending on whether there are any prospects the money can be paid back. If the person has no assets, why are these enormous loans being approved?  

            Because of government guarantees. Otherwise, banks wouldn't do it.

            We need to move tuition payment from lending to government support.  I realize it isn't the situation today, but continuing to have bank loans guaranteed by the government for situations such as you describe is wasteful.

            "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

            by YucatanMan on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 01:42:05 PM PDT

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          •  Sorry nope. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            So what about the STEM people who took out crushing loans to get a job?  Do they deserve scorn too?

            I got a Masters at a private university because I could take it online and work full time at the same time, and I knew as a woman that I needed the piece of paper to get paid what my coworkers got paid.  Oh, and this was the start of the Great Recession and I had just gotten laid off so I needed to be in school to eat.  This was after my first stab at grad school which was paid for by stipend and tuition waiver, but where a mass shooting took place IN MY LECTURE HALL where I would have been the next day.  So after that I said goodbye to the public university, and I didn't even want to do math anymore.  You're right I took on the debt voluntarily.  Guess what?  I am one of those people you hate!  Sure, I can afford the student loans, but just paying rent on a 1 bedroom is about all I can afford.  That's lucky compared to people I know.  That's incredibly lucky.

            If you don't have crushing school debt, well great for you.  But for those of us who got out of school at the wrong time, entered the workforce at the worst possible moment, got sick and couldn't afford care, spent years paying off blood draws or doctor visits, or plain just didn't have your luck, you could have a little more empathy.  I spent a year on crutches at my public paid-for grad school because I didn't have the money for rehab for my knee.  I was lucky.  I could still walk.  I still had food.

            It is not easy out here.  Maybe it is for you, but people are struggling.  I'm not one of them despite my straightened circumstances.  I can still walk.  I have food.  I have shelter.  I have a good job.  I have benefits, and come January 2014, I won't be uninsurable anymore.

            I know people who work 3 jobs to get by.  I'm sure you would say that they should've gone to college, but they had kids and they looked at college costs and they said no.  They work hard, but they're never going to get ahead.  I know people with college degrees who make $30,000, and are grateful because they came from a background where their family made $9000 a year.  I know people who live with their parents rent-free and still struggle to pay loans as they juggle jobs.  I know people who are almost 40 and still want to have kids, but they know that having kids are still a few more years off because they finally got a job that is steady and pays well but they were unemployed for so long that they have debt to clear.  I know teachers who can't teach because we are cutting public education jobs left and right.  I know law school students who can't be lawyers because the law profession collapsed at just the wrong time.  I know people who went into the military because it made economic sense and still are on food stamps.  I know people who were disproportionately affected by the Great Recession.  Who do you know?

            If you thought that overcoming obstacles was so easy, why don't you try helping out someone who has it harder than you do?  A little empathy towards the person who might have gotten something better than a McDonalds or Barnes & Noble job if the economy hadn't crashed so hard would go a long way in proving your humanity.

            •  I have no idea what you are saying "nope" to (0+ / 0-)

              A) Im not passing judgment or overlooking anyone that has had to fight through health-care issues in this medicine-for-profit country caveated with preexisting condition clauses, mile-high deductibles and life-time caps.  I have not said one thing about this in this diary and if you've ever seen me comment elsewhere on this issue you would know that NOTHING you are describing here aligns with my position on the issue.  But this is not a health care diary.

              B) Im not engaging in this silly "I know more poor people than you" bullshit.  For one many of those cases have nothing to do with the topic of this diary, secondly I never said there weren't people struggling (WhoTF would say that?) and lastly, I have plenty of people in my life, family, community and circle of friends that meet most of those categories you list plus a few you didnt (you left out "forced out of retirement after Wall Street flushed away their savings" and "lost their house and are living in their children's spare bedroom embarrassed, bankrupt and without a clue as to how to recover" plus plenty more) but I fail to see the point of this kind of cautionary-tale-checklist.

              C)  You didn't say what you did for a living or what you were studying (Math?) and frankly that's not my business, but if you had school paid by stipend and tuition waiver then that was clearly a good idea to leverage those options to get yourself a degree.  You mention you went back to grad school at the start of a recession when you had no job.... again, I don't understand that but that's your decision based on your own life circumstances and your position within what sounds like an already established career....maybe that made sense for you.  (Although, taking on thousands of dollars in inescapable student loans is obviously not the easiest or most efficient way to "eat", but it sounds like your situation was more complicated then that).

              But this is not at all what we were discussing.  The diary is about a response from a Gen-Y ivy-league professional journalist defending himself against generational labeling all the while, at least to some of us, personally embodying the exact accusations that offend him so much.

              And sure, I'll freely admit that people with STEM degrees that can't find a job have a more compelling argument regarding their plight but their nemesis is the recession not stingy baby boomers who are clinging to wealth, property and employment with their cold bony hands and they are also best poised for recovery once the economy (which btw is hitting EVERYONE as you describe and not singularly persecuting the generation of special snowflakes the 20-30 somethings) turns around.

              But even still, college should be seen as an investment, not 13th grade that you do if you don't have anything else lined up.  If these people went and got an engineering degree thinking their long-term earning potential outweighs the short-term burden of $45,000 in debt they are probably right.  The recession will clearly delay that but their thinking was sound.  

              At the same time the kid that dropped his entire parent's savings account (assuming they had one) and now carries "crushing debt" that he signed up for so he could study Anthropology really shouldn't be surprised that all the big "Anthropology Firms" aren't hiring because long before even the hint of a recession, when we were riding high on the bubble... what kind of "the real world doesn't apply to me" 19 year old actually thought they had good odds on making a decent family-raising living as an anthropologist?  Why not just major in "Wishful Thinking" and call it what it is?   And yeah.. Im sure there any number of exceptions to the "Successful Anthropologist" rule but the point still stands.  Yo Yo Ma makes good money, go ahead and drop another $30k to double-major in "Cello" and no doubt you'll be making big bucks in NO TIME.

              And again... people should be able to study and major in anything they want.  But if folks are going to willingly taking on debt to major in a field with diminishing to non-existent job prospects I'm going to be as unsympathetic as they should be unsurprised that they cant find a job and are drowning in debt.

              Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

              by Wisper on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 03:25:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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