The Burden of Student Loans

I graduated two years ago and I have yet to put even a dent in my student loans.

For the longest time, I deferred them because I was unable to find a job. After college, I was left working at a retail store with 6 months before I had to pay my student loans. My thought was, Oh, I'll find a job by then, so I'm fine.

Well, I couldn't be more wrong. Instead of landing a full-time job, I obtained an internship at Family Circle Magazine in New York City. Sure, it was an excellent opportunity that I wouldn't take back for the world, but it paid a mere $7.25 and it was two to three days a week. So, since I lived in PA, I had to fork out $7 for parking at the Hamilton Train Station, $30 for a round-trip ticket and another $5 to and from the subway. Essentially, I was earning about $16 per day. This did not leave me enough to pay for my student loans, so they were deferred until I could find a stable position.

For the next six months, I barely got by with the money I was making. On the side, I babysat, but that just wasn't enough. I was happy my parents allowed me to stay at their house until I could get on my own two feet.

After the internship ended, I was left with the daunting task of job searching day in and day out. My "job" was searching for a full-time position. When a whole year passed since I graduated, I had to yet again, defer my loans and the interest rate gradually increased. I still could not find a job a year after I graduated and I began to get nervous. The question I asked myself was, would I ever get a job?

I worked at Starbucks and waitressed for a few months before landing a full-time. But, this job didn't provide me enough income to start paying off my student loans. I was able to pay off one set of them, but could only put under $100 towards it. And, I cringed every time I received that notice from Federal Student Loans because I knew they were demanding me to put a little money toward them.

I felt frustrated that this job didn't allow me to move out or put any money into my bank account. It was going toward my car insurance, car itself and bills. I mean, I was grateful I finally had a job because some grads cannot even find anything and I was there, so I sympathized. But, at the same time, I needed another job where I could earn more money.

I was contacted by another job I previously applied to about a job that paid a tad more, so I went for it and landed it. But, still, I couldn't put any money toward my loans, so I was left deferring them again. And, my interest rate was skyrocketing every day. I was jealous of those who didn't have federal assistance or whose parents were paying them. I hoped that I would finally obtain a job I went to school for 6 years of my life. Did I waste all that time and not gain anything from it?

My parents tried to convince me to attend grad school, but I refused. If I'm not guaranteed a job with a BA, how could I find a position with a Master's? I rolled my eyes every time they brought that topic up and pushed it away-- just like my student loans.

The final question I ask myself is, if college doesn't guarantee you a job, why go? There are some people earning more money who never went to college. They aren't left with the burden of student loans, but I am. As for me, I'll be paying mine for the rest of my life.

States With Highest Average Student Debt - TICAS - Class Of 2012