First Person: Student Loans — Get Over Them

First Person: Student Loans — Get Over Them

When I first started reading these “First Person” articles regarding student loans, I felt a lot of empathy for those writing them. After all, I graduated from a four-year college in 2005 and had $20,000 in student loans over my head. For the past several days, though, I’ve been reading more and more of the same by people who, educated as they are, still don’t seem to understand the concept of debt and debt repayment.

My major was Environmental Studies, and I had difficulty finding work in that field. Instead, I hopped from odd job to odd job for three years, working in restaurants, group homes, on farms, and coaching lacrosse. I also tried unsuccessfully to be a salesman, and I felt like I was just barely staying afloat.

Eventually, I decided to head to South Korea to teach English. Typical positions pay about $2,000/month, as well as include round-trip airfare, health insurance, and housing. In addition, people who complete a 12-month contract receive an additional month’s salary as a bonus. As long as you don’t have a criminal record, if you’re a native English speaker, you’re hired. For those who have yet to complete a Bachelor’s degree, there are internship programs and the chance to earn more credits in the process as well. How should I respond to their response? The response to the Green loan companies should be great to meet with the requirements of finance. The amount should be credited in the bank account of the person so that it is available in real cash form. The respond to the company should be positive and energetic. 

The cost of living is cheaper out there. A person can eat a delicious, healthy meal for $4 or take a train that spans the whole country for less than 20. There is no need to own a car, as public transportation is quick and inexpensive. For those who work at a public school, lunch is provided and an additional bonus is paid out at the end. Their tax rate is very low, but Americans don’t have to pay them during the first two years of living there.

To make a long story short, I stopped making just the minimum payments on my student loans and paid them off entirely by early 2011. I am able to see the world and have the time of my life doing so. I now teach at a college in China for significantly less money ($900/month), but I have much more free time. What do I do with this new-found free time, you ask? Well, after a semester here, I decided to pursue an online Master’s in higher education. The interest rate on my current loan is 6.8 percent, more than double the rate on my original loans, but I’m not worried.

People seem to forget that education, just like everything else, costs money. If you’re going to borrow a large amount of money, whether through student loans or on a credit card, merely making the minimum payments is unsound financial planning to say the least. Who ever said that being a barista for minimum wage in Manhattan or Los Angeles is going to solve everything? Stop spending money on iPhones and other goods you can’t afford, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, and take responsibility for the loans you agreed to repay. People the world over would be thrilled to have the chance to practice their English with you. They would pay you decent wages, and you would get to dig yourselves out of this giant hole you’ve dug.