Is School The Alternative Option To Loan Debt?

College is the place that haunts many adults far after graduation because of student loan debt.

UNITED STATES—Anyone who has sought to obtain a higher education is well aware that the cost of a college education, a master’s degree, a law degree, a dental degree, etc. is a lot pricier than we could have ever imagined. I completed my Bachelors of Arts in English, Film Studies and Psychology nearly eight years ago.

Some of you might be asking why so many degrees? Well, the English and Film Studies degree coincide with one another, while my Psych degree only required an additional two semesters of classes, as I had already begun the groundwork with my English degree. The cost of a college education in the early 2000s was nowhere near as expensive, as what I’m sure it costs nowadays. I recall credit hours ranging at around $160-$180 per hour. So a 3-4 credit class was around $500-$600. Nowadays, a 3-4 credit class is around $1500-$2000. Yeah, that is a major dent in one’s pocket.

I wish I had the ability to rely on parents who could pay for my tuition, but I didn’t. I had to rely on my part-time and full-time jobs on and off campus in addition to my student loans to pay for school. While I did my best to pay for as much out of pocket as possible, student loans were a savior. What sickens me is to realize now that school is over, the interest and the debt to pay back those student loans are not going anywhere.

So many students take out thousands of dollars to pay for school, with the expectation that they will come right out of school with a FT, top-dollar job waiting for them. It’s not the case people, so please plan in advance. Student loans can be pesky and they don’t just vanish overnight. The only way they vanish is if you decided to continue to pursue a higher education, you serve your country or unfortunately you die. Yes, it’s quite sad to say the least, but I don’t know many people who have $400-$600 each month they can fork out to pay their student loans for the next 10-15 years. It’s a tough pill to swallow.

Right now I do the best I can to pay what I can, but I’m not in any situation where I could easily pay the full amount each month, and be able to keep a roof over my head, pay my bills and keep food in my mouth, it just ain’t happening. I know so many of my friends who have ventured back to school because of these situations. Not only is it a way to avoid paying those student loans, for many it’s a hope to get the education that may be needed to lock in that dream job because the job that you currently have is not as fulfilling or doesn’t pay as much as you hoped.

Trust me; a college degree nowadays is just like a high school diploma. It matters, but it doesn’t matter as much. You need a master’s degree or a Ph.D. to really excel amongst the group. Trust me I really wish I would have known those things, but at the same time, who seriously wants to spend 6-8 straight years in college or longer without a break. Yeah, I know I didn’t, and it’s just the notion of taking a break makes it that much more difficult to go back to school. I mean, I was literally counting down the days until completing my undergraduate degree.

Even if I had taken the summer off, I still think I wouldn’t have been prepared to sacrifice another two years of my life to school, and ‘hoping’ that my degree would pay off with a job. That is the one problem so many students don’t see. No degree guarantees a job, you seriously have to seek it out and you have to do all in your power to make it happen. I’m a believer that you can never have too much education, nor can you ever stop learning. I mean, people have the perception that only youngsters attend college; jeez, will they ever be surprised.

There are way more adults in those college lecture halls than one would like to suspect. Someone brought up a great point to me a few months back saying college is like an extended vacation from high school. You’re allowed to get another 4 years of your life to decide what it is that you’d like to do. Not many people like to hear that, but in actuality it’s so true.

The sucky thing about those student loans is that the interest just keeps creeping up. There is no cut-off range where it just stops at $20k and for the next 10-30 years of your life that is all you have to pay. If payments are halted on your student loans the amount that you owe just continues to grow and grow. It gets to the point where you question if it’s even possible to pay the money back.

I would not advocate for an individual to go back to school to halt paying their loans. However, I would argue that if you’re not happy with your job, you’re stuck in your career and looking for a change, school is always an alternative.

I even hate to utter these words, but it seems if you have a certain degree or level of education in some companies it automatically guarantees you the job that you’ve been searching for. It’s quite sad to say the least, but this is the world we live in so what are you going to do?