Student Debt: The Death of The American Dream

When you wake up with a college degree and no savings, people might say you're on your way to a future or that you don't have one.

I am a proud graduate of Ohio University, conferred this Spring. BFA in Theater Performance, Minor in Journalism. I loved my college, my friends and the teachers who guided me through. What I did not love, what I in fact loathed was the bureaucracy.

In today's America twenty-somethings fresh out of college are offered two things: 1. Crippling debt and 2. The existential woe of not knowing if their degree was worth that debt.

Seriously, you're asking me for money now?

People whine about this all the time, but to really understand what it's like, take it from a 22 year old buried under more than 50, 000 dollars of it.

We must put a face to our debt. We're not just numbers on a screen. We're people, and we're dragging our loans behind us. They're getting heavier and heavier every day.

College is necessary.

But is it necessary to enter into indentured servitude to pay for it?

Money should not dictate who gets a "future" and who is left behind.

Over 40 Million Americans currently hold student debt.Corporations can file for bankruptcy after failure to pay back their debts...student borrowers can't.

The moral question is: is that fair?

And just like those sleazy car salesmen people make fun of on TV, your loan officer or FAFSA representative will look you in the eye and say, "You need college, you need these loans. There's no other way! Drive your future off the lot today."

Some say that college is priceless, the best years of your life. Now I know that people put a price on everything. Your books, your dorm, your food, your classes, they all cost something. And when you're living off the refunds from your student loans, your life starts to cost you more and more money. Just buying groceries makes your student debt skyrocket. Everything.

These thoughts find me when I'm sitting on the subway into work. I think about my student loans and my "number" all the time.

How much was my education worth?

It was priceless,

As I sit in my sub-letted living room in Brooklyn, New York, fresh out of college, my phone rings. It's Ohio U, asking for a donation. I let it go to voicemail, and keep on typing. I stand up, and think:

"Does all of this prove that the American Dream is really dead? Or is this the necessary cycle of debt that we signed up for when we were told we had to go to college?"

Do you have student debt? What's your number?

The good ship sails on: Musician, Artist, Writer, Poet, Actress Follow me on Twitter: @TessStevens My Music: www.soundcloud.com/TessStevens Vingle.net/TessStevens
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