Week XV

Final week!

I can’t believe it’s over! It still feels like I just started yesterday, the semester having flown by. Although, overall, I definitely don’t want to experience this semester as a whole again. It’s been a difficult one! But I do feel like I have learned quite a lot, especially about my study style and what works best for me. This internship has made me a better writer and more appreciative of history.

In general, most people seem to find history boring and full of reading. I have to admit, in some years at school, I felt the same way. While I love reading, we’d learn about the same topics over and over in school, and I don’t know if it was just me or the way the material was presented, I was never really interested. Taking a few history courses at Loyola, though, and especially this internship, have made me appreciate history and realize how it is connected to the present.

Take my research topic, for example. Several of us wonder why we have to pay so much for college, and we borrow loans at a set interest rate that’s threatened to double every July for the past few years. I am glad I took the next step and actually looked into where and how it started, because  understanding the origin of the problem can help you find a solution. As I’ve stated previously, and probably bored to death any and all readers–the Higher Education Act had some unintended consequences. The more money the government gave to colleges, the greedier they became, raising their tuition for they knew that students would still attend, and the government would still provide aid. Colleges have taken advantage of this fact, and tuition continues to rise, with no sign of rates dropping anytime soon.

My research showed that this all started back in 1965, and it is the reason the burden continues to be placed on students–because we’re the ones benefitting the most from higher education, and are willing to pay whatever price it takes. Personally, I was ready to attend even higher-costing universities if I would’ve been accepted, even though the price tags are unaffordable. As my high school guidance counselor told my dad and I in consolation–it’s an investment. That’s quite true, in many ways.

But it still is quite a burden to carry-I’m neither rich nor poor, and I personally don’t even have a job. But the truth is, I’m in debt. Yes, I don’t have to pay that money yet, but I’m a junior in college, and in a few years, I will be expected to have a job (in this economy) and to start paying off my student loans. Technically, I’m in debt. Yes, this will pay off in the future, and yes, this is a necessity. But this necessity that LBJ alluded to in 1965 and meant to make accessible for all–is now a luxury for many. Our Congressmen (and women) had good intentions, as did LBJ–but they did not think of the unintended consequences of their actions. And today, we’re paying for it.

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