COLUMN: Dear America, lower your cost of living


Katja Benz

Katja Benz, Columnist

If you don’t make it to the bottom of my articles, I’m an English major. I know what you’re thinking: “Oh, she wants to teach.”

There are so many connotations of English majors. The biggest two are that we’ll be teachers or that we’ll be so poor that we have to work at Starbucks.

Most English majors I know don’t want to end up teaching. My concentration is professional writing which is basically the English version of a marketing degree.

I want to be an academic advisor, which means I’ll end up going to graduate school. I plan on taking some time off before moving to the city where my school is.

Graduate school, especially the places I’m going to apply to, is astronomically expensive. And that’s only for two to three years of school.

After I graduate from grad school, I plan on moving to the general Washington D.C. area. That area of the country has a cost of living so expensive that I might have to live with five other roommates just to afford rent.

That’s a problem. And I don’t think I’m the only one noticing.

I know that I won’t be able to afford to live in Washington D.C. alone. And the cost of living keeps going up.

I’ve noticed that our generation is becoming really educated. You’re probably wondering what that has to do with the cost of living.

Because we have to pay to go to college, most of us are going into some form of debt just to be here. And because we’re in debt, we have to pay money (that includes interest) back.

What’s interesting is that we were told to go to college and get in debt just to get a good-paying job. One that may not pay us enough money to even live.

In one of my English classes last week, we talked about the versatility of an English degree. It is one of the degrees where you can go into the workforce and get a decent-paying job.

However, not all degrees are like that. A good number of my friends want to be speech pathologists, which requires a graduate degree to practice.

Because of that, all some students do is take out endless streams of money for student loans that they will end up paying back for the rest of their lives.

Sometimes I wonder why our country thinks that is okay. If they can’t pay students enough money when they transition into the real world, then why are they asking us to take out so much?

I don’t want to take out money just because our country refuses to help us. I would rather work to live than live to work, even though that’s what our country seems to thrive on.

Why can’t America meet students halfway? If we live in a country where all men are created equal, then I don’t understand how we are equal if students are so behind.

Katja Benz is a junior English major and Spanish minor. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]