Whether they attend a public or private institution, the majority of college students in the United States have one thing in common: they’re in a lot of debt.
We do not know about you, but we sure feel buried from the debt. Ignorance really is bliss when it comes to paying for a college education. Debt is not something to be taken lightly, but most of us have no other choice. If you come from an average middle class American family, even if you were a master at those scholarship application essays, chances are you still had to take out loans when you enrolled in your first year of college.
Another thing we college students have in common, with the exception of business majors, perhaps, is that we truly do not understand the magnitude of the loans we take out. Trying to figure out if all college loans were worth it is basically asking yourself, was college worth it? For most students college was the logical next step. Most careers require bachelor degrees nowadays, but is it worth an average debt amount of $26,000?
College is not only about school. It is friends, new experiences and a new town to call home. It is where you start networking for your future career with professors and students alike. It is living on your own and relying on yourself for the first time. Most importantly, it is a place where you can learn that you are interested in things you would never have even known about if you had not come to college. College professors cannot teach you everything, but going to college can teach you things about yourself that you would have never discovered if you went straight into the workforce.
Accepting a college loan is a little bit like selling your soul to the devil. When you sign off on the money they are giving you, you are making a promise that it will be paid back, no matter what plus interest. If one of us took out loans for school and was hit by a bus and killed on the first day before even going to any classes, our parents would still have to pay those loans back. Now that is a seriously wicked deal.
That is not the only evil in the higher education system. Loans are simply frustrating. There is a large amount of people who make large profits from our pursuit of higher education, all under the olive branch of giving aid and education to those who need it. It is truly a sad thing when a college senior is counting the months from May to see when he or she has to start paying his or her loans, at his or her own graduation.
It has become a financial impossibility for students to pay for college on their own, but at the same time, the benefits of college have not lessened. They’ve increased. So as we all struggle with our loan payments after graduation, the only thing that will comfort us is that bachelor’s degree hanging up on the wall. The main question is how far it will take us.