Student loans. They're the worst part of going to college, right? You can suffer through the late nights of studying, early morning classes, and cramming in school work over the summer, because you know that it'll all be worth it when you get that diploma. But just when you think all of the hard work is over, you get slammed with student loan repayments.
Before I ever started college, I didn't think anything about the money. I planned to earn my Bachelor's in four years, no matter what it took, and then go on to get my Master's in the two years after that. Of course, once we planned on moving to Florida, my plans shifted slightly, but not by much. I still finished my Bachelor's in the four years that I promised myself would be the extent of my undergrad schooling, and I'm incredibly proud of that. Most people don't finish in four years, especially when you have what is technically a double major (education & English) and a minor (Deaf Studies). The only thing that had to change in my plan was the fact that I was going to take a year off between my undergrad and graduate years. I would take the year to get settled down here, start working at Disney (another goal accomplished), and then start looking at grad schools for the 2016-2017 school year. But know I do know at least a little bit about student loans.
More specifically, I know that college isn't cheap. I know that graduate school isn't cheap, and I know that it takes a lot of hard work to get through it, but I want to finish as quickly as possible. Still, I now face a dilemma... Can I afford to go to graduate school right now, when I still don't fully understand how undergrad loans work?
I've been thinking about grad school a lot lately. I'm happy with my position in the Disney Company, though I hope to move up in the world someday, and I'm happy with teaching sign language on the side. However, I want more from my life at some point. I'm not done learning. I want to take my Deaf Studies minor and turn it into something that I can move forward with in grad school. I want to learn more sign language and see where it can take me. But I don't know if I'm ready to commit to grad school and everything that it entails, money included. What I really wish I could do would be to just take some ASL classes one by one in my free time, before becoming a full-time student again, but even single classes at the college level are incredibly expensive. You just can't win!
So in the meantime, I continue to research and weigh my options. I browse the websites of local grad schools once in a while, just to see what's out there. I think about where sign language could take me in the future, so I'll know exactly what avenues I want to pursue when the time comes. And I guess I should really look into understanding student loans, both for undergrad and for possible grad schools. There's so much to do as a college student; you'd think all of the hard work would be enough. There should be a free class included on how to understand student loans, maybe in high school or something. Oh, and someone should think about offering classes on understanding important things like filing taxes or understanding car insurance as well. If I didn't have my parents in my corner, telling me each step to take as I learn to navigate the adult world, I would never survive. Absolutely nothing makes sense to me, but I guess that's what your twenties are all about. And just think, I'm only two (and almost a half) years into this decade of life. I've got a whole lot more navigating to do.
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