How I Graduated with $50,000 in Student Loan Debt, and How I Plan to Pay it Off
I went to an out of state school, which was a bad idea, but that’s another story. At any rate, this is still relevant, because it is the main reason I have so much student loan debt. What would I do differently if I could do everything over again? Well, for one, I would go to an in-state school, where I would have graduated with far less student loan debt. The advantage you get from going to be a better school out of state is marginal, especially if you’re just getting a liberal arts degree.
While I was in school, I really thought a four-year degree would help me get a great job, or at least a passable one. It really hasn’t helped much. The job I have right now isn’t even full-time, and the pay is far less than ideal. Due to my student loan debt and my inability to find a decent job, I felt obligated to go graduate school. Graduate school allowed me to continue deferring my student loan debt. Now that I’m in graduate school, I feel obligated to complete what I started, but if I could do it over again, I probably would’ve gotten two or three jobs and tried to pay my debt down first.
Paying off my debt is going to be a lot of hard work. My first step will be to consolidate my student loan debt into one manageable payment. I’ve considered programs to forgive student loan debt, like teaching at a public school in a low-income area, or joining the Peace Corps. Since I probably won’t seriously pursue either of these options, I’m also considering creating my own job. You can do this too. Find something you’re good at and start a side business. Also, you can pursue work at home jobs as side ventures to supplement your income. Here is an article I wrote about work at home forums that should help you get started, but there is no easy way out of student loan debt.
I would think twice before you get a student loan. The debt can rack up quickly, especially if you’re using part of it for living expenses like I did. Consider attending a community college and then transfer as a junior to a four-year school. Many state schools collaborate with community colleges to allow this. You could save as much as a year’s tuition at a state university just by doing this. Remember, shackling yourself to a mountain of student loan debt will only limit your ability to enjoy life after you graduate. Don’t repeat my mistakes.