Sarah

Excited to graduate, minus debt

Apr 13 • Opinion • 980

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We are nearing the end of the spring semester. The weather is starting to show hints of getting warmer. And in less than a month I will be graduating. I am more than ready to, but at the same time I am nowhere near ready.

The part of me that is ready is very excited to finally be an adult; I’ll get to have a job that I might love, and I’ll have money to spend on things like groceries.

I was told by my dad that the best part about graduating is no longer have homework; once you leave work you are done for the day. This is the part that excites me the most. I am so ready to not have to worry about projects and having to stay up all night to make sure that they get done on time. You’ll also have the bonus of finally being able to tell family members at holiday gatherings that you finally have a job.

There are also some interesting benefits to having a college degree. According to the College Board, college grads have reported being happier with their work. Also, people with a college degree are more likely to make healthier lifestyle choices and are more likely to advance higher in their careers.

But with all of these benefits there are still all of the negatives that make me want to stay a student forever.  The first reason would be student loans. According to The Institute for College Access and Success, in the U.S. “Seven in 10 seniors (69 percent) who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2014 had student loan debt, with an average of $28,950 per borrower.”

In Pennsylvania, the amount is higher at $33,264. But in 2004 the U.S. average debt per borrower was $17,493 with the Pennsylvania average of $19,556; the amount of student debt has almost doubled in 10 years.

Not only are we paying more for college, we are taking longer than expected to pay back our loans. According to US News and World Report, even with borrowers being put on a 10-year track to repay their loans, on average it takes 21 years to pay off student loans.

And to make this a bit more stressful, according to Experience.com it takes on average three to nine months to find a job after graduating college. With a six- month grace period on student loans, this amount of time is a little terrifying.

Once you finally get a job, you can’t wear sweatpants every day unless you were smart enough to go to school to be a gym teacher. You also have to wake up early five days a week, which will be extremely hard for me because my earliest class this semester starts at noon.

The adjustment from college life to professional life will be difficult at times, and there will be days that are extremely discouraging. But I believe that it will all be worth it.

SARAH BARTKOWIAK

bartkowi001@knights.gannon.edu

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