Today I played a small role in someone's decision making when choosing where to receive a graduate degree. My friend and I have talked briefly about my student loan situation. I don't talk about it too much, but I occasionally make some sort of negative comment about it from time to time and she just happened to remember me saying something. She had the choice to go to Austin Peay or Belmont University. Once grants and other financial help was considered, she would graduate Austin Peay with less than $10k in loans and graduate from Belmont with almost $40k. She would add this to an undergrad loan of about $40k. She fully understood the cost difference, but was unsure about the name recognition. She wants the best education so she wonders if the $30k difference is worth the name drop? NO WAY. I talked to her about basically everything I have said here in my blog, but just in a nutshell. After telling her that Belmont's name has done nothing for me, and a little bit of advice from others at work who have the same bills piling on their counters, she decided to choose Austin Peay.
I felt a victory dance coming on, but restrained myself once I realized there was one less person to share my boat with. Is that a bad or good thing? Good for my friend not to jump in the sinking boat with me, but bad for the rest of us who have one less person on our ship to send out non responsive distress calls from the middle of the ocean to alert whoever will listen that we are slowly sinking and will surely drown soon. Maybe there are power in numbers, maybe not in this case, I don't know. But today I feel like my mistakes have helped someone I care about not do the same thing. And that, my friends, is winning!