My degree is called MSPPM

I have not sat down and written anything substantive about myself in a long time.   I thought I would do so tonight, as I for the first in a very long time, find myself a little bored. I finished graduate school this week, I have no job prospects on the horizon, and don’t have a lot on my plate.

That is right. You heard it hear first, I am officially done with graduate school.   I have earned my Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon and I have no idea what I am doing with my life. Now, those of you who know me, probably think I am freaking out.   I have another surprise for you. I am not freaking out at all. Actually, I am not worried.   Weird, right? I actually find in laughable.

I know things like this work out for me some how. I have a great network of people and whenever I am in crisis things figure themselves out. So I am writing about how I am not freaked out now, and how silly I was to think an expensive piece of paper would make my life better.

I think back to a year ago when I had just returned from Ecuador. I was convinced a graduate program was going to open doors, and give me access to a career path, inaccessible at the time. Somewhere, near the beginning of the second semester is when I started realizing that was not going to be true.

Now don’t get me wrong.   I am not saying I didn’t learn things. I learned some really great things. I am more comfortable with statistics than I have ever been in my life. Linear programming is something I find really fascinating, and I understand why Monte Carlo simulations are wicked kewl.   Where did all of that get me? Well, not far.

On the job-hunting front, I have slowed down the rate I have been applying to jobs. The end of the semester really did me in, so I need to get back on the ball. Do you want to know the problem I am having?   I don’t really care what I do.   Not really at all. I have applied to everything from an Executive Director position to a population researcher.

Fact: I have applied to 51 positions and have had phone interviews for two of them. I did not get a second interview from either of those places.   Freaked out?   No, seriously, I am laughing.   A degree in public policy and management? What in the world is happening to society such that we are giving out degrees in that now?

I will never understand what made me think the void between professional vocational training and proper academic training was a great place to land. Ugh, silly Josh. You are probably saying, “What else would you be doing now?” I have no idea, and your question is pretty silly if you think I can answer questions about alternate realities.

Oh well. This is the professional update. I will tell you about personal updates in the next post.

Total Student Loan (Undergrad and Grad)

Current Principal Balance:


Accrued Interest:


Late Fees:


Listened to: Dance Yrself Clean from the album “This Is Happening” by LCD Soundsystem

I am Accepting Applications

I am accepting applications from employers who want to hire me. In May I will have my Master of Science in Public Policy and Management.


  • Your company or organization should not be evil.
  • Your company or organization should not make weapons or make it easier for others to make weapons.
  • You should pay for me to travel abroad at least twice a year.
  • I would like a salary that lets me as a single male live comfortably and pay off my loans.
  • Competitive benefits package.

Please send all applications to joshuaferris [a] cmu [dot ] edu.

I am willing to live anywhere. I do like being able to see water and I like cities. Heat and I do not get along.

Money is Dumb

When I moved back to the United States in May, I applied for a Graduate PLUS loan to live off of while I was in school. My application came back denied, because it said that I had bad credit. I was a little shocked and called PNC Bank to find out what had happened.   My old car insurance agency, Safeco, had billed me $92.57 on my last month of insurance.   I never received that bill while I was out of the country and thus it went unpaid. This eventually made its way to a collection agency called IC Systems Inc., who put a big old spot on my credit report.

I do not even think I owed Safeco any additional money, but to file a dispute with Safeco would take a lot of time and in May I did not even have enough money to buy books so I was in need of my student loan. I paid $92.57 to IC Systems, plus an additional $25.00 for them to fax PNC Bank to let them know I paid.

They did and my loan went through.

Now it is November. I am running a little short on cash due to my move in August so applied for an extra $1000 to help me out until January. Guess what? I get denied because of a $92.57 Safeco problem on my credit report. AES can’t find the letter, nor can PNC Bank.

I called TransUnion credit reporting agency where they say they will investigate the $92.57 IC Systems Inc credit is equal to that of the $92.57 Safeco problem.

What is the status of my loan? Denied until further notice.