Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Student Loans and Stress

There is only one thing that really, truly stresses me out on a daily basis.  Money.

I've always hated money.  I hate what it does to people who go from having nothing to having more money than they thought was ever possible.  I hate that when my dad died I had a family member ask me for money.  I hate how people who have always been "comfortable" don't understand the struggle that others with less go through on a daily basis.

Of course, I appreciate money for some things like you know, eating, a place to live, basic necessities...but as long as I can pay my bills, have some spending money, and save a little I don't need anything more.

An article from September of this year discusses the crazy tuition hikes we've seen that don't at all reflect inflation.  Connecticut State University is in talks to freeze tuition and fees.  (Texas, you hearing this?)  In the past 32 years tuition has risen by over 1000%!  That's THREE zeros!

What's shocking is that now student loan debt surpasses credit card debt in America.  In other words, WE ARE SCREWED.  There are not enough jobs available for college grads.  When we do find a job our ginormous loan payments cause us to not spend in other areas college graduates have had the fortune of spending on in the past--homes, cars, etc.  It not only hurts us, but it hurts our economy.  It's just one more reason our country is in this financial disaster.

Honestly, it's not unlike the housing fiasco that got us into this recession in the first place.  Just like banks gave money freely to people to buy larger houses than they could really afford, banks gave out student loans like they were going out of style...oh wait.

Since graduating from college I have not had one job that needed a college degree.  Sure, it helped me get the job I applied for and the company likes that a college graduate is intelligent enough to interact with clients, but my mounting student loan debt is a joke next to my salary and I could have done this 5 years ago right out of high school.  My struggle to pay my bills is real and not fun.  My parents help me every. single. month.  I'm pretty sure I have an ulcer (or kidney disease or cancer or a panic attack or diabetes according to WebMD).  I can't eat without feeling sick.  I wake up nauseous.  I'm losing weight (though I'm not really complaining about that).

I'm a smart girl.  But I was very, very dumb with the choices I made in college that will now haunt me for the remainder of my financial life.  I should NOT have taken out so many student loans.  I should have applied for grants and scholarships.  I should NOT have majored in English and instead chosen a major on a definite career path.  A Liberal Arts degree is junk unless paired with a graduate degree or specialization of some sort.  But by golly, I can read, write, and discuss literature with the best of 'em!

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