I’m 27 years old. For as long as I could remember, I was told that college was the path to success, the ONLY path to success. When I was in high school I began to question this and explore other options, but I was shamed and guilt tripped by my family until I agreed to go to college.
I flunked out of one college and tried another. And another. And another. I have been enrolled in 4 different colleges. Every time I signed another FAFSA form, every time I filled out another class schedule, every time I moved my stuff into another dorm room, I knew, deep down, in my heart, in my blood cells, that this was wrong for me.
College was wrong for me in the same way that a woman is wrong for a gay man. College was wrong for me in the same way a fish tank is the wrong environment for an elephant. It’s nothing personal, colleges are nice enough places with a lot of really great people, but it was deeply incompatible with who I am. I spent years stuffing down who I really am.
Now I know. I actually found my calling - it’s direct action, public service, weirdo do-gooding. I’ve never been happier or more fulfilled in my entire life. But my “career” doesn’t really earn any money. I accept donations, I have a pay pal button. And that’s enough.
One of my student loan providers has begun calling my family members (and one family friend) to try and track me down. I don’t have a mailing address anymore. I returned their phone call and told them, politely, that as I now believe education to be a fundamental human right, like food, water, shelter, and healthcare, I do not recognize my debts as legitimate and I have no plans to pay them.
I don’t imagine this will go over well with my family. I am not happy about the idea of them receiving more phone calls, but I’m not going to pay $4000 or $6000 or $10,000 just to end the phone calls. I could do much better things with that kind of money, if I had it. Whatever money I do get, I use to feed people and spread kindness.