Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Reflections on Denial

[This post is the first in a series of several installments. Moreover, if you're interested in sharing your story of what's it likes to either be, or not be, in denial about having student loans, please contact me (ccrynjohannsen@gmail.com), and I'll include your own reflections on the subject. Anonymity is highly valued here, so I wouldn't use your name, if that's what you request.]

Denial has a way of singing to people, especially if they are addicts. Even when addicts know that they are not supposed to take that first step in abusing whatever it is that makes them feel better, that there will be consequences, they still do it anyway and forget about everything else. If addicts do not have support, these addictions can destroy them. Even worse, those who have sought the path to recovery oftentimes find themselves lured back to that which is most lethal for them, and it's Denial, that lurking "pal," who is always there to assist in these setbacks. Of course, one doesn't have to be an addict to understand the power of Denial, especially when it comes to the student lending crisis and student loan debt. Indeed, in this case, denial is two-fold. First, let's talk about the borrowers.

As a result of being in touch with hundreds upon hundreds of indentured educated citizens, I encounter people who express an array of emotions and attitudes about:

(a) their own student loan debt
(b) the student lending crisis
(c) the lack of Government attention to the crisis
(d) etc., etc., etc.

Recently, I had a conversation with a highly educated social worker. Let's call him Mr. X. Mr. X is highly committed to his clientele. Unfortunately, he is not providing as much care to patients as he had prior to the Great Recession. In fact, Mr. X's clients have dropped by 50%. In any event, we had an interesting conversation about denial (I am indebted to Mr. X, in fact, for inspiring these installments).

Mr. X asked me the following question: "How many people [with whom you interact and are part of the indentured educated class] are in denial about the total amount of debt they owe?"

This question is not just a good one, but a superb one. In fact, it's kept me up for over a week and - as I said above - inspired me to write these pieces. The question deserved such consideration that I turned to writing a full essay about it by pen. (I can't remember the last time I penned an essay. Sure, I've taken lengthy notes in archives, for long research papers, etc., etc., but I have no memory of when I penned an essay of this length). And, so, I sifted through my thoughts and memories of all the confessions I've read from student loan debtors. Of course, I recall the ones who struck me so deeply that my only response was to cry. Indeed, so many were and are raw, that is, they tell me the plain and painful facts about their circumstances, how those closest to them are suffering (I know a few divorces on the way, and the causes of those fractured marriages are as a result of student loan debt-related issues), all of it because they are part of the indentured educated class.

How did I respond to Mr. X's excellent question? Just how many indentured educated citizens are in denial?

My answer(s) coming up next . . . 


17 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're a coward and fraud.

Anonymous said...

You're claiming to "care" is a sham. I see right through it.

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

Uh . . . is this the same person? If so, how is it that I am a "coward and fraud" for advocating for people?

Anonymous said...

Don't let SOMEONE else defend you either. That's one of the reasons you're a filthy coward.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Johannsen, we know that your here to help millions of people in debt. Dont feed these nasty, pathetic trolls.

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

I always invited criticism, even if I disagree with it . . . That said, I thank the Anonymous person who wrote to support my research, writing, and advocacy work.

Ninjarich said...

Pretty ironic for the accuser to remain anonymous and not cite specific grievances. That strikes me as cowardly and fraudulent.

Thank you for all the work you are doing for the indentured educated class.

Anonymous said...

The government needs to get out of the student loan market. It needs to remove its backing of loans and its prohibition on the dischargeability of those loans.

Does that mean fewer people will be able to go to four year colleges and enter graduate programs? Yes. Is that a bad thing? No.

The everybody gets a trophy generation has hit reality. Their boomer parents should be ashamed. Of course, a ton of those boomers have made a mint off their system to create an indentured educated class.

Which brings up the question: how smart is this indentured educated class?

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

Well, I beg to differ. You think a less educated populous is a good idea? Really? Are you kidding? Have you done your research on countries that are highly illiterate and uneducated? They don't fare well. Plus, you simplify the problem. It's an inter-generational crisis, and it's not about the boomers against this so-called "trophy generation."

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

Moreover, this indentured educated class is pretty damned smart, and I have plenty of evidence to prove it.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why there is so much hatred directed towards the indentured educated class and those who became victims of other various loan sharks and money making scams.

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

Great point, Anonymous. Why aren't people attacking those who foreclosed on their homes because of scams like THIS - http://www.propublica.org/feature/all-the-magnetar-trade-how-one-hedge-fund-helped-keep-the-housing-bubble? Are people attacking them for being a part of a system that made money off of victims? I rarely use that term, but when you consider that many who took out loans were 18, it raises that question, doesn't it? Of course, we'll attack INDIVIDUALS for being idiots and being irresponsible and this and that, but GOD FORBID we attack the systems that enable these things to happen! Let's take a larger, sociological look at how higher education is a huge racket. That's a bit more complex when you do that, and it's not so easy to commit logical fallacies when one does so, is it?

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Anonymous said...

I know you care. Others know you care. Don't justify empty words with a response to your critics. They take pleasure in causing adversity. If you are taking time to reply to them, then it is one moment in time that is not being dedicated to the cause and your passion. We know who you are, and fraud is a word I would describe you on "opposite day", for you are a person of value, integrity, and honor. Be blessed in all you do today C. Cryn Johannsen. Your friend, A.S.

Anonymous said...

http://chronicle.com/blogPost/The-Worst-Paid-High-School/24127/

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

Anonymous - thanks for posting this piece. I read it earlier, and the arguments are pretty sound when it comes to issues surrounding tenure. I especially like the argument that even when one has tenure they are like 'virtual prisoners.' I do not regret my decision to leave academia. It's a disaster.