Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's life's illusions I recall...

I'm wondering if anyone else with crippling student loan debt and few or no job prospects finds themselves incredibly nostalgic for times in their life that were distinctly mediocre while they were happening.

For example, I hated high school while I was in it.  Not for any special reason, but for the reasons most people give for not liking high school.  I felt out of place, and I was more focused on getting into college than most of the other students which alienated me somewhat from the "cool" groups.  Between that and the fact that I had to spend almost all of my free time caring for my younger siblings, those did not feel like the best four years of my life.  Nothing unique to complain about, for sure, just the usual growing pains that many college-bound high school students feel.

Well, I remember my high school years as BEYOND PARADISE right now for two simple reasons:  I had a part time job working at the mall that paid almost $10/hour (which would be impossible to get right now), and I had NO DEBT.  Real happiness truly boils down to the divide in the eras in my life:  After debt, and before debt. (B.D.) I don't really count my undergraduate debt.  Although it is not exactly trivial, it was manageable even when I was working as a paralegal.  (God, why did I leave that job?)

I wish I could go back in time and tell my sixteen year old self to avoid graduate school at all costs, no matter what pressures come in the form of college career advisers or parents.  Failing that, I wish I could at least tell myself to lighten up and enjoy high school more, because it is the last time I would enjoy true freedom from the ball and chain of crippling, non-dischargeable debt.


  1. I know exactly what you mean. I look back fondly to the life I had just after high school, when I was living on my own with two roommates, working at a bookstore, and going to school at night (part-time, so I could pay for it in cash). I had no debt, I loved my co-workers, and I actually enjoyed school because I was not digging myself into a hole at the time. I look back less fondly to the time I had the bright idea of going to a big university and then law school. I often wonder what I was looking for. I was perfectly happy with my life at the time, but I assumed people were supposed to invest in higher education to get a good job and a big paycheck. I should have looked around and realized half of the people I worked with at the bookstore had Masters degrees and either hated their field of study or could not find work within same. If only I had a time machine.

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