My name is Jason Bohn and I am posting this because there has been a great deal of chatter about my situation, e.g., “Jason J. Bohn is Screwed” on the AutoAdmit board: http://www.xoxohth.com/thread.php?threa ... forum_id=2
Because much of the aforementioned chatter was either false or incomplete, I felt I needed to set the record straight by publishing the text of my email communications with New York Times reporter David Segal:
Although Mr. Segal has finally corrected his error and Columbia has stopped disclaiming me, significant damage to my reputation has been done. As a result, I have decided that I need to provide a little more context to the New York Times article and its progeny.
Specifically, I am a ninth grade dropout and GED recipient from uptown Manhattan and the Bronx. My father had a drug problem and my mother abandoned me when she remarried. I spent part of my youth in a group home where violence was a reoccurring theme:http://www.nytimes.com/1994/07/14/nyreg ... ubled.htmlhttp://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.h ... ter%20Care
After a near death experience, I entered Miami-Dade Community College in 2001. Less than 10 years later, I have two Ivy League degrees and a law degree from a top 50 school. I also have more professional experience than most recent law graduates. Specifically, I have two plus years of experience as a contract attorney or litigation paralegal at Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Paul Weiss and Quinn Emanuel. In fact, since completing law school last year I have worked on four projects that were approximately three months in length, so I have had enough work. Rather, the problem during the past year has been the quality of work, level of job security, and an income that is less than the six figures I thought my resume would draw when I entered law school in 2006. Of course, I am optimistic that my situation will improve once I finally take the New York Bar exam this February and we have a sustained economic recovery this quarter and next. Indeed, I am hoping to eventually secure an associate in-house counsel position at an investment bank, securities firm, private equity or hedge fund.
Please do not get the wrong impression. I am not complaining about my current situation. I just entered my 30s, I live in the coolest neighborhood in NYC (Astoria - Long Island City) with my dog (Kaiser Soze), and I own a relatively new car (VW Wolfsberg). Unfortunately, I have approximately $200k plus in student loan debt, most of which was incurred at my beloved alma mater, a place I loved so much I went there twice. Conversely, I only had to cover my living expenses during my two years at the University of Florida, a school I originally decided to attend over a few schools further up the US News ranking for the following reasons: (1) I did not get into the so-called “T14;” (2) I had previously spent about one third of my life in South Florida; (3) the University of Florida is the only top 50 school in the state; (4) in terms of relative strength, Florida was stronger in the Sunshine State than Fordham was in the Empire State; and (5) I received a full scholarship to go. Currently, I am taking a few courses part-time to keep some of my student loans in deferment; others are in an economic hardship forbearance status; and a few I am making timely payments on to retain my 700 plus credit score.
A few weeks ago, I agreed to participate in the New York Times article for two reasons:
(1) As I have previously mentioned, the student loan bubble in this country is serious and indentured servitude is not limited to graduates of schools that no one has ever heard of. Indeed, I know more than a few "six figure debt" students from top 50 law schools like Columbia and Florida, and some of them are currently underemployed or unemployed. By assisting with the New York Times effort to shed additional light on the problem, I hoped to raise public awareness regarding this sub-prime mortgage-like crisis.
(2) Additionally, after months of sending my resume into the abysses of job listing databases never to be heard from again, I decided to be more aggressive by taking the Madonna/Lady Gaga approach: no publicity is bad publicity. Indeed, there have been 1,000 plus views of my LinkedIn profile over the last 48 - 72 hours, including a few members with “CEO” and “General Counsel” titles. Unfortunately, any positive gain in having potential employers view my online resume was likely lost in the confusion caused by the New York Times misleading statement, Columbia’s damage control, and all the chatter caused by the controversy.
Finally, in response to the New York Times article, a number of individuals facing similar hardships sent supportive messages. I am happy I could serve as a voice for those who overcame tremendous obstacles and did everything they were suppose to do (including not taking out loans to fund European adventures), but who still find themselves swimming in debt.