Ahhh, mid-May to mid-June. It’s graduation SEASON and, depending what calendar your school is on and what year you’re in, supposedly the first day of the rest of your life… and guess what you get to look forward to for the rest of your life – debt!!

Now, over the course of all our lives, each one of us will likely experience debt in some way, shape, or form. It’s this push/pull balancing act that seems ubiquitous in 2014, regardless of social class. And obviously, social class and privilege deeply impact the general tenor of one’s specific push/pull balancing act; however, the fact remains that debt seems to touch 99% of everyone.

And when school’s out bitches, that’s when the debt really comes rolling in…

On May 17, 2014, Zak Cheney-Rice at PolicyMic wrote “The Class of 2014 Just Made History in the Worst Imaginable Way” – for being the most indebted class ever! In fact, the average loan-holding 2014 college UNDERgrad (this is not even touching on grad school) will have to pay back $33,000. That’s up from around $31,000 in 2013 and under $10,000 in 1993. wtf?!!

Here’s a horrifying graph:

b0b82d55940b738ad19595284febd285Image Credit: Mark Kantrowitz/Wall Street Journal


So, more debt each year – bad. But Zak also stated that the number of students taking on debt has increased too. So, put simply, more people are taking on more money. Thus, if these two factors were combined into a 3-dimensional graph over time, it would look like a funnel… or quicksand… with more and more people getting sucked deeper and deeper each passing year. Super ugh.

And then there was this – what undergrads can expect to make via their freshly minted degrees versus what they owe:


Image Credit: Wall Street Journal

I work with numbers and stats quite often, and it’s not everyday you see patterns and relationships like this – unconscionably awful.

After breaking down how these trends will continue for the foreseeable future and offering up some snark-tastic solution options (“rock the vote” haha), Zak ends on the most #smh/glum note ever:

Basically, no one cares about your problems. But take heart, graduates, and consider the silver lining: Your “most indebted” title will almost certainly be overtaken by the class of 2015!

Sadly, I don’t disagree with Zak AT ALL. I’ve worked with students for years. And for years I’ve watched them struggle to pay tuition and stay afloat, get only ok grades and never get to know their professors or universities because of overburden, graduate with a 2.0 and no work experience so they can …work at the mall? This isn’t exactly the way it plays out for more privileged students, for those with a network capable of subsidizing their time and expenses, but most people aren’t in this position.

So what do you do? What should you do?!! Well, I have a few ideas, but the first thing you must do is ask someone who has the job you want and/or works in a field you find interesting what they think…

Need some school advice? Maybe some social justice-informed life advice? Make an appointment for consultation services right here.

* * *

You may quote anything herein with the following attribution: “Reprinted from ChauntelleTibbals.com, copyright © Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, Ph.D.”