The Burden of Student Loans

I graduated two years ago and I have yet to put even a dent in my student loans.

For the longest time, I deferred them because I was unable to find a job. After college, I was left working at a retail store with 6 months before I had to pay my student loans. My thought was, Oh, I’ll find a job by then, so I’m fine.

Well, I couldn’t be more wrong. Instead of landing a full-time job, I obtained an internship at Family Circle Magazine in New York City. Sure, it was an excellent opportunity that I wouldn’t take back for the world, but it paid a mere $7.25 and it was two to three days a week. So, since I lived in PA, I had to fork out $7 for parking at the Hamilton Train Station, $30 for a round-trip ticket and another $5 to and from the subway. Essentially, I was earning about $16 per day. This did not leave me enough to pay for my student loans, so they were deferred until I could find a stable position.

For the next six months, I barely got by with the money I was making. On the side, I babysat, but that just wasn’t enough. I was happy my parents allowed me to stay at their house until I could get on my own two feet.

After the internship ended, I was left with the daunting task of job searching day in and day out. My “job” was searching for a full-time position. When a whole year passed since I graduated, I had to yet again, defer my loans and the interest rate gradually increased. I still could not find a job a year after I graduated and I began to get nervous. The question I asked myself was, would I ever get a job?

I worked at Starbucks and waitressed for a few months before landing a full-time. But, this job didn’t provide me enough income to start paying off my student loans. I was able to pay off one set of them, but could only put under $100 towards it. And, I cringed every time I received that notice from Federal Student Loans because I knew they were demanding me to put a little money toward them.

I felt frustrated that this job didn’t allow me to move out or put any money into my bank account. It was going toward my car insurance, car itself and bills. I mean, I was grateful I finally had a job because some grads cannot even find anything and I was there, so I sympathized. But, at the same time, I needed another job where I could earn more money.

I was contacted by another job I previously applied to about a job that paid a tad more, so I went for it and landed it. But, still, I couldn’t put any money toward my loans, so I was left deferring them again. And, my interest rate was skyrocketing every day. I was jealous of those who didn’t have federal assistance or whose parents were paying them. I hoped that I would finally obtain a job I went to school for 6 years of my life. Did I waste all that time and not gain anything from it?

My parents tried to convince me to attend grad school, but I refused. If I’m not guaranteed a job with a BA, how could I find a position with a Master’s? I rolled my eyes every time they brought that topic up and pushed it away– just like my student loans.

The final question I ask myself is, if college doesn’t guarantee you a job, why go? There are some people earning more money who never went to college. They aren’t left with the burden of student loans, but I am. As for me, I’ll be paying mine for the rest of my life.

Via Huffington Post


11 thoughts on “The Burden of Student Loans

  1. its crazy everything u wrote in here is the same thing I went through/ am going through as I look for a career job at the moment. I ask myself the same question was and if I college is worth it as my little brother will be attending an expensive college in the fall.

    1. Hey Pilot– how weird is that?! We must be like…. the same person? Any who, I’m sorry you went through that. I mean, I “hope” it is in the end, but who knows?

      1. I know right, and yeah I got a full time job but not making nearly enough to move out and be an adult, but I am grateful for the full time job I got now, but looking for a career in which I went to school for. I hope all well goes for u ..sorry for the grammar mistakes lol as I am 7 shots deep of vodka right now

      2. Ha-ha. No worries! Well, at least you have a FT job, right? You’ll get there!

  2. I was lucky in that my parents paid for all of my college. However, my husband wasn’t that lucky. When we got married, I freaked out a little because I had never been in debt like that before. We decided to make a plan–we wrote out a budget, examined and tweaked it monthly, and made our number one priority getting out of debt.

    Less than two years later, we’re completely debt-free (other than our house). We didn’t buy a lot of nice things during that time period. We sacrificed. I totally didn’t think it was possible. I thought we would definitely be paying that debt the rest of our lives. But it was possible. Granted, we do both have jobs in our fields, but we both work at a non-profit–we’re not rolling in money. My point is that it IS possible, and you CAN do it … and, believe me, I’m not one for motivational speeches.

    1. Hey Chels– That was a smart idea! I’m so glad it worked out in the end! I’m making little strides everyday to pay off my student loans and still do what I love!

  3. I feel so bad for you. Higher education in the UK is so much more affordable. The system in the US just seems crazy! Congrats to you for getting your degree, and also for not going for the grad school option if it’s just going to put you in more debt. I wish I had some sort of solution to the loan problem for you!

    1. Thanks so much! So many other people are in my shoes. It’s such a shame we go to college for 4 + years to not even find a job when we graduate. It’s a sad world we live in.

  4. You are very, very smart not to pursue a master’s and get into more debt. Are you working full time now? Maybe you should consider getting a second job for a year or two to help put a dent in the loans. You can do it. You shouldn’t resign yourself to paying for the rest of your life if you plan and work really hard.

    1. Hey Kelly– Yes, I finally landed a FT job with benefits! I’m going to start to pay some of them. Thanks!

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