Students who say ‘no’ to £50,000 of debt

It is crucial to see the global picture in terms of student debt. Signing a loan might get you a degree, but a degree is no guarantee of a job, or worse, enrollment in an institution does not guarantee a high quality education. This seems to be a problem all around the world.


“Congratulations to all the A-level students who got the grades they need and are heading to university this autumn. But a growing band of young adults are spurning a conventional British university and pursuing other options, ranging from high-level apprenticeships through to scholarships and degrees from low-fee universities abroad.

The prospect of sinking £50,000 into debt, albeit funded through student loans, which don’t have to be repaid until the graduate is earning a decent income, is deterring even top students from heading to a British university. Depressingly, four out of 10 students (43%) are not expected to have cleared their debts 30 years after graduation.

Other debts raked up during term time need to be paid back more urgently, such as overdrafts, credit cards and, in particular, payday loans. A survey by the National Union of Students last year found that more than 40,000 students had borrowed from payday lenders…

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This little piggy went to the market, this little piggy stayed home…

So as usual I have been trying to find ways to make more money. Frustrated and broke, I scour Craigslist for more jobs, usually as the baby I nanny yanks my hair and smears snot on my shirt. Typically I would scroll right past the ads titled “Girls, Girls, Girls!”, but curiosity and desperation is a dangerous combination. I click on the ad and discover that I could make $800 a night working at an up scale foot fetish club in Midtown. The ad is vague as to what is actually required. I mean, if I just have to make small talk with business men while prancing round in strappy sandals, then yeah I’m in, but letting some middle aged man with a pop belly and reseeding hairline put my toe in his mouth is a different story. I’d be willing to touch my own feet while they watch (I don’t know if that’s a thing, but I could handle that). So I go back and forth like this in my head. questioning how far I’d be willing to go, and ultimately decide hey what the hell, and I send in my picture. I figure if I actually go through with the job it could make a good Performance Studies essay. It could be my attempt at a Sophie Calle style (whenever I’m considering doing anything scandalous, I use the “Sophie Calle” justification). I didn’t hear back from them. They were probably more interested in bubbly, leggy, blonds in spandex dresses, than in angry, 4’11” lesbian, brunettes in Dr. Martins, so I didn’t stand much of a chance.  In reality, I’m sure my feet are too flat and ticklish for me to make it big in the foot fetish world. But hey, a girl can dream.   



grace period//no bullshit

I want to vomit whenever I imagine running into a teacher from high school, an odd thing I do now as a form of self-flagellation. Quakes of shame toss my stomach until I feel sick. I imagine saying, hey, thanks for those letters of recommendation – I’m a receptionist now and my boss calls me cutie. Not that there is anything wrong with being a receptionist, except for its being boring as fuck.

When they knew me I wanted to work as a chemist. Dual-degree. A dancing chemist? they would laugh as they asked. I would smile and say, that’s the idea. Now I smile and say, do you take cream or sugar with that? Now I try to work the fact that I’m a dancer into every conversation, ignoring the fact that I’m a dancer is far from fact. I haven’t performed since graduating college and moving to New York – calling myself a dancer is like the non-baptized calling himself Catholic.

Yet I continue to genuflect my life to art, and I will continue to identify as a dancer. I will give myself this month, this year, these years, as a grace period, the time when I cut the ego and its bullshit. I will remind myself that those high school teachers have likely forgotten about me, which is just fine. Everything is fine.

Katy Telfer*




*Katy is our newest collaborator and she will be performing with us @ The SM Cabaret: Slaves of Sallie Mae.




We love to serve you Parody, Champagne, and a little Burlesque!


The Grace Period Blog Premieres


May 2nd and 9th @ 9:30pm

The Duplex

61 Christopher Street (NYC)

The Grace Period Blog invites you to their world premiere of The S.M. Cabaret: Slaves of Sallie Mae. In true cabaret fashion, it will be an evening of song, shimmy, and debauchery that will put a smart sexy spin on the student debt crisis. Naturally, a degree is included with every admission (interest-free). We could go on and on preaching about the downright criminal interest rates inflicted on American students and the astronomical rising cost of education, but it’s so much more entertaining with parody, champagne, and a little burlesque.

The Cabaret features adaptations and impersonations of classic Broadway songs and stars, as well as original songs and dances. There will be solo and ensemble works written and performed by The Grace Period Blog members: Sydney Arndt, Sarah Lucie, Gabriela Moreno, Laura Marie Mooney, and Katy Telfer. Rumor has it that the infamous Sallie Mae and the lesser known evil step-sister, The Great Lakes, may even make special appearances.

Reserve your ticket for $5 in advance by clicking here: Friday, May 2nd or Friday, May 9th

Or pay $7 at the door without a reservation. (NOTE: There is a 2 drink minimum at The Duplex.)

Can’t wait to see you there!

The Grace Period Blog


 The Grace Period Blog is committed to redefining the length of the student loan repayment grace period by continuing to build creative careers in writing and performance past the 6-month time allotment. They also encourage others to live the creative lives they planned on living despite their debt burdens.

 The Blog was co-founded by NYU MA Performance Studies Alumni, Gabriela Moreno and Sydney Arndt. The idea was born as a response to the contributors’ personal experience with the student debt crisis in America.  It became active as a blog in September of 2013 with the intention of creating content that would be used as raw material leading to a date-specific performance on November 21st, 2013—the end of the founders’ student loan grace period. This play, “November 21st,” premiered in Washington Square Park and incorporated public participation from audience members and passersby. Since then, The Grace Period Blog has continued exploring issues surrounding student debt while evolving its performance styles and expanding its body of contributors.



I regret to inform you…

Dear Jenna Tamimi,

I regret to inform you that after evaluating a very strong admission cohort, the Faculty Committee on Admissions is unable to offer you admission to the Ph.D. program in Theatre.

I know that this is unpleasant news. Unfortunately, we must necessarily base our decisions on materials that reduce unique and complex individuals to the components of their dossier. Nevertheless, I can assure you that your application received the most careful consideration and that the committee’s decision was taken after much deliberation.

I wish you success in your future career, and thank you for having given us the opportunity to consider you for admission to Columbia.

Sincerely yours,

Carlos J. Alonso


Dear Jenna:

I’m sorry not to have written you sooner. We had an exceptionally strong pool of applicants this year, and both the candidates to whom we offered admission accepted. I only wish we could have taken more students!

John Rouse


Perhaps it is the theater person in me, but I feel rejection has molded me. It is a part of me, and while is can be painful; it does not have to be completely negative. I think of all the unanswered emails I wrote to my distant father. His refusal to speak to me has strengthened my determination to live my life honestly and for myself. I think of my undergraduate theater program’s rejection of my directing proposal and opinion of me as a “feminist kill joy” and how that motivated me to successfully direct and produce feminist plays off campus. I think of the unfortunate knack I had for falling in love with, and in turn being rejected by, the most emotionally unavailable dykes. But, had I not felt that heaviness in my heart, eaten my body weight in ice cream, and cried on the bathroom floor, I don’t think poetry would mean as much and I don’t think I could really hear the beautiful pain in Patsy Cline’s voice when she sings “Crazy” or know the sweetness of the love I am fortunate enough to have today.

Yesterday while talking to one of my best friends about rejection, her words of encouragement were simple, “Well Jenna, you have always done best when you have a force to work against you”.  She’s right.