Quarterlife+


Dear Albright College

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Franklin on June 28, 2015
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Dear Albright College,

Yes, I know it has been quite some time since I’ve strolled through your campus. Still, you’ve been on my mind quite a bit lately. That tends to happen when you’re seeking employment. Am I unemployed? No. Am I underemployed? Perhaps, but that’s neither here nor there. What I want to talk about is us.

As with any past relationship, I cannot discredit the benefit of hindsight. My thoughts of you from when I attended at the tender age of 17 until now are vastly different. To be honest, I feel different about you now than I did even a year ago. Has being 30 given me a new perspective? It has on a few things, actually. You indoctrinated me with the concept of possessing a different way of thinking. That is the path that you set me on, and I have yet to diverge.

Having changed my degree focus an ungodly amount of times, I quickly realized there was no way I could afford to stay in our relationship beyond the time we’d mutually agreed upon. It would have been unhealthy, unwise, and under no circumstances economically possible. To the surprise of many, even myself, I cranked out enough credits for an English degree and nearly a minor in Women’s Studies (pure happenstance).

I thought that you would like to know that I’ve been okay since our breakup. I’ve heard about you, and I know that you’ve been flourishing. You’re not the only one who has grown. You see, I did learn a great deal from you. I received my M.A. and believed that I was headed on to a Ph.D. Imagine, I would one day be a colleague of the fine professors who helped me grow as an academic and a person. This was thrilling to me until I reached the final months of my 2-year Master’s program and realized I couldn’t care less. That different way of thinking came back to bite me in the butt. I suddenly had no desire to turn into my peers-rapidly approaching 30 having no life experience outside of cranking out papers and grades. I at least wanted to have one real non-academic job under my belt.

You gave me the courage to walk away despite hearing that “We need more Black academics.” We also need more people who don’t hate what they’re doing everyday.

What did I do? I really thought out of the box. I started working at a daycare. I wasn’t even sure if I liked kids! There I met some of the nicest people. They were adults who had lived outside of academia. They were real life. They were what I was missing. I miss them, though I am still in contact with a couple of them. Did I apply to Ph.D. programs? Yes–in another field. Did I get in? Yes. Did I go? No. Another lesson that I learned from you was a financial one: Don’t do things you can’t afford.

As much as I love you for training me to be a critical thinker, oh how I wish someone had helped me to think critically when I took out $30,000 in loans from Sallie Mae. When I sat in the Student Accounts Office, desperate not to abandon my academic journey, why didn’t someone say that I was making a huge mistake? Why didn’t someone tell me that just because I could take out those loans without a co-signer didn’t mean that I should? Why didn’t someone level with me once I did stay with a major in the humanities and tell me that I could get an English degree anywhere? Instead of the shock that I had been approved, why not tell me to immediately give those funds back and make a smarter decision that would benefit me later in life. It would’ve hurt to hear, but it wouldn’t have hurt nearly as bad as my current monthly payments to Sallie Mae–I’m sorry, Navient.

The irony is that if I don’t somehow make it big as a writer, I’ll go to my grave with these debts. Do I blame you? No. While you did have a part in it, as we were in this together, I was the one who signed on the dotted line. I was young and in love with the idea of all that you could offer.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to think my way into a better economic situation. It’s funny. That’s actually the mindset of most people nowadays. Many of us yearn for economic stability. Time will tell how many of us actually achieve it. That’s why I’m counting on you, Albright education, to help me to stand out from the pack. That is what you do owe me.

Love Always,

Ashley

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