Wednesday, April 27, 2022

On the student loan pause

 Hey all! This weekend I was featured on an ABC News article regarding the student loan pause. Give it a read here!

I wanted to give a few more of my thoughts. It's incredibly awful how much education costs in the USA. Back in 2012 when I graduated high school, there was all this pressure to go to college, even if you weren't quite sure what you wanted to do. I majored in English because I enjoy reading and writing, wanting to better hone my skills, and none of the other majors sounded exciting (double minored in Creative Writing and Psychology—which would have been something else I considered majoring in but I felt like I didn't know what I wanted to do with a Psychology degree either).

One of the English professors at my college argued that an English degree provides a very good background for jobs, showing that you are articulate, can theorize and research. Couldn't argue with that. Took out a 20k loan to get that college experience and after graduation, still wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do, career-wise. Being a writer full-time is my dream, but I wasn't putting in enough time and effort in making that a reality because I was terrified of my financial future. 

I don't want to be broke. I don't want to owe money. I want the biggest, heftiest safety net of savings because bad things happen all the time between getting physically hurt or having to replace some major house or car expense. And now I'm pregnant and all I see is $$$ going into this (the prenatal visits alone are making me wince).

I had to get a good, stable job. After going through many different hats (all of which didn't require a college degree but I hope that this being on my resume put me in the best light for all these positions), I am finally at a job that I don't hate, make decent money, and a job that provides health care and bonus health incentives (Go365 is a thing). Hopefully, the hybrid schedule stays in place because I really hate driving (full remote is another dream). My husband also makes decent money but he really hates his job and also has creative dreams.  

I learned that I am not career driven at all. I don't want to put my full energy in work. I want put as little energy as possible, because it's not something I'm passionate about. I want to enjoy life more, but this constant worry of bills, money, just really keeps me in this squid-like stability. I am mentally done by the end of the day and just get sucked into 90 Day Fiance shows (or LPs or video games). But these are things I enjoy passively because my energy is depleted. So a kid is sure gonna suck the life outta me (I kid, haha). 

There was a period of my life where I was really hating existence because I didn't ask to be here so why do I have to work? If life is really supposed to be fulling for me, I get that from being outside, enjoying the various weathers and ambience, taking my dogs for walks, reading, writing. I can't help but feel like this kid may feel that same hatred one day because the fact that consumerism, striving to be the best is basically the constant state of being alive in this country, world even. I just wish we had more of a system that allows us to enjoy this life, this one life you get.

I am one of the fortunate ones that didn't have the biggest loan amount and saved enough to pay it off completely once that pause is lifted (hoping for a relief instead because now I'm worried about child expenses). It would be nice to keep that money, use it for something else. 

I enjoyed my college experience. I met some amazing people, enjoyed some moments along with the constant state of anxiety for my assignments due. Even after finishing school, I still find things to get anxious about everyday. It is apparently my emotional state. 

If there is anything I am going to pass along to this kid, it's save money. Always. Don't go to college right away or at all. Work and save. Think about what you want to do. And if what you want to do doesn't require a degree don't get it. But if you do want experience, do it. Save or get some scholarships (because we'll try to save money for you but I doubt it will be enough to cover even one semester in the future). Again, I don't regret it but I could have been smarter about it. My husband sure was and he doesn't have to worry about a student loan, just our mortgage.