Have a great summer, ill see yinz at Hems

Well here it is guys the last assignment and the night before our last class. Its almost unbelievable that this course is already coming to a close. I guess ive been so busy over the past 6 weeks that, until now, I haven’t taken the time to step back and think about everything that has happened. When I first transferred to Pitt and started piecing together my schedule for the next 4 years of my life I cringed at the sight of a W intensive class. Needless to say I have pushed this requirement back to the very last semester that I possibly could. Now, 4 years later, I can look back over every other class I have taken and say that this is the very first class that I wouldn’t mind coming back to after its over. A part of me wonders why I didn’t schedule the W class sooner and the other part of me is really glad that I waited this long and got to have this experience alongside all of you. That being said I will second Mikes words and say Thank You! It really was a great time and very rarely felt like a chore to sit through class and complete the work. Not to mention snacks!

Before attending this class I had never written a blog post or even considered making a Twitter tweet. The blog posting, reading, and the knowledge gained because of it was definitely a plus. However, I really felt that the unifying experience brought fourth through Twitter greatly enhanced the classroom experience far exceeding any other resource like Pitt mail or Courseweb. Just like Mohammad said in his last post I found myself looking through Twitter and getting lost in peoples posts and research far beyond what I ever would have done otherwise.

Over the years I have had more experience with the course material than I would have ever liked to, but I still I feel as though my knowledge was barely skimming the surface. I like to consider myself to be someone with considerable street smarts and that I am well aware of what is going on around me, but after everything that I have learned this semester Im really reconsidering that. The focus of the class has literally been surrounding me for years and although I was always questioning the bigger picture I never took the time to really look into anything below the surface. I was always too focused on the small role that revolved around my life and was never able to see beyond that into the lives of adjunct professors, rise in administrators, academic finances, etc. Not only did the research have a big impact on me but every different opinion and perspective that each of you brought to the classroom was also eye opening. Similar to what Danielle said earlier this will be the first non-technical elective that I feel the need to continue learning about and try to do my part to make a change.

Noel, thanks for putting up with me, the great atmosphere and an unusual but very effective classroom experience. Not to mention snacks! You were awesome and I wish you the best luck with your new family. Everyone else, good luck with your undergrad careers and finding your place in Industry or Academia, but more importantly thanks for the great experience. I couldn’t have asked for a better class to take during my last semester at Pitt. I plan to leave my Twitter account active at least until it dies down but hopefully some of you guys stay in touch! If not im sure ill run into you at Hems at some point, just don’t hold it against me if I don’t remember.

Have a great summer

~Greg

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Greg Hannah – Blog Post 3

Due to technical difficulties, which is usually user error. woops. I wasn’t able to post any blogs before although it appeared as tho I could. But Noel fixed the issue so here ya go.

Greg Hannah
Blog Post #3 6-7-2015

The Pedagogy of Debt brings to light some very real and disturbing fears that are associated with attending modern universities. In the essay Williams states that it took him 2o years to pay off his student debt and that he was 50 years old when this happened. The thought of being in debt from the time of graduation until a 50th birthday is a frightening reality. Consider an average student that attends college right out of high school and takes 5 years to complete an undergraduate degree which leaves the student roughly 23 years old when they graduate. Considering also the average time to pay off student debt, “research has shown the average bachelor’s degree holder takes 21 years to pay off his or her loans”.¹ Taking this into account the person in question would pay off their student debt at age 44. Additionally consider the average age of an American citizen is 79 years old according to the World Health Association.² Combining this information the average lifespan after graduation is 79-23=56 years, (21/56)*100%=37.5%, therefore the average American spends approximately 38% of their life after college paying off their student debt. Personally those are terrifying statistics. This result also creates a large portion of Americans who are delaying very important milestones in their lives because of this overwhelming weight of student debt that is squandering their lives. Buying a new car, buying a house, having children, every facet of life after college has less potential to happen successfully because of the years that it takes to pay off student debt.

Also in the Pedagogy of Debt Williams introduced some more extreme situations where 14% of debt holders are 40,000 in debt. Often times, and myself included, when reading about issues such as student debt it is easily to get lost in all of the statistical data that is presented in certain documents and studies. The underlying fact here is that most of the resources discuss average amounts and average time spans. Compounding on the previous paragraph and introducing some more extreme debt levels of 40,000 and into the hundreds of thousands for some graduate students makes me wonder what the percentage is for student debt holders who cannot possibly afford to pay off student debt in their lifetimes. That’s a pretty overwhelming idea to think about let alone actually live through.

Recently, while doing some research for an infographic that I am completing for a summer writing course in which I am enrolled; I came across some compelling comparative information to visualize just how bad the student debt issue is. The total student debt in America is 1 Trillion dollars. 1 Trillion dollars is almost impossible for our brains to fathom so the idea was to come up with some visual comparisons for just how much money that really is. The first visual comparison was that of a football field. If one were to cover a football field with 100 dollar bills and then stack that approximately 10 feet high that would amount to approximately 1 trillion dollars.³ The most alarming comparison however involved just 1 dollar bills which is in my opinion a better way to visualize the amount. If one were to stack single one dollar bills not end to end or anything but flat on top of one another the stack of 1 trillion bills would go approximately 1/4th of the way to the moon. Now that’s allot of money, an astronomical amount if you will.

1) http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/data-mine/2014/10/07/student-loan-expectations-myth-vs-reality

2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

3) http://www.wired.com/2011/09/stacking-one-trillion-dollars