Image Credits: TIME

In this day and age, a college education is extremely expensive, and very few people can simply write a check for four years’ worth of an education. For those that are able to pay for college in this way, I salute you. You are extremely lucky and blessed to be alleviated of the stresses involved in college debt and paying for school. My position has forced me to view my education in a different light. I’ve had to take out loans, and I will have to continue to do so to fund my education. The loans are in my name, not my parents. That means the responsibility to repay these loans falls on my shoulders. It is downright scary having such a large number hanging over my head, with no one else responsible for it but myself. Before making the decision to go away to college and to continue my education in a new place, I took into consideration the burden associated with paying down my debt. My family and loved ones help me in any way that they can, and I most certainly would not be able to advance as far as I have without them. I made the decision to take on student loans, I stand by it, and I am not crying foul that someone else should pay it for me.

Making this decision has forced me to view school and my education differently. I have always been someone who takes great pride in my education, and I always tried my best in school. That has not changed. Now that I am funding my education with my own money, I think twice about doing something that may negatively impact my grades. My performance in school is completely up to me. In college, it is especially easy to slack off or spend one too many nights binge watching Netflix with friends. I quickly learned that slacking off will not help my future or make my college education worthwhile. It may be easy to slide by with the bare minimum; however, I want more than that. I want to be the best I can be and learn as much as I can in school, so I can become even more successful when I graduate. With the weight of impending debt hanging over my head, I am pushed to work harder to reach my lofty goals.

I want to emphasize that this is not a complaint piece. I have made all of these decisions solely on my own, and I take full responsibility for any of the potential outcomes. Having done fairly well throughout high school, I had the opportunity to attend my local community college for two years for next to nothing. I qualified to go to school for free, but I knew that that was not the path for me. I personally felt that I would get a better education and be closer to fulfilling my goals by going away to school, and I still stand by that decision today. I love where I go to school, and I feel as if the financial commitment is completely worth it. I am not complaining that my education is not being paid by either my family or the government. I am smart enough to realize that I put myself in this position, and that I did have other alternatives. I feel that my decision to go away for school, and take out loans in my name was still the right decision for me, and that motivates me every day to work hard and not give up until I’ve reached my goals.

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