I’m back at the local Starbucks in Cedar City, Utah. I generally prefer independently owned coffee shops. The one here closes at 6pm, so I usually find myself here following a post work exercise. Starbucks is consistent, has reliable internet and absolutely zero personality. I can live with it for now, but I’ve promised myself if I start to order in any rendition of Starbucks language, such as “grande soy tall late, shot of vanilla, shake of cinnamon, and light whip,” I will indefinitely remove myself.

Life in the mountains has been good. It’s quiet nature is difficult to describe to others. And the quiet has presented an enormous opportunity to hone a craft of focus and self-introspection. It’s productive and challenging. Each day I find myself doing what I call “cinching” things up. Its my way of pulling the belt a little tighter to remind myself that there is still some fat to trim. The fat represents a variety of things from what I deem wasted time to completing projects that have collected dust for months and even years.

I’m sure it sounds a bit insane and intensely analytical. It is. But while everyone around me is doing juice cleanses and frolicking around town with yoga mats, I’m content with my mountain post and the focus that comes with it.

I came across a Huffington post article, a few weeks ago, that reminded me of a subject I started brewing on when I was traveling around the country two years ago, student debt. At the time I was frequently staying with friends that were still in college, had just graduated or had attended college and were now working. I was able to see a large cross section of society from many different areas in America. I was surprised how often the expenses of education came up and how it related to many peoples choices in life both during their education and after.

I’m a two-time college dropout. The first time was when I was 22 years old and realized how much money I was paying to be there without having a plan, so I left. The second time I started school I was offered a job to be the Editor of Telemark Skier Magazine shortly after I began, and decided school wasn’t worth juggling at the time, so I left. I haven’t been back since. I’m not sure I  can say I understand many other peoples situations than my own, but I try. It interests me. It concerns me that education is very difficult for people to attain because of their financial situation. And the fact that many go into debt seems even more disheartening.

I’m a proponent of education. If you can pay to get one, by all means do. If you can educate yourself through experience and other avenues please do.

So back to the article. You can read it HERE.

Its tough to read about a situation where educational professionals have the ability to profit from increased student debt. It’s angering. What’s more angering is that we’ve created a society where many students make a move from high school into college thinking that debt is simply part of the equation. That it is a necessary evil to attain education in a timely manner. I simply don’t believe that this is true. Nobody has to dig themselves into a hole that will take them 30 years to dig out of afterwards. And in today’s economy many of them are without jobs once they get out — an even sharper pill to swallow.

It seems to me that if we are to remedy this situation we all need to start realizing that no matter how we get from A to B, there is going to be a certain amount of sweat equity and focus that is necessary. I hope that young people start paying attention to things like this and don’t get taken advantage of as they are working to shape their own hopes and dreams into reality. I’d hate to see someones search for profit, become a young person’s ball and chain because they trusted their elders. Stay vigilant and keep moving.

Thanks for checking in.

— JM




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