When I started college I knew that it would be an expensive endeavor. I’ve heard all the horror stories of people who take out college loans and can’t pay them back for years. I never thought that would be me but now here I am with a lot of debt and nothing to show for it.
I first started attending a community college in the fall of 2008. I thought this would be a good choice because of the lower tuition. I decided to live on campus to get the experience of living away from home. I was shocked when the bill came. The cost of the housing was over $6,000 for the year (About twice the cost of tuition. I couldn’t believe that I was paying $1,000 a month to live in a below average building. The on sight gym was the size of my bedroom, the laundry machines never worked, and 3 times a week somebody set the fire alarm off and we had to evacuate. An apartment would have been far less expensive and less stressful.
After 2 years at community college I found myself short 2 classes to graduate. The classes were never available when I wanted to take them. I decided to move on and transfer to a four year school. My new school came with a hefty bill (three times what I paid before). Even though I transferred from one SUNY School to another I was shocked to find that some of my classes didn’t transfer. I’m now stuck repeating classes I’ve already completed. So a simple 4 year degree will probably now take me 5 or 6. I estimated that I have 2 more years to go. I’ve used up most of my financial aid and I had to get a rather large loan to cover the rest. I will likely need to take out another loan next year as well.
My current job is just above minimum wage and without a car I have little hope of finding a better job, or even an internship. I’m trying to save money for a car because I know it will broaden my range of opportunities. At the same time I’m living at home now to save money. The downside of this is that my mom is also in debt so I’m the one paying for groceries and other bills she is unable to cover. In that sense, the amount of money I am saving is very little.
I won’t be paying off my loan in the near future, that’s for sure. I estimate it will be making payments on my loan for at least 5 years after graduating. I don’t regret taking out a loan because without it I would be unable to finish school. At the same time I wish I could have a do over. I would have chosen to attend a different community college closer to home so I wouldn’t have needed to spend thousands on housing. Until I get a degree and a job my loan will continue to pile up. Thankfully my interest rate is low and I have up to 10 years to pay it off. All I can do is keep moving forward, keep going to school, and keep making payments.