Student Loan Forgiveness

Today I saw a petition being passed around on Twitter suggesting that a way to stimulate the economy would be to forgive everyone’s student loans. The rationale being that the money that they would have been putting toward student loan payments would be spent elsewhere, generating demand, which would require more workers to create the products to fill that demand. It sounds good on the surface, because hey, who wouldn’t want a couple hundred bucks a month extra to spend?

Maybe it’s because I actually paid off my student loans, but I don’t see something like student loan forgiveness as a good thing. Not only does it punish everyone who managed to pay off their student loans on their own, but it also sends the wrong message to borrowers. By writing off their obligations when times are tough it basically tells them that the promise they made when they signed up for debt doesn’t matter.

I’m not suggesting that there shouldn’t be mercy on those who have lost their jobs and are unable to repay their debts due to hardship. Federally backed loans do have deferment options available and if someone is in a rough place, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with putting off repayment. That said, what was being suggested by the petition in question was that no one should have to repay their student loans because they’re just an inconvenience.

Instead of giving millions of people an easy way out, I think a better solution would be to educate borrowers on the ramifications of the agreement they’re signing up for. I’m not sure how that would work exactly, because I know when I signed up for my student loans at eighteen years old the future seemed like a long way off and I figured that everything would just work out over time. Luckily I wised up and realized that I had a responsibility to fulfill before I went off to indulge in the latest in gadgetry or whatever was on tap down at the local watering hole.

In addition to education about student loans, additional student aid or direct funding to the universities and colleges on the front end would be a much better solution. Instead of wiggling out of their promise after the fact, the student would be borrowing less (or ideally nothing) at the outset. It’s a lot more honest than saying “I just don’t feel like paying you back even though I utilized your service and promised to pay the price you quoted me.”

The economic problem our country faces wasn’t created overnight and the solution won’t come quickly either. Instead of looking for an easy way out, let’s look for long term solutions to while providing relief to those who need it most, not just people looking to buy a new television.

Adopt A Highway

Lehigh Valley Geocachers Adopt A Highway SignToday geocachers from across the Lehigh Valley took part in a “Cache In, Trash Out” (CITO) event. The idea behind CITO is simple, Geocachers love the outdoors, so if we’re out looking for caches and we spot a piece of trash we pick it up and throw it away. Sometimes an area has such a massive litter problem a CITO event is organized so geocachers can clean up as a group.

This past spring the geocachers who go by the name Greyvin took the initiative to adopt the stretch of Route 191 from Route 22 north and planned what would become a recurring CITO. On May 1 a group of over two dozen geocachers met at Lower Nazareth Township Park and over the next few hours proceeded to collect more trash than anyone expected to find along Route 191. It’s amazing what people wil toss along the side of the road.

PennDOT‘s website  says that they want a group to collect trash four times per year along a designated section of adopted highway so today we met for our second CITO along Route 191. Luckily today there was a lot less to pick up, but even after only a few months there were still about three dozen bags of garbage collected just in that two mile segment.

It’s hard to believe that in 2011 how many people still litter, and the number of cigarette butts we saw on the side of the road was beyond disgusting. I realize that it’s possible if you’re driving with the windows open something could accidentally fly out, but the kind of apathy required for someone to intentionally throw trash out of a moving vehicle is something I won’t ever understand.

It’s sad that something like the Adopt A Highway program even needs to exist, but I’m glad that there are groups out there doing what they can to keep our roads clean. Have you ever participated in an Adopt A Highway cleanup? Leave a note in the comments where your adopted highway is located share what your experience was like.

As Ready As I’m Going To Be

Wow, taking a few days off from writing just feels weird. After competing the 90 in 90 challenge I intended to wait until Monday to put up a new post, but after writing every day for three months I just felt incomplete going to bed without putting something, anything up here. Yesterday was a full day for me with volunteering at Lafayette Day in Easton and shopping for household items. I think I’ve gotten to the point where I really can’t do much more to buy for the new house until I actually close on it.

After a lot of research and consulting with friends I picked up a Stihl BG 55 leaf blower, so outdoor power equipment is covered, for now. I have also been trying to pick up odds and ends, but without knowing exact dimensions for things, I don’t want to buy something that won’t end up fitting, no matter how many Bed Bath & Beyond 20% off coupons I amass (seriously, they just keep on sending those things out).

Thanks to my aunt I have two great blue chairs that I plan to put in my living room. They should go with the blue couch and blue and white striped chair I already have. Well, that’s the plan anyway. I guess I’ll have to see how they all look together in the same room. Thanks to a neat room planner feature I found on the Thomasville website I can try arranging my furniture virtually, even if I only have rough dimensions.

Is it September 30th yet?

The End Of The Beginning

Today marks my 90th post in the 90 in 90 challenge. It’s been quite a journey. When I was challenged back in June to take on this project I wasn’t sure what to expect. Initially I had a hard time writing anything at all, believing that what I came up with wasn’t worth saying, and depending on your opinion, you may still think that what I write isn’t worth reading, but you’re here, aren’t you?

I’ve managed to learn a lot through participating in this challenge. Initially it was about getting the blog itself up and running, then as I continued to write I learned more about how to plan out my writing, and ultimately I learned a lot about myself. Posts have covered a wide range of topics. Some updates were me working through my own issues, others were an attempt to help others by sharing things I’ve learned and most recently I’ve been posting about buying a house. I’ll admit, there were some days where I just wrote in order to keep up with the challenge.

Over the course of the challenge there was quite a lot of attrition and I got frustrated with those who dropped out for varying reasons, because I thought if I was able to do it, they should be able to as well. Looking back I realize that this was intended to be a challenge, and by that very definition, not everyone would be able to finish. Everyone had their reasons for starting the challenge and for those that stopped, they had reasons that aren’t anything for me to judge. In the end I decided that I was writing for me, even if at times it was just so I could tell myself that I wasn’t going to fail at the challenge.

I’m glad I decided to participate. I’ve found that it’s gotten easier for me to write in general, even if it’s not much easier to write about myself. I’m still very critical of the quality of my posts, but I’ve finally been able to adopt the mentality that something 90% done and published is better than something 100% complete but never escapes being a draft. Even though the challenge is over I’ve decided that I’m going to keep writing, so I’m looking at this as the end of the beginning as opposed to the end of this blog. I don’t aspire to be a great author, but hopefully one day my writing will at least be on par with Lehigh Valley with Love.

Thank you to everyone who has been supportive through this process. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

A Simple Request

Today I received an email with a simple request:

[University Relations] would like you to write a message from the President of Alumni Society. It would be a few paragraphs. Also, could you include a brief bio of yourself (2-3 paragraphs)?

I would need this information by Oct. 1, 2011.

Please let me know your thoughts

That’s a fair request and I should be honored for being asked to be included in a magazine article, but the first feeling that flowed over me was one of paralyzing fear. Even though I’ve been diligently writing something in my blog every day for months now, when it comes to writing about myself, it’s still painfully difficult.

When I look at that request all I can think of is, “What can I possibly say?” I have no idea what they want me to say as the President of the Alumni Society, let alone what they would want to know about me biographically. The last time I wrote anything on behalf of the Alumni Society I had my grammar criticized like an English teacher with a brand new red pen. I wouldn’t want to embarrass the group with incompetent prose.

So, as the requester asked, what are my thoughts? Well, my initial thought is that I don’t want to do it, at all. Even now, I’m sick to my stomach over it. That said, I know I should do the article, it would be good for me, but I still have no idea what to say.