Recently, yet another student loan debtor shared their thoughts about being suicidal, demoralized, and trapped because of their student loans on this post. When I receive these notes, my blood boils as I think about the cold distance that some policymakers in higher ed circles have from this obvious suffering.
The situation has become desperate for many people with student loans. Remember: you are not alone. It is important to remember that fact. And there are ways in which you can organize to fight back. For instance, get involved with Occupy. They are doing great things on this specific issue, especially the Occupy Student Loan Debt Campaign. Since the crisis is based upon enormous systemic problems, we will need to work collectively to come up with long-term and short-term solutions. If policymakers refuse, we will just come up with other options to bring much needed relief to debtors. One way or another, the crisis will come to an end, and that's why agency, collective agency, is crucial.
Here is what's happening to people now, however - this garbage, how we're shackled by these loans, has turned parts of our minds into wasted spaces. Our imagination has been stolen from us. We live in fear now. We are more fearful of the future. We think about our debt all the time. They have stolen time from us - all of our time. Our time now, our time in the future. But when you do this - when you commit the sin of usury - there is a time when it comes to an end. People don't like it when their futures are stolen from them. Those of us who are no longer stuck in this hell of sorts have decided something, too. We're done being enslaved by student loan debt. We're done being pawns in this usurious scheme. We're here to reclaim what rightfully belongs to us: our futures.
But right now, many of us are still struggling with these negative thoughts. These are not our own thoughts - they do not belong to us. They are the thoughts that you have foisted upon the indentured educated class. You have turned many of us into demoralized beings. You have turned many of us into suicidal people. Even so, many of us still have strength. Why? Because we have learned that we are not alone. We have become a collective of debtors, so our singular indebted identity is being lost. Our ranks are growing each day. That is what you are now facing - a collective that has broken free from being atomized by debt.
But we - the indentured educated class - need to get everyone out of the psychological shackles.
Like this person. They are getting there, but they need to be closer than they are. Here's what they wrote:
The general public doesn't understand how crushing and demoralizing student loan debt is. Somehow it's your fault of wanting a better life and doing it in the heavily prescribed manner. I exist and am fortunate to have family that cares, but the debt and unreasonable financial burdens it creates means I don't have a life. I do not have many experiences that make me feel like I have my own life. There is no way out and it forces me into cyclical patterns of depression where the realization of how unmanageable my student loan debt is leads me to think of how corrupt our educational system/government/financial leaders are in order to perpetuate such a cannibalistic system and I feel even less hope for my future and get further depressed. I fight to maintain hope and do a lot of reading to try and stay inspired to succeed but the reality is that I think of killing myself all the time and I don't feel ashamed about it because I think it is a normal response when humans feel that there is absolutely no solution available to them. In fact, the concept of suicide to relieve physical pain is so accepted that it is pervasive in our media (i.e. films) and is even practiced as medicine by some doctors. You can sign an order to not resuscitate and that is socially acceptable. Somehow for the anguish and pain that comes with facing a destitute and hopeless lifestyle when all you wanted to do was improve your life, suicide is not accepted. I could go on .... I wish everyone who is experiencing this crippling pain a quick change of fortune, a miracle, some hope and extend my sympathy. I did my research on my insurance policy, I can leave this place when it gets to be too much for me (probably soon).
I hope this person doesn't leave out of choice or any time soon. I want them to know, I want all of you to know, that you're not alone. We must organize. People are already doing it - get involved, get support, and get organized. We don't need a change of fortune or a miracle. We need to be firmly here, based in reality, and working together to break these damned shackles and ensure that higher education becomes free again.
Indentured educated citizens, unite!