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Buy His Future
March 22, 2004 2:26 PM   Subscribe

Buy His Future $59,965.90 owed, $245.75 donated.
"In exchange for your donation, I will from time to time write to you about what I've done with the life you've made possible. Make a gift, and free me to do good things with my life for this world."
It struck me as funny: have we come to a point in society where a man's future is worth the amount of his student loans?
posted by cjoh (42 comments total)

 
No, but we have come to the point in society where people feel absolutely no shame about begging for cash from complete strangers.

[this is not the best of the web]
posted by ook at 2:31 PM on March 22, 2004


I decided to do things like teach abroad and work on a campaign during these two years because I knew that the financial burden of loans in repayment would prevent my taking any kind of career risks.

Three points:

1. Which presidential campaign?

2. Taught English abroad where? To whom? For how much?

3. The thing about risk is, you have to be prepared to lose. Why should we deny this person the character-building experience of taking responsiblity for his own decisions?
posted by SPrintF at 2:36 PM on March 22, 2004


Need blind admissions and schools like Harvard offering free tuition for students whose parents make under $40 000.00 a year tell me that higher education is already changing for the better. Seems to me in 2 years Joe could have lived at home, worked like a dog, and paid off enough of those loans that he could then go forward with his glorious future. Or, he could have chosen a perfectly good education at a less expensive school.

I don't think his financial folly will lead to my own - I financed my own education, both B.A. and now Graduate School, and have all faith that Joe will find a way to do the same.
posted by sperare at 2:38 PM on March 22, 2004


Student 'Sells Virginity' via Web to pay off student loans.
posted by Grod at 2:38 PM on March 22, 2004


What a jerk. Why doesn't he give me money so I can enjoy my future?
posted by agregoli at 2:40 PM on March 22, 2004


Fuck that. One plus side to me having student loan debt is that I need to get a decent job to pay it off, and I might not have the motivation to do such a thing otherwise. This guy just wants his debts paid so he can enjoy some low responsibility job.
posted by angry modem at 2:44 PM on March 22, 2004


Save Karyn 2.0 - the college years.
posted by swerdloff at 2:44 PM on March 22, 2004


I'd like a big bundle of money to spend on chicks and booze on a tropical beach somewhere. From time to time I'll let you know what I've done with the life you'd make possible.
posted by birdherder at 2:47 PM on March 22, 2004


Check out the Village Voice's article, "The Ambition Tax: Why America's young are being crushed by debt—and why no one seems to care". The average collage debt is $45,900 and the "...median debt for grad students has increased 72 percent since 1997."
posted by plemeljr at 2:51 PM on March 22, 2004


In all seriousness though, I feel this guys pain. I'm a junior now and intend to get a masters in English and probably pick up another degree in graphic design in a decade or so. At some point in the far future I plan on going for a Ph.D. Now, given the amount of money I currently owe, I seriously doubt I'll feel secure enough financially to actually go for those other degrees. A B.A. in English is all I can afford. If I didn't have an iota of self respect I would be begging on the web too. Christ, given the cost of education, the cost of living, the toilet of an economy, and the over saturation of the two job sectors that interest me (English lit and graphic design) I'll be lucky to pay off my loans before I'm 40 (I'm 22 now). So, if you want to paypal me a donation, send me an e-mail :-)I also accept food, computer hardware, plane tickets, and anything else so much for self respect
posted by Grod at 3:09 PM on March 22, 2004


Guy's pain. Some English major
posted by Grod at 3:10 PM on March 22, 2004


One plus side to me having student loan debt is that I need to get a decent job to pay it off, and I might not have the motivation to do such a thing otherwise.

That's a plus? You say "decent job" like it's a good thing.
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:14 PM on March 22, 2004


this campaign.

This guy just wants his debts paid so he can enjoy some low responsibility job.

agreed. i see no problem with begging for money, if that's your thing, but there are other ways to get an education that are far less costly and just as rewarding intellectually.

it sounds like he made a bad choice, and wants to return his education. oops. lots of people feel the same way.

on preview plemeljr, i agree that the pressure to sink your entire financial future for a "quality" education is dangerous. lots of people don't want or don't really need a college degree. those would be the people who don't read (i kid, i kid ...)

Pursuing the relatively modest dream of doing better than the generation before requires serious capital—up front in the form of tuition and loans, and hidden in the form of lost opportunities.

amen.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:18 PM on March 22, 2004


Mars: I want a decent job for reasons of self-actualization, and frankly, I'm a little offended at your poopooing of my life coice.
posted by angry modem at 3:18 PM on March 22, 2004


Get a fucking job you bum.
posted by Bonzai at 3:23 PM on March 22, 2004


Yeah, pay off his student loans so he can spend all my extra money on beer and weed. And travelling to Europe and basically trying to extend his college life into post college life.

What did he major in? Parasitism?

Buying the highest quality education possible is a misnomer. Just because someone pays the most for it doesn't make it the best. The fact that he ate so much debt and now can't hack it means he's probably not all that smart to begin with.
posted by fenriq at 3:42 PM on March 22, 2004


He should at least offer to do some Jackass-type stunts for money. Well, at least he has 7 friends and close family members who believe in him. I doubt he'll get much more.

I've been paying $550 a month for the past three years, thank you (seven years to go).
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 3:48 PM on March 22, 2004


If this kid really wants to lose his college debt and have fun doing it, he should just move to China or Korea and teach English. Lots of people do it, and as long as he never comes back to America, he'll never have to pay back the debt.

Pursuing the relatively modest dream of doing better than the generation before requires serious capital

That's not a relatively modest dream, that's an astounding accomplishment which requires a tremendous amount of work. It's just that exceeding the previous generation has become so commonplace in America that we've forgotten how hard it is. This is why most Americans are workaholics (alternative language: wage-slaves), at least by international (read: European) standards. (Well, we also have to pay for continental Europe's national defense, but that's a story for another day).

In sum, then. Money or relaxation: Student loans allow you to pretend to have both simultaneously, for a while. But in the end, it's an either/or choice, at best, and students need to remember that before they choose to go to an expensive school.
posted by gd779 at 3:55 PM on March 22, 2004


Considering he owes less than I do, this pisses me off.
posted by linux at 4:02 PM on March 22, 2004


There was an interesting thread on the subject of school loans here last year.
posted by PrinceValium at 4:03 PM on March 22, 2004


What a pathetic loser. Collage loans exist so that people can improve their lives and give them the skills they need to make enough money to pay them back. It's an investment in education.


Well, education improves the world, you say? That's true, that's why grants exist. The idea that the world will be better off if a certain person gets to go to collage for free. But, apparently wasn't smart enough or worthwhile enough for the people who actually hand those out. There are a lot of smart, deserving people out there who actually deserve the money.



I don't get how people can have the audacity to beg for money like that. $60k could build like 3 schools in the third world and give people who would have no chance at any education at all to get one, and improve so many more lives then this wanker not needing to get a real job.
posted by delmoi at 4:09 PM on March 22, 2004


delmoi - Amen. In fact, you want to buy someone's future? Send money overseas to people dying in villages in 3rd world countries. Make a donation to researchers working on AIDS, or Alzheimers, or cancer, or devleoping non-petroleum based fuels.

Debt is ugly, and so is having to fight off student loans. But this guy made the choice to pay for an expensive school, and then to "live life to the fullest". And now he's sad 'cause it's not free?

And here's my more inflammatory belief - there's a reason for that stereotype that children of immigrants are all engineers and doctors. It's because their parents want to ensure that the financial sacrifice for education is worth it on the outset. I don't see anyone pitying the financially stable doctor who harbored dreams of being an artist in college. Everyone comes to a point when they sacrifice something. I applaud a decision to live the life one wants, but it's childish to think that its deserved without any cost.
posted by synapse at 4:32 PM on March 22, 2004


I don't see anyone pitying the financially stable doctor who harbored dreams of being an artist in college.

Really? You're not looking very hard.
posted by rushmc at 5:03 PM on March 22, 2004


I sensed that 'certain presidential campaign' was Dean.

Volunteering for that maybe showed him how you could get money to materialize from the web.

Why doesn't someone ask for money so that they can quit their corporate job and tell their boss to fuck off?
posted by Busithoth at 5:06 PM on March 22, 2004


Just how expensive of a school did this guy go to, anyhow? I went to an expensive school and managed to graduate with less in student loans. It's called working as a student, working in the summer, applying for scholarships, applying for grants. Not begging for money from strangers.

And he doesn't need to go abroad to get help from his loans. AmeriCorps could have them mostly taken care of in a few years.

He could live cheap, work hard and pay them off fast. Or he could refinance at a low interest rate and pay the monthly minimum for the next 15 or 20 years.

Yeah, pay off his student loans so he can spend all my extra money on beer and weed.

I should set up a web site of my own: I spent all my money on my student loans, and now I can't buy beer and weed. Please contribute!
posted by croutonsupafreak at 5:11 PM on March 22, 2004


This has to be a gag, Phil Hendrie style.
No way seven people actually bought into this piss and ponied up.

If it is indeed real, fuck this kid and his ridiculous gall.
posted by dong_resin at 5:14 PM on March 22, 2004


applying for scholarships, applying for grants. Not begging for money from strangers.

Actually, those two options would in fact constitute begging for money from strangers.

(though at least said strangers would have decided beforehand what the money was going for)
posted by namespan at 5:21 PM on March 22, 2004


Interest rates for student loans are the lowest they've probably been in decades. One could even say that this is the best time in years to have your loans coming due. I began paying mine off in September and I'm paying under 4% with consolidation. With regular payments for 2 years, that drops by another quarter percent. I only owe half what he does. However, I got a job.

I'm not so sensitive to his decision to volunteer his time to work in a presidential campaign, and I fully reject his claim that it was done "to make the country better." No, I suspect it was quite a lot more like betting on Dean (if that's who it was) to win, in hopes of gaining a political appointment to some federal bureau or another, as is very common for hundreds of campaign grunts of all talents. Four years of employment handed over for the mere sacrifice of a few months on the campaign trail? Sounds like a deal. Sign me up.

Teaching English in Europe - Europe?? - also raises a red flag for me. What European nation is not teaching English to its children from at least the age of eight, and needs the help of an american undergraduate?

Given no real information about what university he attended, what degree he earned, and what his future plans are, it boggles my mind that he has raised more than fifty cents. I guess it would waste too much of his boundless potential for him to spend half a day on the internet investigating the dozens of ways he can painlessly pay back his own debt.
posted by contessa at 6:01 PM on March 22, 2004


What European nation is not teaching English to its children from at least the age of eight, and needs the help of an american undergraduate?

Slackers can live cheaply and make (relatively) great money teaching English in parts of Eastern Europe. Sadly, Western Europe has largely become too expensive for this tactic. It's a traditional way for ex-students to put off getting a real job.
posted by gd779 at 7:07 PM on March 22, 2004


So I've analyzed all of the bitterness that people such as Karyn and now this guy is getting, because it just doesn't mesh with the natural instinct we develop from the moment we're born (for most of us) to help other people.

I hate to say it, but this sort of bitterness seems rooted in the feeling of "If I can't get anything for free, why should this guy?" Which seems a justifiable emotion, superficially, but beneath it all is just kind of spiteful and... well... bitter.

Anyone wanna cue me in though on why it's so bad again to ask "perfect strangers" for help? Outside of, "It just isn't done!" I mean.
posted by precocious at 7:21 PM on March 22, 2004


I have a natural instinct, as do most others I believe, to have a sense of dignity about how you lead your life. Begging, in almost every human context, is undignified.

Now if you are some charity you can reverse this situation and show how sharing your excessive wealth with say children in an impoverished country is a good and right thing to do. But this guy's case is not strong enough to overturn that default context.

Anyone wanna cue me in though on why it's so bad again to ask "perfect strangers" for help? Outside of, "It just isn't done!" I mean.

I think people have the same disdain for him that they have for hippie kids or scammers begging on the same streets as disabled impoverished older men. They, like spam in your inbox, clutter up the whole system of charity and make it that less likely that money goes to where it is most needed.

He has every right to ask. Others have every right to give him money. Some of us have every right to show disdain.
posted by vacapinta at 7:53 PM on March 22, 2004


This is so 90's
posted by stbalbach at 8:15 PM on March 22, 2004


Well, I admittedly understand the thought that he might just be scamming or being somehow dishonest. That doesn't seem to be the biggest issue for most protesters, though.

The SaveKaryn chick was much more forthcoming with where the money was going, meticulously detailed even. She had what, two (or three) jobs? And was selling off all of her crap/keeping people entertained with various commentary, blah blah blah. She received the same disdain tenfold. I couldn't understand it then.

Makes you wonder where dignity comes from, and whether it's a by-product of the need to feel superior to others. Perhaps only Buddha knows.

...and since you busted out with the traditionally argument-crushing, "Because we have every right to," I guess that answers my question.

As you were!
posted by precocious at 8:29 PM on March 22, 2004


Flies and Buddhas, precocious.
posted by dong_resin at 10:19 PM on March 22, 2004


Dignity?

My contempt has nothing to do with this guy's lack of dignity. My contempt is for his absolutly insane sens of entitlement. . Gimmy gimmy gimmy I want to live for free. If it were only him in a vaccum, I wouldn't care. But it isn't. There are charities out there who can build an entire elementary school in some third world place for $14k. I mean, thats givng an education to people who could simply not have it otherwise. You could spend the money Health care, preventing people from suffering a slow, agonizing deterioration of the flesh.

But no, some how this guy thinks that charity money would be better spent given to him. For nothing. So that he can be "free" from any constraints on his life.

And lets not forget, a lot of people are irritated by people who already have it better then them asking for handouts.
posted by delmoi at 10:35 PM on March 22, 2004


Is there no dignity in stating your intentions clearly, or asking for help - openly - when you want or need it?

All the best to him - I save my bile for the duplicitous charities that spend 90% of your donation through inefficient administration and bullshit executive salaries rah rah rah

threads like this make baby buddha laugh.
posted by elphTeq at 11:08 PM on March 22, 2004


All the best to him - I save my bile for the duplicitous charities that spend 90% of your donation through inefficient administration and bullshit executive salaries rah rah rah

I agree. Cut through the middlemen and give it ALL to someone who's inefficient and talks a lot of bullshit.
posted by Busithoth at 4:57 AM on March 23, 2004


"Anyone wanna cue me in though on why it's so bad again to ask 'perfect strangers' for help? "

For me, it's that socialistic "from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs" idea. If I was genuinely using every resource at my disposal, but still didn't have what I needed to survive, I wouldn't feel shame at asking for help from strangers. If, on the other hand, I'm asking for help to compensate for my own laziness, then I'm taking charitable resources which could go to the truly needy.

I got my B.A. in psychology with only $5K in student debt, but that was 20 years ago, when tuition was cheaper and I was living with my mom. I'm in the process of working through a B.S. in computer engineering now. I work full time & take classes in the evenings. I'm going to a community college for first 2 years, then a state university for the rest. It's a lot harder doing this way, but I plan to graduate debt free. Not only am I not being a drain on anyone else's resources, but I'm currently being a financial resource for some of my extended family. Point being, it's not a binary choice between crushing debt and missing out on an education.

Bottom line, there's only so much charitable money & good will to go around. There are people in this world who give it everything they have, but still can't make it without help. If you're not one of them, then you shouldn't be taking the resources they need.

Just my opinion, anyway.
posted by tdismukes at 6:20 AM on March 23, 2004


precocious, you call the reactions here bitterness and spite, which I think is totally inaccurate. I'd go with "flabbergasted." Or "astounded."

A mountain of student loan debt is no laughing matter. I feel for the guy. Being 22 and starting out life $60k in the hole must be a downer. However, he got the benefit of those loans (if he got a degree) and he should consider it an investment in his own future. Don't you think it's a bit strange that his whole pitch is "Buy My Future"? Because I think it is. He already bought his future - on credit - and now he's got to pay it back.

This isn't about being uncharitable or not helping one's fellow man. This isn't about asking strangers for help == BAD!!. This is about helping those who help themselves.

The difference between this guy and so many other (successful) pleas for $$$ is that his is really, almost disturbingly, vague. One gets the sense that he's filled with idealism and has dreams for a better world. Okay. That describes about 95% of the 22-year-olds I've ever known, including even myself at that age. One can still be idealistic and care about the world and have a job. One can still help humankind while paying one's bills. It's possible. It is not selling out.
posted by contessa at 6:27 AM on March 23, 2004


I would not sacrifice my chance to get the best education available over lack of money. No one should face that choice, and should I ever reach a position of any influence, I intend to change the system so that no one ever does.


help! my eyes just rolled into the back of my head and won't pop back out!
posted by glenwood at 11:43 AM on March 23, 2004


Hey, I owe twice what this bloke does from going to law school (everyone assured me it was a "good idea" and "guaranteed a bright future") and I have been unemployed for over a year. I say let him live in the real world for a while. So he wants to make the world a better place instead of going to a cube every day and working for The Man? Boo-fu*king-hoo.
Let him get up at 6 A.M. every day, put on some khakis, a polo shirt, and an ID tag, and get down on his knees and thank the powers that be he at least has the opportunity to slave away and pay off his loans in 20 years rather than digging ditches or living in a maximum security lockup for robbing a liquor store. Jesus Christ! "I don't want to pay my loans, I want some touch-feely career that makes me feel all warm inside." He hasn't even *started* to pay his loans yet - they're still in deferment! What a little fuckwad. The sooner this assclown gets a clue and realises how the real world works, the better. It should be a crime for anyone to give him money.
posted by sixdifferentways at 12:01 PM on March 23, 2004


I would not sacrifice my chance to get the best education available over lack of money. No one should face that choice, and should I ever reach a position of any influence, I intend to change the system so that no one ever does.


help! my eyes just rolled into the back of my head and won't pop back out!


Glenwood, you should have contented yourself with chuckling madly the way I did.
posted by orange swan at 12:26 PM on March 23, 2004


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