Every year, I watch the State of the Union address to hear progress that may be applicable to the United States as a whole but has no bearing on my personal life. The theme of unity and social mobility is echoed in speech after speech no matter if the speaker is a Republican or a Democrat.
Undoubtedly, Obama will remark that the economy is growing, that unemployment is falling, and that student loan reform is on the way. As an American, I can’t help but get excited by this rhetoric. Long after the applause is over, the political pundits have chimed in, and the other side delivered its wet blanket retort, I am left alone wondering why everything I have heard has no relevance to my life.
As an overqualified, over-educated, wizard with too many degrees, I can’t get a job, I can’t get an interview, and I don’t see any relief in sight for my student loans. Where are these jobs that are being created? Who are these HR managers who are doing their job sending out invitations to interview? When will I stop paying compound interest on my loans?
Before feeling too sorry for myself, I remind myself that the State of the Union address is an exercise in political populism and that the message sent is directed at the masses who I hope have found better luck in their job applications than I have with mine. I remind myself that I have the tools and wherewithal to start my own company, to charter my own course, to define my own success. This eagerness is short-lived, as I receive a payment reminder of my astronomical student loan bill. Rather than investing it in my own business, I have to pay it back to the government which raises its own debt ceiling at the expense of mine.
This tax on entrepreneurs is a cruel joke. I was sold the dream that education would equate to advancement only to find out that I am actually in debtor’s prison, and there’s no way I can pass go and collect $200, no matter how many times I roll the dice.