When Higher Education Closes Doors: How Student Loan Debt Can Keep Us from Our Life’s Calling.
A college education may not be an undiluted good after all. Especially if student loan debt trails in its wake.
More young people today earn degrees than ever before. And a significant percentage of those leave college saddled with debt. Frequently this necessitates getting a job with high earning potential. And for some people, that could be a very bad thing.
Consider for instance the young man who was already a skilled finish carpenter. Yet he went to college to “better himself.” The adults in his world convinced him of this. Inside though, he recoils at the thought of office work, of donning a starched white shirt and tie each morning for the next 40 years. But his college loan debt may be the initial reason he will end up doing just that.
What about the young woman who loves gardening, and wants to be the caretaker of the city’s rose garden. Unfortunately, the salary of $30,000 a year and limited benefits, isn’t enough to live comfortably and pay off student debts. So instead, to earn the necessary income, she takes a white collar job in what her heart tells her is a boring industry. Her dream of gardening will be deferred for decades.
What about the young man who loves to write, and has a novel brewing in his brain. Yet law school loans weigh heavily. He takes that 60 hour a week job with the downtown firm. Five years later he’s so chronically busy, and financially strung out (to keep up required appearances), that stopping to write his novel, is no longer even within the realm of possibility. It has been relegated to that of a fanciful whim of his youth. Perhaps he’ll return to his novel after he retires in 30 years. Perhaps he won’t.
As people mature, many realize that while income level is important, it’s certainly not the decisive factor in the success or failure of a life. And elderly people will tell you it has actually very little to do with happiness.