Twelve 20-somethings chronicle their lives for WBUR. Learn more.
I’m 23, hearing all sorts of stories about 1 percent problems, and identifying with none of them.
If it wasn’t for deferments and forbearance, I’d be paying $850 a month in student loans. So, all the financial advice for people my age from economists or people who never had to struggle — yeah, it’s pretty much all moot.
I went to college in Springfield, Massachusetts, and graduated in 2011 from Western New England College (now University). Now I live in Burlington, Vermont, in a telecommuting job, just barely able to pay off an $850 a month student loan bill, rent, phone, car insurance, etc., with a $24,000 a year job. Okay, I’m employed; I have a job that for many would be gem. The thing is, though, more than half of my income goes into loans.
That sounds pretty typical. What’s not so typical is my telecommuting job.
I do marketing, advertising, and data entry — all for one firm that does pretty well for itself and is very accepting. But I can’t afford anything larger than a tiny apartment, with my “office” being two feet from my bed, and it’s the same area where I typically socialize. It’s rather isolating and, while I’m proud of what I do and get encouraged to keep working on social media when I see a post or a blog or a tweet go viral, there are no co-workers, there’s no one looking over my shoulder, and there’s little to no social interaction period.
When my girlfriend is around, it’s easier, but when I’m in the same room for around 23 hours a day and I’m trying to save money by holding off on cafe or bar expenses, any interaction with more than maybe one or two “real” people in a given day is tedious.
There are days when the actual physical isolation that this causes has an impact on my work — and the occasional email from a boss saying I need to double-check and focus more on details.
From any standpoint, the idea of being “stuck” creates a few thoughts. From mine, it’s the standpoint of having a decent-paying job and being able to do nothing but work and sit. I can’t afford to relocate, nor can I save money, and I’m definitely the victim of inadequate dissemination of information from the private-college and private-loan system. If anything, the only personal skill I’ve been able to develop in the last 14 months since graduating from college is how to run a moderately popular blog.