Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Is This Grueling Process Worth It?
By Lindsay Cooper

College debt is an extremely frustrating and draining situation millions of people have dealt with and continue to cope with in their present lives. In my interviews with several students and administrators on the subject, it appears that the process of college debt is experienced quite differently depending on the individual. Some students seem to have it easier than others with little debt to pay off due to the collection of grants and scholarships they received from their colleges.

Other students who graduated from college undergo the endless and even fearful process of paying back an overwhelming amount of loans. To me, this situation represents another one of those happenings in life where some are lucky and others are not so lucky. As some who does not yet need to start paying off college loans, it all seems somewhat sad. Just thinking about college debt scares the hell out of me.

Though I heard about the exasperating experiences of other students and even attempted to try and fully comprehend their situations, I realize I will never completely understand the “nightmare” until I experience it on my own, which will be happening in the near future.

I am not trying to say that money has never been an issue for me, but more than ever I think it is important as a young adult, despite one’s economic background, to be wise in money matters. This is what I am painfully learning as I constantly receive unknown calls from debt collectors all over the United States. However, when you are a full-time student without a year-round job it is extremely hard and annoying to come up with the money to pay off your bills on a weekly basis.

However, I find a way to do it and it is so nice to take that breath of relief when one witnesses their massive hole of debt disappearing slowly. I have realized through witnessing and experiencing many financial hardships the importance of financial independence starting as early as possible.

I think the looming situation of college debt can detract from one’s intended fulfilling life experiences whether in post college life and/or graduate school. What happens to the highly driven student who lands in an excellent graduate program but is unable to invest their best abilities in their work because they are too busy paying off loans from college?

What happens to the “dream life” of other college graduate students who want to buy or rent an apartment and maybe even start a family but are unable to do so because they are dealing with too much debt? In analyzing the reality of the situation, I cannot help but ask myself if the life sacrifices we are making are even worth it in the end. Who knows. Hopefully, I’ll have an answer when I go through it all.

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