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Life Arts    H2'ed 4/30/13

This College Student Attacks Student Debt - with Humor

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My guest today is Dominican University [San Rafael,CA] student, Madison Munson. Welcome to OpEdNews, Madison.


JB: Your brother Alex has been sending around an essay that you wrote recently for a creative writing class.  Can you tell us a bit about that assignment?


MM: The assignment was based on Jonathan Swift's  "A Modest Proposal," which is about poverty in Ireland and the solution being to raise children as a source of food. We had to take a problem in our society that we were passionate about and wanted to fix. We then had to find a solution for it, but it had to be worse than the original problem.

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JB: Great assignment. Why did you choose student debt?


MM: Thousands of students have similar problems with facing a lot of debt as soon as they graduate from college. I am a sophomore and I know that I am not looking forward to graduation for this very reason. The process of getting loans and signing the dotted line that states you will begin making payments within eight months of graduating is a heavy burden for young people to carry.


JB:  How does the looming prospect of student debt affect the majors that your friends are choosing?  How did it affect your choice?

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MM: I have a few friends who either changed their major or transferred schools completely because of the amount of the debt they were in and because they no longer qualified for any loans. I am still trying to figure out how I am going to get a loan for next semester. I was undeclared when I came to Dominican, so when I did pick a major, I picked one that would support many different types of jobs to make it easier for me to apply once I graduate.


JB: And which major was that?


MM: I chose to major in Business and minor in English. As a business major, opportunities for jobs are very broad.


JB: Good. Let's turn now to the premise of your creative writing assignment. Tell us more about that, please.


MM: The solution I chose for the issues with student debt was child sweatshops. In my paper, I stated that if children began working at the age of eight, they could pay off their college tuition by the time they graduated from high school.

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JB: Interesting. How did you come up with this idea? Did you actually crunch numbers or were you playing on the Jonathan Swift theme?


MM: I got the idea to write about student debt while reading an email from the financial department about deadlines that were approaching. The next day, one of my other classes had a discussion on human trafficking. My solution was far worse than the original problem and I thought to myself, "This is so crazy that it just might work." It felt like they were calling my name and asking me to write about them.


JB: Who was calling your name, Madison?

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)
 

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