College is a huge turning point in many people’s lives. That was especially true for me. There are of course many academic benefits to college, but this week’s blog will focus on the non-academic benefits. Please follow the blog and Facebook page if you haven’t already, and if you like this blog, please share it so the rest of your friends can read it as well.
Before we get into everything great about college, I want to start by talking about some of its drawbacks. First off, money is a huge issue that deters a lot of people from attending, even those who really want to. For some, the thought of being put into tens of thousands of dollars of debt is too much to handle. For others, they just have a difficult time in academic settings and believe that getting through high school is accomplishment enough, and it can be! There is nothing wrong with foregoing a college education, and a lot of very wealthy and successful people never went to college. Another drawback to college is that a degree is no longer worth what it used to be. Some jobs today require a bachelor’s degree and yet are still only willing to pay out $11 or $12 an hour. This risk/reward factor is just another huge deterrent in recent times.
In spite of all the drawbacks and reasons to not go to college, I am so happy that I did. It changed my life. For me, college wasn’t about the degree or the education, even though I did work very hard and strived to do my best. It was about everything surrounding the education. What made my college experience so special was the quidditch club. Our team quickly became a family. We did everything together and traveled all over the east coast to compete in tournaments. It was the first group of friends that I’d ever had where I could completely be myself. No judgement. That’s what makes the college experience so worth doing. Nobody cares what you do or how you do it, so you can experiment and figure out exactly who you want to be. College presents an opportunity to discover yourself and discover what you want to do with the rest of your life. That was something I never got in high school or in the small town that I grew up in. Everyone was judgmental, and everyone had their noses in everyone else’s business. If you were anything other than “normal,” you felt like you were suffocating in the process of acting as if you were normal. College allowed me to breathe. College allowed me to realize that life doesn’t have to be like that.
Debt is pretty hard after college, not going to lie, but it’s not as bad as it seems. My only recommendation is to not take out any private loans if you can help it. I couldn’t avoid it, unfortunately, and those hit the hardest. The federal loans, however, can be worked with, and you can set yourself up for an income-based payment, which is really nice. If you work for a nonprofit, like me, you can sign up for the student loan forgiveness plan. After making 120 payments towards your loans while working for a nonprofit organization, the remaining balance is wiped clean, so basically 10 years of payments. Again, this applies to federal loans only. You can do income-driven as well, meaning if your income is low enough, your “payment” may be $0 a month, and it still counts. That isn’t my situation, but the experience that I had in college was worth any debt I have now. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
If you are currently in college, first of all, I want to tell you that I’m jealous and I wish that I still was too. Also, don’t graduate! It’s a trap to adulting. Don’t wish your college away, looking forward to graduation. If you hate college and are just skating through classes and not doing anything outside of your scheduled seminars, then no wonder you hate it. Go to events that your school is hosting. Join a club! I personally recommend quidditch, but any club that offers something of interest to you will do. If you can’t find a club that interests you, then make one! My college was amazing about starting and funding new clubs. If you wanted to do something and could justify it, then they would let you make a club for it. You would be surprised just how many people may be interested in the same thing as you. Do something productive with your time! You don’t have to go crazy with it, but utilize your skills and interest and invest them into a school activity. You’ll become more engaged in the college experience, and you may find yourself enjoying it a lot more.
Thanks for reading my blog this week! I know it’s a bit shorter than my posts typically are, but I wanted to talk about a topic that wasn’t so deep. I realized the last few weeks have been fairly heavy, and so I wanted to talk about something a bit more light and happy, something that still meant a lot to me and was a huge part of how I got to where I am today. I wouldn’t be writing this blog unless I’d had my experience at college. Again, I encourage everyone to please utilize that contact link and send me ideas for topics that you want to read about!
Hasta La Pasta,