There are many reasons why students across America are taking out student loans, but I’m perplexed regarding the response that many who graduate with a large amount of student loan debt receive. I hear and read all types of opinions everyday. You are very well entitled to your own opinion, but what I won’t have is someone talking down on me (because I’m one of those students) and looking at me from their high horse insinuating that I’m stupid and deserve to be in debt. Nah, let’s clear a few things up.
Recently, I read a comment on an article about the main reason students get into debt. It is because they are bombarded with messages as early as grade school that college is the way to go. They receive preparation to make it into college, but one key element is missing — financial literacy. The comment that gave me pause was, “I don’t have much sympathy for those who exit college with student debt. They need to pay it just like those who pay for college without taking on debt.”
See, I was initially going to address this from the point of view of a student who has taken on student loan debt and the reasons behind this decision that many of us make. However, I don’t feel like playing nice for the sake of simply being nice. I want to reply, “Excuse the hell out of me, what makes you assume that I don’t want to pay my loans back?” I’m not one of these graduates out here proudly defaulting on my loans. I’m not trying to seek forgiveness for my loans. Heck, I want to pay them all back and have a laugh in your face party when it’s all said and done.
The reason the comment mentioned above gave me pause was because it implies that these students know of the alternatives. Many who take on crippling amounts of student loan debt simply just don’t know any better. They want to go to school. What is wrong with that? Absolutely nothing! What is wrong is high schools continue to pump out students who are educated on everything but personal finances. Then there are the parents. Many of them can’t manage money themselves (again, because they weren’t taught) and the problem continues to perpetuate itself.
Parents work and if you’re not a part of that “privileged” class of individuals with unlimited access to resources or those who have saved, then sometimes — just sometimes, the child figures their only way out of their current situation is to go to school to better themselves. Their parents don’t talk about scholarships, financial aid, or even know what the heck a 529 college plan may be. They probably know what debt is and if they’ve been given the impression that student loan debt is good debt and worthwhile to better their lives, guess what? They are going to take loans out.
Who says these kids are lazy and don’t want to work for their education? They graduated didn’t they? If they graduated, they had to do something in the four years they spent in the higher educational school system. Now they’ve graduated, can’t find a job in their field and are feeling the effects of all of the debt they’ve taken on. Do they (I) need your sympathy? Nope! But another thing we don’t need is you looking down your nose on us as if we asked for this outcome.
Since everyone is entitled to their own opinion though, I’ll let you keep yours without going back and forth with you in a public forum. I will say this, however, even when you’re entitled to your own opinion, your opinion should seek to offer a solution, uplift, and encourage someone instead of making them feel belittled and ashamed about wanting to go to school and better their life.
After all, not everyone has learned common sense about money or debt management at an early age. Not everyone was raised learning how to be practical with money. Some of us just wanted our futures to be better than the present and were sold a lie when we were told college was the solution to achieving the so-called American dream. Get off your high horse already, and keep your sympathy. Hell, it’s not going to help me eliminate my $80,000 student loan balance anyway.