“Why don’t you get a job?” News Flash: Many students DID in fact have jobs while in college. Full time jobs. Sometimes second jobs. Those jobs only paid for expenses and books, NOT the cost of attending college. I worked 40 hours or more each week during the school year (nearly 80 during the summer), was involved on campus, volunteered, and managed to pull a 4.0 and highest honors. And I’m not alone by any means. If you think that’s “lazy” or “entitled” it’s time to burn your rose-colored nostalgia goggles.
“Why do you think you’re too good for McDonalds or minimum wage?” Finally, this is a generation that was told countless times by our parents, teachers, family members, politicians, bank landers, mentors, and adult family friends that we WERE “too good for McDonalds”. In fact, that’s why we were told college was a required passage in life as opposed to one of many paths. College was, as our adults so wonderfully put it, a counter to the “Do you want to flip burgers your entire life!?” accusation lobbied every time we made a mistake or produced a less than ideal grade.
We were told that student loan debt was “good debt”; it showed an investment into our futures, an investment that would most surely pay off, because it’s not as if our wise, money smart elders would ever elect people into power that, over decades, would empower business owners to eliminate both blue and white collar jobs at the expense of profits, bonuses, and shareholders, AMIRITE?
We were not the people who drove the cost of higher education absurdly high. We were not the ones who slapped a “Bachelors Degree required/ Masters preferred” sticker on every mundane office job, and still refused to pay a decent living wage. We were not the ones that decided that unlike other forms of “good debt”, student loans were unforgivable in a federal court. Apparently, the Amurrican Dream and the failure of such only applies to the individuals that want land and cars and other tangible commodities, as opposed to the imparting of knowledge and self-worth by an educational system that is increasingly resembling a commodity itself.
And now, as we struggle against defaulting on our loans, we are chastized for not seeking the jobs that we were told were “below us”-which is not only a classist sentiment, but an ignorant one. I have sought those jobs, and I am constantly rejected for being “overqualified”, as few employers (and rightly so) want to spend the time and money training an employee that they feel will jump ship at the next available opportunity, leaving holes in schedules and drops in productivity.
Once again, the self-righteous stand back to mock the ones they feel are less than themselves; only this time the “less thans” are their children, nieces, nephews, etc. Fuck you. I may have made a poor choice or two, but I do not hold all the blame. If you can get bailed out for your McMansions and stocks, you can at least understand the plight of students you helped drive into this mess.