Slate, a once-semi-readable website, published a 2,925-word tome on Tuesday by a guy who is really sad because he managed to rack up $200,000 in student loan debt by getting a useless degree at a fancypants private college and then, by borrowing more cash to be a graduate student.
The bitter, billowing borrower is Samuel Garner — currently a bioethicist at a Washington, D.C. nonprofit.
Garner’s tale of woe and world-historical budgetary stupidity begins — as he tells it, in excruciating detail — when he was a high school senior. He was a “consumer” of the “vacuous platitudes” on college brochures, and so he excitedly applied to Connecticut College — a school which currently charges a comprehensive fee of $62,965 per year.
“My siblings and I had the privilege of expecting we would attend private colleges,” Garner explains, even though his family had become “financially stressed” when he was in high school.
This financial stress notwithstanding, in 2003 Garner went off to Connecticut College — which was then charging comprehensive fees in the $40,000-ish range — and carelessly signed “for these federal loans each semester” without once, he admits, bothering to look at the papers he was signing to find out how much he was borrowing.
“Like so many students, I thought signing loan documents was just a routine,” the graduate of an allegedly elite college — who was a full-fledged adult at the time — now writes. “Having no appreciation of financial adulthood, I didn’t really understand what these loans were or what repaying them would actually entail.”
He blames college officials for making “no serious effort to explain” the paperwork he himself signed on multiple occasions. He says his “middle-class” parents both didn’t understand the “student loan terrain” and, somehow, at the same time, “minimized” his “understanding of what it would take to pay for school.”
Garner chose to ditch a planned major in biology for a major in music performance. He also minored in philosophy.
Eventually, he decided to pursue an academic career in bioethics. That’s a swanky word for a sub-sub-branch of philosophy.
“Academia was the setting I knew, so that became my plan,” he writes.
Garner expresses frustration at Connecticut College for failing to tell him about the private loans he had borrowed to pay the school’s hefty price tag. He also did not, apparently, possess the modicum of inquisitiveness to find out his total debt. (RELATED: Forty Percent Of Student Loan Debtors Have No Clue If They Received Mandatory Loan Counseling)
“So, still unaware of my total debt, I went on for a bioethics master’s degree to bolster my chances of getting into a good Ph.D. program,” Garner explains. Specifically, he chose to attend the University of Pennsylvania and take out $70,000 in additional loans for tuition and living expenses.
In 2008, Garner finally graduated from Penn with his Master’s degree and got a real, full-time job (making, apparently, $50,000 per year). He was shocked — shocked! — to find out that he had taken out some $200,000 in loans as a full-grown adult.
“It turned out that my parents and Conn had had me ink them during my semesterly flurry of document-signing without discussing them with me,” he whines.
“I now saw what my trust and ignorance had cost. So I was angry. But I felt especially betrayed by the well-manicured dream factories that had educated me.”
Garner says he currently makes about $70,000 per year and must pay $1,500 a month on his student loans — nearly 40 percent of his take-home pay.
Has he considered trying to get a job in another industry? Yes, but he has dedicated himself so much to his field.
The Daily Caller will not go into Garner’s harrowing tale involving possible “auto-default,” his grandmother and a speech he gave “at one of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s student debt press conferences.”
Garner’s 2,925 words on how sad and angry he is at the world because he took out so much in student loans is over 1,075 percent of the 272 words of the Gettysburg Address and about 257 percent of the 1,137 words of the Declaration of Independence. Garner’s jeremiad is also nearly 78 percent as long as The Lottery, the celebrated 1948 short story by Shirley Jackson.
A brief perusal of the Connecticut College website shows that Garner likely had a luxurious time there. The campus is a “750-acre arboretum.” The cafeteria “offers more than 40 beverage selections, 15 popular cereals, a daily salad bar with no less than 10 different daily dressing options and a grill station serving burgers, hotdogs, fish, chicken and fries.” There is always a “fresh variety of vegetarian items.” Desserts include “ice cream, soft serve, novelties, cakes, pies, cobblers and our world-famous, can’t-have-just-one cookies.”
During Connecticut College’s graduation ceremonies, “junior class women dressed in white carry chains of laurel” and each senior receives a pine sapling “which they carry as they march.”