My name is Jen. I have a BFA and an MFA. My dream was to teach at university level but three years after graduating I am 99,000.00 in debt and have barely made minimum wage at part time jobs. What shocks me more than my lack of employment that will support a basic life and allow me to pay back my loans, are the stories I hear from others in extreme debt. People who looked to education to move UP in the world and because of a variety of life circumstances and because of the outrageous way student loans are managed they can not get ahead. People are hiding in shame. Shame should NEVER be the emotion we feel for simply wanting an education. I am a video installation artist and I am working on a public art project to raise awareness about the insane re payment structure that we navigate as we try to pay back our loans. Had I been informed about this payment system PRIOR to going to school I would NOT have gone. I personally was lied to by my admissions counselor and now I am doing the only thing I can which is to bring the issue forward in my way. I am SEEKING professional adults who are willing to be interviewed by me regarding their student loan payment (non payment) stories and the way they have to navigate life to manage the debt. The stories are only audio, identities will be protected. I know how sensitive this is and I personally have experienced public shaming by people who think paying for an education is stupid. I have been shamed on social media, by my family, by my CPA and even fellow students who say “If you arent good enough for a scholarship you should not pay for school” I love my education. I believe I needed it more than anything to grow as a teacher, an artist and a human. Please message me if you have a story you think is compelling. Do not write your story in the thread. Please message me here and we will arrange to connect. Thank you for your willingness to share.