When I heard that the Obama administration was planning on forgiving student loans, I was mad. Mad for all the students who DID have to repay their loans through sacrifice and discipline. Mad for the people who have car loans and are feeling lucky at this news. Mad at a culture that is not more mad over this issue.
Humor is all about
* accepting who and where and what we are–even and sometimes especially the not-so-pleasant
* becoming open to possibility and ideas
* discovering who we are, and what we’re on earth to accomplish
* having fun as we enjoy the entire journey
This process can’t happen if the component of “self” is taken from the equation of self-responsibility.
This process can’t happen if we shield people from the negative and encourage them to only see the positive and shiny/bright/sweet-smelling.
The news of the loan forgiveness struck me, because it highlighted our increasingly-normal response to change. That is, we don’t, won’t and can’t ADAPT. That’s because we are looking at “college” in outdated terms. Just like the Hausfrau image has hampered interpersonal relations by giving (usually) the woman what sociologist Arlie Hochschild names a Second Shift.
The problem is that we have kept our image—our “perfect” image–of what college should be, despite radically changed circumstances that make this image not only obsolete, but dangerous to apply in today’s world.
That “perfect” image had us needing to travel far, far away from home to a college. Going to a branch campus or community college was unacceptable. Commuting while living at home? Nonsense! College meant finding a profession, and preferably a husband. ”College life” meant partying and wasting time. Being free. Not worrying about who would be responsible. Ok, maybe that was just me. But that DID work way back in my undergraduate days.
Unfortunately for today’s students, the world has raced quickly out of that image, and we haven’t created another “perfect” college image to replace it. But maybe that’s the problem: We’re focusing too much on a comforting goal: perfection. And even though we know it’s unattainable, we tenaciously grasp onto it, a security blanket in a world that’s increasingly unknown and therefore, unsafe.
What do we do when we face the unknown? We run, hide, ignore, and/or cling to what we’ve known to work in the past. Our first choice isn’t usually to see how that past choice and today’s reality gel or don’t.
The worst part of the loan forgiveness isn’t that it will happen. Isn’t that it’s a dangerous precedent to set in the attitude and mindset of the next generations.
The worst thing about it all is that it reminds me that we DON”T have a healthy or useful strategy for dealing with change. It tells me that we don’t naturally or typically want to make adjustments. It shows me that our open-mindedness that we claim to have isn’t so wide-open after all.
The natural progression of graduation in your area of concentration leading to a job in that profession today is laughable. That fossilized mindset is what stops students in their tracks, hardens their mind like cement around only looking for work in that area of expertise. Smashes the entrepreneurial spirit in its wake.
This loan forgiveness issue should inspire us. No, not to sign up for college. To examine what OTHER areas our thinking have become fossilized. Which other models we’re basing our current actions on, even though they may be ineffective. What attitudes we’re clutching to, that don’t serve us in (the) reality of our situation.
How much do YOU owe in student loans? How funny is THAT?