We have a moral obligation to not cancel student debt

Hey-o. ‘Tis official – I will be shutting tol’ Galloblog down in a few months (I’m not renewing my plan or my domain this year). What shall I use this blog for in the meantime? To share my unpopular opinions, of course. I’m not the first one to speak on this subject and soytenly not the most eloquent, but.. some of this stuff needs to be said by a young educated female instead of grumpy Bill O’Reilly types. Or maybe not. The 6 people who still read my posts can decide.

So – student debt. It’s out of control. Should we cancel it?

I say no. My main reason for saying this is that it’s simply not fair.

  1. No one is forced to go to a 4 year college
    •  Ever since.. oh let’s say the 80s or 90s, it was kind of assumed that everyone who wasn’t in extreme poverty or had an inkling of intelligence would and should go to college. High schools do try to prepare their students for college and push them to apply. But at the end of the day, no one put a gun to your head and told you that you had to go to college. It’s not as if a government mandate got students in their current position.
  2.  Going to a 4 year college is not necessary for success
    •  On top of that, there are many trades that are very lucrative and in high demand – electrician, welding, plumbing, etc. They may not be glamorous or cushy but they are good options for young people to consider. Dignified options. They may require a tad of debt but it’s much more likely you will get a lucrative job and actually be able to pay it off in a few years, instead of having a lifetime payment that is equivalent to a second mortgage.
  3.  Going to a 4 year expensive college is definitely not necessary for success
    •  I knew from the time I was 16 that I was going to get my PhD. So a trade school wasn’t a good option. Did that mean I needed to go an Ivy League or private school? Nope. I went to a good ol’ state college. I worked ~30 hours for a small business while I was a full-time student. I took advantage of the HOPE scholarship (thank you, Zell Miller!) and kept my grades pristine so that I would stand out to grad schools. I graduated with $0 in debt and I got my PhD at Emory University. While not quite as prestigious as Harvard or MIT, it is very respectable and many PhDs in my program have gone on to get jobs at Stanford, Harvard, etc. I could have gone into debt to pay for a $25k/year college, but it was 100% unnecessary.
  4.  What about people who made sacrifices to pay off their debt already?
    •  Believe it or not, there are people out there who actually lived below their means for a long time to make great strides toward paying off their debt. My sister and boyfriend, for example. 10s of thousands of dollars paid. What about their peers who haven’t made as much progress? Does it make sense for them to suddenly get a write-off? That is completely not fair, unless you’re going to retroactively reimburse everyone who was prudent enough to pay off their debt, which would become absurd. It’s morally repugnant to punish people for being responsible.

 

So what’s the alternative? I’m not sure… but I like the idea of student loan forgiveness programs like the United States military is doing. Maybe the government could offer incentive for businesses to institute similar programs. Or perhaps we could convince businesses to stop insisting that every single job they post require a minimum bachelor’s degree education for jobs that are 95-100% learned on-the-job, anyway. Better yet, maybe we could make the legally required public education actually teach the youts anything useful so that the first two years of college “core” classes in which they cover things like basic writing skills and the 3 branches of government could be done away with, and only the two years of actually major-relevant courses would be required. That would slash loans in half! There are many options, but canceling student debt like Academic Santa Clause is the least moral.

 

30 nuggets of wisdom for 30 years

My 30th birthday is just around the riverbend*, so this Gallowolf would like to cry the wisdom she’s learned to the blue corn moon. Please commit all of these to memory and send me a $30 cashier’s check every time my lil nuggets of wisdom save you from a pickle.** Thank you in advance.

wolf-3022813_1920
A-ooooooooooo

Drums, please!

  1.  You don’t have to date everyone who’s a good person
  2.  Be okay with uncertainty in relationships
  3.  Don’t try to engineer and control any relationship, especially romantic
  4. People don’t owe you affection or attention when you do something nice for them
  5.  Talk to your Grandma like a peer and be ridiculous with your nieces and nephews
  6.  Allow yourself to feel your feels
    feelings
    All legit, y’all.
  7. Don’t let your feels control you
  8.  You’re responsible for your own feelings, but be aware of how you are prone to feel after spending time with any person
  9. Spend time with people who make you feel good
  10. You can forgive people but still protect yourself from bad characters
  11. Most people are schmucky schmuckersons
  12. Celebrate and hold onto the people that aren’t schmucky schmuckersons
    holdon.jpg
    Me holding onto someone great
  13. People who bring exciting drama into your life are also likely to bring a bunch of hurt into your life.
  14. Go to the arts for your dramatic fix
  15. Finding things to laugh at is serious business
  16. The expensive car is *not* worth it
  17. Eating more expensive healthy food *is* worth it
  18. Neglecting your health is not financial prudence– it’s a great strategy to make all your borderline acute health issues full blown chronic health issues
  19. Try to find joy in challenges instead of focusing on the stress
  20. Stop feeling sorry for yourself
  21.  You can be mature and intelligent and still wildly silly
  22. It’s not necessary or wise to trust everyone in a Christian community
  23. Allow yourself to dwell on and obsess about how beautiful something is
  24.  Weighted blankets are heavenly

    babysleeping
    Actual image of my mind when under a weighted blanket
  25.  It’s worth the AC cost to turn down the temp enough to not sweat at night
  26.  Allow yourself to consider you are wrong about everything
  27. Don’t let uncertainty paralyze you
  28.  You don’t have to listen to everyone’s advice, even if they’re great people
  29. Try
  30.  God is bigger and more confusing than you ever imagined

cosmic

 

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*By “just around” I mean in like 2 months. But that’s none of your business!

**Although if a Trader Joe’s kosher dill pickle was after me, I would say “take me now” and swoon at its delicious foot.

7 things (relative) poverty taught me were not essential

 

Many people don’t know this, but almost all PhDs get all their tuition waived and also receive a stipend. A stipend is – 

according to the googlez – 

 

according to C Galloz-

But who am I to bicker over definitions? The point is, I didn’t go into debt and I’m very happy that I was given enough money for my basic needs to be met, but trust me — it was basic. Now that I’m rolling in the fat post-doc g’s, I noticed that I’m starting to spend my money on all these little things. They’re not even “treat yoself” or splurge-y items, just kind of things that most adults would consider basic. But because I lived on the brink of poverty for 6+ years, I want to share which items and categories may seem like they are completely indispensable, but are actually quite possible to live without (and at least be decently content).

In no particular order *drum roll* 

  1. (Frequent) eating out / snack foods
    You don’t actually need pringles, or any other nonsense comfort food with zero nutritional value. Save yoself from a belly and wasted dollars!
  2. Alcohols 
    I enjoy cocktails just as much as the next person. *But* poverty is no time for boozin’! You can have fun without it! And if not, you may want to reconsider your friend choices! You will save yourself tens of dollars every week!
  3. New clothes 
    This gal probably just unloaded your entire months pay! Who wants credit card debt?! Not I! Heard of Plato’s closet?? It is your new best friend! Fancy hand-me-downs FTW! (*EXCEPTION*: unders! )
  4. Non-embarrassing car 
    Unless you’re also going to live in your car and shower in your lab (I considered this very seriously at one point!), it ain’t worth it. Go find a Craig’s list steal! I bought a car for $1,750 in grad school that ran for over 2 years with zero problems! (until the wheel fell of the axle, but that was my fault! #jumpedacurb)
  5. Cutting edge technology 
    Is it fun to facetime your friends? Of course! Is it necessary? Nope! I had a non-smart phone until.. 2014?? And even then, I didn’t have an iPhone until.. 2018! Guess what — I survived! I had friends! I survived in the modern age! You can, too – get a refurbished Samsung or a Motorolla E for like $60 and glory in your savings.


    6. Fancy hair dos 
    Does her hair look lit? Of course! Is it worth not being able to eat for 3 weeks? No! If you’re poor – and women, you’re going to need to sit down for this one – you do not have to dye your hair. The ombre, the balayage, the lowlights, whatever — they’re not necessary. You can have a cute cut for like…. $30? And get one 2x a year! I did that until 2018 and I mean.. maybe I didn’t look amazing at all times, but men still noticed me #obviously #truebeauty #lolz


    7. Trendiest of fitness routines 
    Tbh not even really sure what these women are doing. But in grad school, I 1) worked out at the student gym, for free and 2) ran, for free. And my bod was SLAMMIN’! Jk, but seriously – it was fine – in some ways, I was even more fit than I am now (cardio and I have had a falling out.. but we will probably reconcile before too long once I adequately snub her). So just because you’re broke doesn’t mean you are on an inevitable slide into obesity.

 

There you have it — if you’re looking to save some mula, or not sure how to survive the impoverished years of grad school – hopefully these tips will inspire you. I did it! It is possible! 

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