Thank you Navient for sponsoring this post.
My student loans and I have not always had the best relationship. I always knew I would need student loans to afford college, and I went into the application process with that in mind. When I was 17, I didn’t really understand the significance of student loans or the massive challenge of college tuition in general.
My student loans story
When I was accepted to NYU Tisch–my dream school–I didn’t consider the cost. Sure, NYU is 70k a year, but what price can you put on your dream school, right?Well, fast forward a few months and after taking a much-needed gap year, spending that exorbitant amount on NYU didn’t seem like a great idea after all. I approached the college admission process again, this time with a more financially conscious mindset. I decided on a small liberal arts school in my home state.
Well, fast forward a few months and after taking a much-needed gap year, spending that exorbitant amount on NYU didn’t seem like a great idea after all. I approached the college admission process again, this time with a more financially conscious mindset. I decided on a small liberal arts school in my home state.
It wasn’t NYU, but I fell in love with the beautiful campus, small class sizes, and beach views. However, though not NYU, private school comes with a price. I was lucky to receive grants and scholarships to keep the price down. Regardless, I knew I needed to take out student loans to cover the remainder of the cost. After three years of college, I graduated with roughly 20k in student debt.
Knowing I would need to take out loans gave me a lot of anxiety at first. I had no experience with loans, I was only 18! I heard horror stories of other students graduating with large amounts of debt and struggling to pay it off for the rest of their lives. As someone who planned to write for a living, I knew there was no way I would be able to pay off something like that!
The truth is that I owe a lot of my success to my student loans. Without them, I would have never been able to reach my dream of attending a small liberal arts college! My college was beautiful, and I was so proud to call it my home for three years. Without student loans, I would have never been able to receive the one-on-one attention I did at my small school. All my professors knew me personally by name, and I got to know my classmates really well.
I was so lucky to be able to study the major I wanted, English, at such an excellent college. I had so many more opportunities at this school that I would have never been able to have if I didn’t have my student loans to help me achieve my dreams. For instance, I was able to lead my college literary magazine to award-winning success as the Editor in Chief. I had access to great professors, internships, and career help that helped prepare me to pursue my goals after college.
Now, I run my own independent literary magazine. I am able to make a living doing what I love most: writing! I even have an academic review that’s going to be published in the fall with a well-respected publication. Without my loans, this would have never been possible.
So yes, I graduated with a little bit of debt. And it was so worth it. Since graduating, I’ve discovered a lot of tools for managing my student loans, and I’m not intimidated by the thought of paying them off. Most importantly, I took a lot of steps while in college to help reduce the overall amount of student loans I ultimately had to take out.
Keeping student loan costs down while in college
There are a lot of easy ways to lower your student loan costs while you’re still in college! The easiest way is to get a job! I had several part-time jobs while in college, and they helped cover all my living expenses so I didn’t need to take loans to cover my housing or food costs.
I’d also highly recommend finding a side-hustle to get some extra money to put towards your loans while in college! A lot of students believe you have to wait until you leave college to start paying off your loans, but you can actually pay them back whenever you want! Starting a side-hustle in college is an easy way to put money towards your expenses and loans. This blog helped me generate side-income in college, but other easy hustles include freelance writing, becoming a personal assistant, and freelance graphic design work!
Another proactive step you can take in college is to learn all you can about your student loans! At the beginning of my college career, I honestly didn’t understand much about my student loans. Things like payment plans and interest rates confused me! I wish I had taken the time to understand all my options as a student, and I know that if I did I would have felt a lot more confident a lot earlier.
Navient is one of the best ways to learn more about student loans and your options as a student and after graduation. I’ve really benefited from using their Loan Repayment Calculator to determine a payment plan that works for me and my goals. Their blog also has an abundance of tips for financial security. Education really is key to empowerment, and the more I learn about my student loans and my options, the more comfortable I feel paying them off efficiently.
Student loans don’t have to be scary. Today, I’m proud of all my achievements and I look forward to a bright future of pursuing my goals. One day, I hope to publish young adult fiction. For now, I’ll continue blogging and writing each and every day!
Thank you again to Navient for sponsoring this post. All content and opinions expressed here are all my own.