As the summer begins to sink in, more and more high school students are preparing for their venture into the world of University in the Fall. One thing that a number of them will be doing is applying for student loans.
Although in Canada, student loans tend to be a lot more manageable than those of our American counterparts, student loans can still be absolutely crippling. Although we may not necessarily face the same astronomical tuition fees, I have known many a graduate walking away from University with a degree, thousands in debt, and no immediate job possibility.
As someone who has applied to student loans every year, let me tell you, it is a terrifying thing. The idea of owing someone else money later sometimes stresses me out to the point of missing out on sleep. But I often have to, and I learned how to make them work for me, which has in a way, worked against me.
Last year, I received a letter from my loan institution telling me I was being refused loans for the following year (my final year) for by far the silliest reason. I was told I was being refused loans because I had made more money than I thought I would the year before. For our loans, we guess how much money we may make over the course of the year, and if you make more, they do things like that to you.
Well student loans, I apologize for working three jobs over the summer months to pay you off. I also apologize for working over thirty hours a week during the school year while maintaining straight As. I am sorry that my efforts told you that I did not need help anymore to pay the upfront tuition fees of my final year. And the worst part of it all, I know I am definitely not the only one who has faced issues like these. Although in Canada it is pretty easy to pay the difference back to the loans and then be reconsidered for loans, this is not always the case in the United States.
Although I know that when I graduate, I will not be graduating with heaps of debt thanks to working as much as I have, I do know that there are others who will be graduating with crippling debt because they made different choices than I did. Being in our twenties, and as someone who started university at 17, the desire to go out and party rather than work has always been there. But as much as I wanted to party, I wanted my future to be as stress free as possible. I knew I wanted to do a Master’s degree and I knew I could not do that if I graduated from a four year degree with mountains of debt.
My advice to incoming first year students who may be acquiring student loans, do not be scared of it. Yes, loans can be scary, and yes, loans can get out of hand. But if you think it through and honestly, just work, you can graduate without a debt that could influence you negatively later in life. You can do it! And welcome to University!