Student loans... Almost as common as the latest fashion trends, except no one really wants them. As an undergraduate student in psychology and women’s studies, this is something that’s been creeping up on me for a while. As my father likes to say, “Psychology is code for ‘graduate school.’” He’s right. I will have to go to graduate school, and someone’s going to have to pay for it. And guess what? It ain’t cheap! Unless I win the mega-million lottery in the next year and a half, student loans seem like the best way to go. So what happens when I get my master’s degree? Can you see it now? I look at the statement to see how much I owe and I nearly drop dead.
But that’s where you’re wrong! I’m a sensible, emotionally stable woman, and I’ve got myself together. My advice? If you’re a student with loans, remember this: you took out student loans for a reason! Student loans are an investment for the future. You took these blasted loans to pay for something worthwhile. You made an investment in yourself that’s sure to benefit its stakeholders in the future. And if it doesn’t... well, that’s another blog.
Some other things to remember: Banks aren’t totally evil. They know that students need time to pay off their tuition, so student loans have comparatively low interest rates. Loans can also boost your good credit score, as long as you pay them off. And lastly, there are several loan forgiveness programs offered specifically to students who are unable to pay on time.
So, what can you do now? Make yourself a financial plan. Don’t let yourself be surprised by the amount of money you owe when you graduate. Making a budget will help you keep track of your expenses and will ensure that you’re living within your means during your college years. There’s even online software that can help you track your spending.
Take advantage of your school’s resources. Most universities offer some kind of counseling, whether it’s for career and financial needs or emotional ones. Even better—these services are included in tuition! This way, you can manage your financial business as well as your stress. Ahh, I feel better already.
So don’t freak out about your student loans! Take a deep breath and consider what is stressing you and what good things can come out of this situation. Do some research and use the resources available to you. You’ll come to see that you don’t have to handle this all by yourself. It’s going to be all right.
For more ideas and resources on this: Go Ask Alice http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/looming-student-loans-emotional-distress