Why we pay attention to the depressing and disputing decades of generations past is something that I have no interest in whatsoever. And as a sophomore student, I would sit in a dull and dreary History class Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 8:00-8:50 every week of my spring semester, I couldn’t help but lose track of my thoughts that were supposed to be directed in the path of the American Revolution, or the War of 1812.
As I stared at the pages of a textbook who knew how many centuries old, and long as well, I did however come to the conclusion of something that was similar in my life, as well of in hundreds, if not thousands of Americans from years past.
I am an indentured servant.
Being defined as someone who was under contract to a differing employer for a certain number of years, usually three to seven, an indentured servant was someone who received food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and anything else they needed for a period of time, when in fact, they would then be in debt to whomever they had signed a contract with for a number of years following. There were even legal contracts regarding being an indentured servant. It wasn’t an oral agreement just saying that you would work for someone for a period of time. This in fact, was an ultimate pinky promise, with you committing yourself to work, and signing at the bottom, all so that one day, you could be released and try to start a new life on your own.
Wasn’t that what I was? An indentured servant? As a student, I almost fell into the exact same category as those tough guys from the past. By signing a written, formal contract with FAFSA and Wells Fargo, I received the funds, through a student loan, to pay for my food, clothing, shelter, possible transportation, late night Dr. Pepper runs, cheap couches, bowling in Mesquite on the weekends, and anything else that a college student lives off of.
Subsidized interest rates being my friend is a benefit, and the contract not really taking effect until six months following my graduation, I would then be asked to repay the $13,455 dollars that the Government had loaned me for all of those late night cramming sessions, grilled cheese and ranch sandwiches, and tutoring sessions that I would store away for future memories.
With the economy being the way that it is, and the job market being something difficult for a Communication major to just pull a six-figure income out of nowhere from, I would be in debt to Wells Fargo for another 3-7 years, depending on how fast that I could pay off the subsidized student loan. Would that not in fact make me an indentured servant? Heck, I could have been harvesting tobacco in Richmond, Virginia as a Scottish immigrant in the early 1800’s for the same price if I had the chance.
And so as the paint dried slowly on the wall of Room 102, while I stared vacantly at professor who-gives-a-crap using polysyllabic words such as quixotic and sesquipedalian, to describe the settling of the original 13 American colonies, I often wondered if in fact I had any backdoor out of this grand scheme of modern indentured servitude that had been cast on me from Day One that I enrolled in college.
Maybe they did have some kind of stress relief back in the day for individuals who were in a very similar, semi-ridiculous situation as I was. But I really wouldn’t have gotten my stress relief if the only thing I could have done was throw sticks or chase after random dogs. That and kill the redcoats too.
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