There’s been a lot of talk about academic bubbles lately (I’ve been mulling over another post on them), but this comment is quite astute:

I usually avoid talking about my pecuniary circumstances, but the current economic climate combined with trends towards increasing reliance on temporary faculty makes the public relevance of my private situation clear. Indeed, sometimes I wonder at just how much in the mainstream of American economic thinking I was, when I set out to become a historian. Sure, doing a Ph.D. set me apart from those who focussed their efforts on maximizing income. But my decision was informed by the same boundless optimism that fed the housing bubble. The biggest difference? The law does not allow one to walk away from student loans when the thing one obtained through them has less value than the original purchase amount.

Unlike the writer of the post, I’m one of the lucky ones who did land a tenure-track job, so perhaps it is in bad taste for me to even comment. I just would like to point out that landing the TT job does not make the student loan situation disappear. There’s a reason academics jokingly refer to student loan payments as their second, nicer home. When you have friends from high school who never went to college but still make way more than you do, jokes are just about all you can afford to make.