Every time something good happens I’m beaten back by phone calls from Sallie Mae wanting money – money that I don’t have. Why don’t I have this money? Because I went to college with the assumption that I would graduate and get a job that would pay well enough to pay back the loans I took out. This was quite possibly the worst decision I’ve made thus far in my life, as the only debt I have right now is caused by these student loans.
I was one of those sheltered, first generation kids who played a few team sports but stayed inside most of the time doing homework. I graduated with a 4.0 GPA and was expected to go on and do great things. Well, what I learned in college is that life isn’t just about great grades. You have to know how to interact with people and be a well-rounded person. As I struggled with doing this, I became less and less confident in myself. I questioned what I wanted to do with my own life because, for the first time, it was up to me to decide. I didn’t have to ask anyone for permission or assume that I wouldn’t be allowed to do something. I could do whatever I wanted using my own judgment. The problem was that I didn’t have much previous life experience outside of studying to base my decisions on. After spending a lot of time trying to figure myself out, I finally managed to do it with one year left. Now, I wish I could go back and never even start down the road of college until I could afford to pay for each credit on my own without a loan.
I had to leave school a year short of my degree because I could no longer receive funding. This might not have been such a huge problem if we weren’t in one of the worst recessions facing GenY in recent history. Getting a full time job for a recent graduate is a trying task. Getting a full time job when you have no degree is nearly impossible. Hiring managers, recruiters, and human resources professionals see a resume without a degree and toss it in the trash! I spent years trying to figure out who I was because I was given the impression that what I wanted to be was not good enough for this society. Had I paid more attention to the signs that I wanted to be a writer when I was younger, I could have saved myself a lot of time, stress, and major switching.
With the value of the high school diploma declining, more and more Generation Y young people are deciding to bury themselves in student loan debt in order to get a higher paying job in the future. Where is the return on our investment?? Boomers aren’t retiring from their jobs. Generation X isn’t getting promoted. That leaves Gen Y with minimum wage jobs or no jobs at all. When you have to pay back money on a loan for a degree that you never received, it’s pretty disheartening. I told a Sallie Mae agent that if I had it to do all over again I would give back my degree and you could keep the loan. You know what the agent said? “You’re not the first person that said that.”