A Call to Arms

16 Nov

I have a topic in mind that I want to write about (which I likely will not actually get to) but first I would like to share with you all a little snippet of an email I received from my student loan provider, an organization that I not-so-lovingly call Numbnut (actual name, Nelnet). And, honestly, you should read that thing I linked to because it’s a letter I wrote to Numbnut awhile back and I just reread it and it was good, actually. Probably better than this post is going to be to be entirely honest with you. Maybe just skip this one and read the other one, unless of course you want to know what the real topic is that I plan on writing about (hint: the topic is The Duggars and I am totally not ever going to get to it). Anyway, so let me say the thing about Numbnut so we can move on (we will never move on). So recently I have been in a financial, how should I put it, bind. I mean, it’s not so bad but I could really use a new pair of running shoes and I have to take my cats to the vet and neither of those things seem likely to occur in the immediate future. And you know who I am blaming for this? You got it, Numbnut and the entire fucking student loan racket. Also, the US Government. Seriously you guys, I know that having a piece of paper saying I can do things is awesome, but going back to school was probably the worst financial decision I have ever made in my entire life. Invest in your future, they said. There will be jobs when you’re finished. Well here’s what I have to say to this all-knowing group of anonymous soothsayers:

Go fuck yourselves.

Seriously. I mean, hey, you know what’s a good fucking idea? Let’s take a whole bunch of people out of the workforce now to try and cushion our employment numbers and then dump them back a few years from now once all this nonsense is over and then, and then, we will take everything they have in the form of unethically-high interest rates on government bought, owned and then sold loans. A bunch of thieves, I tell you. I will happily pay my goddamn loans back when the interest on my savings account gets anywhere in the neighborhood of 6.8%. I’m not asking for much. A clean 3% would be nice. Off-topic again. Sorry.

Anyway, so I got this email from Numbnut that, among other little bits of wisdom, contained the following sentence:

“If you’re in repayment, we’ll do everything we can to help your loan payment fit comfortably into your budget and make repayment as easy as possible.”

Um, you’re lying. You will not do everything you can, Numbnut. So this is what pisses me off. I had this conversation with my dad a few weeks ago (have you noticed that I am basically always having conversations with my dad? He is like FranklyRebekah famous, if that is even a thing.)  And in the conversation which my dad instigated because he became focused on my student loans (he focuses on things, it’s great), we determined that because so many people can’t find jobs and therefore cannot afford to pay their loans back people like me who bust their balls to uphold their end of the bargain end up being chumps. (Yes, my father actually called me a chump. And he was SO right.) Like, when this whole thing blows up and the country faces yet another financial catastrophe, am I going to get a medal that says

“Wow, Rebekah, you’re really swell! Sorry you just flushed all that money you didn’t actually have down the toilet!”

No, no I am not. I am going to get nothing but the feeling that I was taken for an extremely expensive ride. And all because I am a total stressball when it comes to money and like obsessively need to pay things back regardless of the amount of pressure it puts on my life. So here’s the thing. I do autodebit for my loans. Why? Because every time I look at my loans, and the dollar equivalent of 6.8%, I fly into a rage. So I find it best to just let the money go quietly out of my account without me really having to actually face it. Avoidance is the only way forward. But the thing is that Numbnut will not allow me to autopay anything other than the monthly payment, despite the fact that my anxiety means that I am more than a year ahead of my loans. I don’t actually owe anything until this time next year. So can I pay less monthly, just to keep the interest from mounting? Nope, sure can’t! I have to go onto the Numbnut site and transfer the money from my bank which, as I mentioned before, throws me into a blind rage.

Breath, Rebekah.

You know what the thing is? With the interest rate where it is, and potentially going up (thanks Republicans! You cats are AWESOME!), there is actually no way for this shit to “fit comfortably into my (or most other people’s) budget.” You know what I do for a living? I serve drinks. And spend a lot of time writing for free on the internet.

I guess here’s the thing. I went back to school to feel like I was more qualified to do things. And to be honest, I think I am way more qualified to write for free on the internet than I was before. I might even be qualified to write for money if any of you know anyone who would like to pay me. The thing that going back to school did not give me that I was fairly certain it would was options. Because here is the thing. Sometimes we go through things to teach us what we want to do but also what we don’t want to do. I do not want to work in an office. I do not want to have to deal with nonsense office politics and type-A competitive people and organizations with questionable funding, histories and policies. Those are some of the things that I learned. And I find value in those things. I also learned how to be more self-critical, how to engage more in what is going on around me, how important my values and ethics are and who I want to surround myself with. Those things matter. They make me a better part of my community. All of those things don’t, however, help me pay back my student loans.

But here is the other thing. I am valuable. I, along with a lot of my peers who are also struggling under the weight of their student loans, deserve to get the chance we were told we would get. I know that we took the loans out, but we took the loans out with certain banks and then got cycled through the government and farmed out to other companies without being asked our permission. And meanwhile so many of these large financial organizations are being exposed for the lying cheats that they are. They have been stealing from people for fucking YEARS and now here we are, many of us working in non-profit or the same goddamn jobs we were forced to keep through school in order to make ends meet and we are suffering. We are a resource! We have so much to offer but so many people are taking jobs with companies they don’t believe in so they can pay their loans off. Give us a break. Let us do the good things we went to school for. Let us get out there and make things better.

Or are you too scared? Come on, United States Government, be honest, do we make you nervous?

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