Thursday, September 22, 2011

Irony or Injustice?

A tragic irony of life is that we so often achieve success or financial independence after the chief reason for which we sought it has passed away.
Ellen Glasgow

At first, I thought it was just ironic. I can't consolidate my private loans because I don't have good enough credit or a strong enough cosigner. They can't be sure I can afford my monthly payments. Who do they think has been paying my current loans, which are higher than they would be if I could consolidate? Me! I haven't missed or been late on a payment since I started paying them back! Then, I tried to consolidate my federal loans. They have an income-based repayment plan for people who join lower-paying careers such as public service (so, teaching). Here's the thing though: if I was just a teacher, I would qualify. Because I also work at a grocery store in order to make ends meet, I no longer qualify for lower payments.

At first, I thought this was quite ironic. Then I spoke to my dad who got me thinking that it may be nearer to injustice. When I was starting college, I didn't qualify for scholarships or grants because he made too much money. With all the property we own, in NJ no less, and his 3 children - we really don't have a lot of money at all. He especially did not have a significant amount to contribute to college payments. So instead I put 5 years of out-of-state Virginia Tech payments on student loan. Now I'm broke (but not complaining - if you follow along you know I love my life!!) and trying to get just a little help. I know that the gov't will pay back some of my loans after I complete 5 years in a low-income school system, but they won't actually pay that until I've completed it.

Okay, so like I said I'm not complaining. I am, however, wondering about the state of things. Like my dad says, nobody will loan you money until they're sure you don't need it. Isn't that always the way it works? If a person works more than one job because they need to pay bills, then they might not qualify for government assistance. Yet the people who would rather sit around and be lazy, they gladly welcome their supplements each month. Is that fair? We are punishing those who really give it their all - to go to school, to work full time and part time jobs at the same time, to do everything on little sleep - and rewarding those that don't. Now, I do understand multiple sides here. I absolutely know there are people deserving of assistance and I do wholeheartedly agree with giving it to them. I also know that some people, like myself, make their life harder by choice. I chose to go to Tech, knowing I would pay back student loans until I retire. Do I regret it? Not a day in my life! I had amazing experiences and met the wonderful L because I was here. Heck, I got two degrees in five years and I'm still living in this area. I could not have pictured myself going anywhere else.
I'll take a second to tell those of you who don't know about my college-Cinderella story. I first came to Tech my sophomore year of high school to visit my cousin E. I knew then that this is where I needed to be. As soon as I stepped on campus, there was no doubt in my mind that I would be a Hokie. When it came time to applying, I applied to Tech, one safety school in case I didn't get in anywhere else, and one in-state school to please my dad. I wasn't too worried - I knew Tech would be my home. Home sweet home. :)

Anyway, I just think it's pretty unfair that I see so many people who can't scrape together two dimes while they remain honest and fair, but yet so many people are making thousands selling blow, meth, or themselves on street corners and are still getting assistance from the government. A few bad apples definitely ruin the bunch, but it is really upsetting that it's allowed to happen.

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