Years later, I found myself confronted with a choice that too many people have had to and will have to face. I could give up what had become my vocation (in my case, being a writer) and take a job that I didn’t want in order to repay the huge debt I had accumulated in college and graduate school. Or I could take what I had been led to believe was both the morally and legally reprehensible step of defaulting on my student loans, which was the only way I could survive without wasting my life in a job that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society.
I chose life. That is to say, I defaulted on my student loans.This is where whatever sympathy there might have been falters.
By the end of my sophomore year at a small private liberal arts college, my mother and I had taken out a second loan, my father had declared bankruptcy and my parents had divorced. My mother could no longer afford the tuition that the student loans weren’t covering. I transferred to a state college in New Jersey, closer to home.Then this.
Forty years after I took out my first student loan, and 30 years after getting my last, the Department of Education is still pursuing the unpaid balance. My mother, who co-signed some of the loans, is dead. The banks that made them have all gone under. I doubt that anyone can even find the promissory notes. The accrued interest, combined with the collection agencies’ opulent fees, is now several times the principal.He makes good points but he said forty years after the first student loan. Let's say, fifty-eight years of age then, old enough to have wised up, well long enough to have repaid it multiple times, that was long before the real student debt problem developed to the monster it is today. At this late point he's run out of excuses. The odd thing is I see only four comments at the original NYT site, as of this writing, but the link on Twitter to the piece seems to not stop with comments. It does stop loading comments but I was surprised how much people have to say on this subject.
Another thing, writers write. If that is the impulse then there is no stopping it. All that education is just goofing around. His real education is actual writing and he kept making excuses for putting that off. Five books later he's still goofing on himself, on his parents, on us.