Last month, I had a chance to visit a place that I’ve contributed quite a bit of money to over the last few years – the United States Department of Education (USED) in Washington, DC! Okay, so while most people would find no humor or excitement in going to the USED, I found some great sense of fulfillment by actually visiting their headquarters building in our nation’s capital.
The one thing that struck me the most about the headquarters building is that it’s pretty much a fortress. I mean, it’s built like it could withstand any major natural disaster or attack. I honestly think that if a foreign country attacked the capitol, the USED building would be left standing – mocking the foreigners and their wimpy weapons. But that’s just the impression you get from the outside. Once you’re inside you see that it’s really just functional office space. I liked the mission statement of the USED, which was put up right on the wall for everyone to see when you entered the building. Take a look:
Pretty good mission statement for the USED, huh? I was down in Washington, DC for a conference on charter schools which I won’t get into in this blog entry. However, I couldn’t help but think that I actually helped build the impressive structure in which the charter school conference was being held in thanks to all of my student loan payments. It was a weird feeling – not necessarily a bad feeling, but one that made me take a step back and think, “Well, here’s the place where my checks have been going for the past few years.” It was just an interesting feeling.
What was not a good or interesting feeling, though, was the physical pain that I endured as I rode Amtrak’s Acela down to Washington, DC. Believe it or not, these asshats actually sold more tickets for the Acela than there were seats for the passengers. Sure, you’ll never get any official response from the Acela people saying that it was standard practice to do that or that they were sorry (apologizing is an acknowledgement of guilt). However, the conductor on the train – who was a very nice guy, by the way – told me and the fifteen other seatless passengers that this was common practice. It was outrageous. So, I rode down to the nation’s capitol sitting on this:
Yeah… not comfortable at all. Anyway, I visited one of my two major student loan lenders last month. And while I don’t think that I’ll ever willingly or happily visit the headquarters building of the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (NJHESAA), I’m actually going to be really close to some of their associates starting tomorrow. Turns out that NJHESAA and my company will both be exhibitors at the New Jersey Charter Schools Association conference in Atlantic City this week. I don’t know if we’ll be anywhere near each other, but I feel like being in the same room as those people is going to drive me nuts. Frankly, I have half a mind to walk up to their booth and ask them why they felt the need to treat a highly intelligent, good-natured person (me) like a dumb, moronic piece of garbage every time I called them. And that same half of my mind wants me to ask them why they wouldn’t contact the credit agencies to report their mistaken even after admitting that they made a blunder when they reported that I made a late payment when no payment was actually due. Those idiots lowered my credit score for a few months until I had to go out of my way to get that stupid mistake wiped clean from my record. Idiots.
Anyway, enough of that tangent. The point of this entry is that I visited the USED headquarters building in Washington, DC and I was pleasantly pleased with the visit. I hope that they do their customers well as they continue to ramp up their student loan production.