In case you’re going through the same thing, private student loan debt blows. Current students, beware private student loans, my advice don’t do it.

Sometimes, you may only have your voice to get you to the next step, so here’s mine. I hope it helps any of us going through this to get some decent answers.

I know that my education was one of the steps in where I am today. But, was it worth it? What path would I have taken without it? If I were propesctive student today, I would be very wary. If you do, my advice as an alumni with two degrees is – do not take any private loans – unless of course you are planning on leaving the country. That’s the majority of the advice I’ve received (and from a lawyer that I spoke with today), wtf U.S. of A.? I will get past this, I will figure something out, I am determined to. But, if you know something that I should, please tell me! (You can also email me here at cashish at tippytippens dot com if you prefer)

I know I’m not the only one and I know it’s embarrassing and so stressful. I never thought I would be here, I’ve been paying them off since 2005. So, I am writing this for all of us & I hope that it helps gets some answers & collectively we could be less bullied and harrassed while trying to pay off our weighty debt in a shitty economy. Please let’s make this clear, I’m not trying to get out of my student debt, I am only trying to pay them at a human rate.

So – this link is the best I have at this point, thanks bills.com: check it out if you’re in need of help too & trying to figure out what the hell to do.

Background:

Unfortunately, my student loans were on the graduated repayment plan & monthly payments grew to $800 right at the time I was starting a new business. I was able to put my federal loans in income based deferment eventually, but the private loans won’t do anything. ANYTHING. My private loans were also purchased three times from my original lender (citibank) to new ‘lenders’ and landed most recently at Discover Student Loans. A couple of months ago, I spoke again with one of the employees at Discover (a different person each time, different info each time) she told me to call back in several weeks. I did so & found that my loans had been ‘charged off’ in the meantime despite 9 months left of forbearance.

I requested to get them back from collections and into forbearance, this was denied. *Also, during one of these calls, Discover wanted me to pay them $2500 that day, after talking with two people on the phone for over an hour, he looked again & saw that my loans had already been discharged. Where would that money have gone?

Now, I have debt collectors after me, for a total of $25,000. Payment due immediately. One collector (Williams & Fudge for United Guaranty) has allowed me to request my original promissory notes thank goodness. *This was possible due to their knowledge of one collecting company holding on to debts that should have been discharged, but still seeking collection – really? This person was kind of enough to put my account on hold during the time that it takes to retrieve them to ensure that I wouldn’t be double collected upon. In the meantime, I was advised to find a lender, possibly credit union to negotiate the total due for a lump sum payment or to negotiate monthly payments at 4 years in the meantime.

HOWEVER, The second was not informative in the least and only bullied me from the start (Sunrise Credit Services for Arrowood Indemnity), I was informed by this person that she was my assigned agent & that I had 3 days to give $12,000 until my assets would be under investigation. She flippantly advised me to charge it to my credit card. I requested another agent & she told me I was stuck with her, after an hour on the phone going in circles for her sake of covering her company’s ass on the recorded call, I requested to have another agent assigned to me. Fingers crossed for tomorrow that will go through & that person will be more helpful.

Also, I tried to find a lawyer to help advise me. None of them want to take your case because they say the cases stretch out and besides the reason you’re in default is because you don’t have any money, so, they won’t make any money off of you & it’s just not worth it. The one that I spoke to today basically went on a personal rate about the size of the federal gov’t and advised that I should best leave the country so that they can’t track me down anymore.

Background 2:

In 2005, I graduated from Pratt Institute with a grad degree in Industrial Design. At the time in NYC, the economy completely sucked post 9-11. It was incredible, with my new $90,000 degree, jobs from Pratt’s career center paid me $8/hr less than I got paid before I went to grad school. I felt very lucky after several months to get a good job with the Kohler Company & was able to pay off my credit card debt accumulated while in school/broke afterwards and could pay my student loans every month A-OK. I worked there for 3 years and also saved some money, also a good thing. After about 3 years for various personal reasons which we could discuss in private someday, I decided to leave for freelancing and consulting. In doing so, I moved to Virginia and then again to NYC to do so. Unfortunately, then the economy dropped out (2008) everything locked up and making a decent living became really difficult.

Fast forward a couple of years later, post BP Spill and I have since started a business dedicated to helping raise funding and knowledge for our most pressing social and environmental needs. My company, Matter Inc., has donated $18,000 to GRN & IBRRC for their continued work for restoration post BP oil spill disaster. Matter is growing and has so many good ideas in the pipeline ready to help the next social & environmental needs. We just need to get past this student debt hump and on to the next things.

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A life treat to see the Dalai Lama speak in New Orleans yesterday

Yesterday I bicycled over to UNO with dear friends to hear the Dalai Lama speak. Points discussed were: Compassion, connection, equality, fairness, gratitude, peace, hope, unpretentiousness, appreciation, enjoyment, & laughing. I wish that the Dalai Lama could be global president.

Dalai Lama

He spoke often of dealing with things in life with a calm center, his analogy was like the sea – the waves on the top can be turbulent, but down below there is always calm. Also of not creating expectations, which lead to disappointment. I have tried to eliminate expectations over the years and have found to be so much happier without them.

One of the questions from citizens of New Orleans at the end of the talk asked, ‘Do you have doubt and how do you deal with it?’ His reply involved looking at problems from many perspectives, preparing yourself mentally for problems that will arise, and keeping your calm center. If your mind is at peace you can best consider varied perspectives.

He also laughed frequently during the talk, filled with such true joy and appreciation. So humble and wishing to be treated like a human, as we all are together he reinstated multiple times, we are people. Everyone one of us around the world is born from a mother and will one day die, no one is better than another. And that this should extend to all parts of the world, animals and the earth treated with respect.

Another great question from New Orleans was, “In a world with so many troubles, how do you remain an optimist?’ He replied, ‘There is no other choice.’

Thank you Dalai Lama for a wonderful gift, I hope that all of our world leaders will be more like you.

Gandhiwarming noted in the GOOD 100

Just recently I have been featured in GOOD Magazine as part of 2013’s GOOD 100. While checking out the print issue I noticed with glee! this at the lower portion of the page of her feature – LOVE! Go go Team gandhiwarmer, can’t wait to do this again this year.

gandhiwarmer in GOOD

The time is here, we can’t go farther, our twentieth amendment is needed now.

Yesterday, December 14th, 2012, has driven me to write, it’s honestly rare. As soon I heard the news in the morning I wept and my brain scanned for a place for logic to rest. 28 people were shot, point blank by one 20 year old while at school, most of them of the ages five through ten? In order to function during the day, I avoided the constant reports by the news and also, facebook. Seeing my friends’ posts, especially those that are parents sharing their voices of anger and frustration, seeing the terror for their own children. Obama cried during his press conference about this happening. Today, I am bumping around in my brain confused, looking for some decent questions to begin with.

With each new incident, our politicians in an effort to be diplomatic in times of crisis, say this is not the time to discuss gun control. Can a weirder statement be made? If our elected ‘leaders’ choose to put on blinders, then it leaves it to us to take the lead. The point where we moved to not allow this to happen anymore must be marked. The tragic shootings that happen each day and the school shootings that have now happened at all grade levels K – college. No one wants to imagine the fear that the children at Sandy Hook Elementary felt yesterday, no child should have to be brave. Unfortunately, children are brave everyday around our globe and yesterday our nation’s violence problem made very young children in Connecticut be brave and feel the worst kind of fear.

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I see many posts of anger & hope that we are more than poised to draw the line. Now the question is, how do we best move forward in our era? How do we put our anger to good use? Do we march, do we type, do we create paper & digital petitions? How do we bust through the lobbyists protecting the business of firearms? Do we have to form a super pac? Yes, I did just google ‘how to create an amendment to the constitution‘. Do we have to start there?

Yesterday, I also saw Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ a dramatic peephole into the events of a brave president and the 13th amendment’s approval. Can Obama take the lead for the 20th? Now, in 2012, we are requiring new kinds of freedoms. The right to bear arms is a very different need now in 2012, than it was in 1791. Why is it so hard to admit that? Why can’t we also admit that our society is creating some undeniably tortured and emotionally unhappy people? People that feel personally distraught enough to both commit suicide and kill the person seen as the cause, without the thought of murdering additional multiple people surrounding that one person at any age providing any blocks to their action. This is a war of a different kind, a personal, emotional war. The gun and the murders as their voice.

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I can’t help but think of Howard Beale in ‘Network’ shouting – “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”. Now, 35 years later, opening our windows and shouting out into the streets still seems like a pretty good option. How? & I’m really asking, how do we organize to dramatically reduce the extreme violence occuring daily in a country that though involved in wars around the globe, does not have a war between countries taking place on its own soil.

Should we ask for help from other countries & experts, while of course taking into account the multiplicities and unique aspects to the people in our country? What do we need to stop gun violence from happening? I do believe that there are new solutions for everything.

Personally, Andy Borowitz’s of the New Yorker summary resonated with me: ‘Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I wish mental health care were as easy to get as, say, a gun.’ Today, can we, as a nation lift whatever veils that we are wearing to pretend that this isn’t happening and switch gears to collaborate on changing it? Can we please begin to even utter the words ‘mental health’, ‘gun control’, and ‘government’ without our brains reverting to 1791?

Why do we have such a stigma in our society against even the term ‘mental health’? Why is it, that if we simply speak those words there is something wrong with our brains? I am 38 years old, I have a master’s degree, and I am able to admit that I get confused sometimes and could use another’s perspective to sort things out in my brain. Why is that bad or why can’t I admit that I’m not emotionally perfect – who is? In our society of media flooding, opinions and options galore, violent video games, huge financial divides… how can we all be expected to be on the same plane? How can we get our leaders to admit and accept that our country has a problem with gun violence and emotional health? How can we let finding the answers to these questions, in their many shades of grey, be the lead instead of just saying no, no don’t change. People love to say no without giving an alternate or a no, because. We have to find those ‘becauses’ to find some solutions to move forward. It’s time to hold hands on this one and take it on.

My heart goes out to everyone affected by yesterday’s shootings. Right now, it’s all we can do, but I want do more & I know that others do too. So please, I welcome your insights & thoughts – let’s battle our differing opinions out so that we can prevent more of yesterday’s shooting at a school and all of the shootings that happen each day. Let’s actually let ourselves see the hope for a day that they don’t happen any more & start the work to make it really happen.

So, let’s do this – What are your thoughts on how to end gun violence & have a better emotional health in the u.s.? And  I’m in.

Some relevant links – Lessening of gun laws around the nation.

Article by a mother of a son with mental health issues. – ‘I am Adam Lanza’s Mother’

 

I am in love with this.. the individual sounds of plants and trees

I have some new favorite words to go along with my current fave ‘social entrepreneurship’ [which I learned upon meeting social entrepreneurship students at Tulane during my first visit to New Orleans]: ‘soundscape ecology’ ‘acoustic ecology‘ & ‘acoustic geology’

From BLDGBLOG:

“So, add the sounds of plants, molds, and root networks, of soil itself and groundwater, of shifts in air pressure and humidity and even the underlying deep geologic structures that support all that living terrain in the first place, and an intensely interesting sonic portrait of terrestrial ecosystems takes shape, mutating through complex blurs and inflection points over time, its parts weaving in and out symphonically.”

Thinking about all of the sounds of plants and trees and dirt underneath all of the manmade swirl is so very comforting. To core sample these sounds which are completely specific per location.. pardon me while I go daydream, I have a new idea crush.

Desk Set – I’d rather call the reference room..

and give up google any day, simply for the sweet charm of it. For real. At the beginning of the film, the ‘Reference Room’ looks so cozy, I want to snuggle up in there for days and wish for rain, pouring through the delicious stockpiles of invigorating information! If you haven’t seen it, do! It’s my new fave – just watched it while making birds and I got that high after seeing a great movie, it left me with a smile on my face and if you have netflix – it’s on ‘watch instant’! Desk Set! It’s up there with ‘It happened one night’ in my book and the massive computer spazzing out is pretty cute too. Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy are totally endearing.

physicist looks at our city as equation – we use 11,000 watts..

hunter and gatherer 250 watts, great article in the times via @r.otten love thinking about the city’s infrastructure and an urban metabolism..

way cool! article for deletion visualizations..

for wikipedia on notabilia.net! highlight each ‘curly thread’ on the large visualizations to see each topic considered, such as smurf communism or list of common misconceptions!