Hello, everyone. Many of us graduate from college with some amount of debt. Some can pay it off quickly while others struggle with it. For a while, I was in that struggling group. Circumstances and misinformation have caused my loans to be higher now than they were when I graduated from college. I'm glad that I'm actively paying on them now, but I wish I would have got a jump on them earlier. In today's post, I want to go over some things that I would differently.

Number 1: I would Have Applied Myself More in High School

I'd like to think that I was a pretty good student in high school. I rarely missed any days. I turned my work in on time. I also graduated with a 3.0 GPA. Looking back, I realized that I could have done better in my classes. I could have graduated with at least a 3.7 GPA if I worked just a little bit harder. The work was easy. I got lazy and did enough just to get by. I can't go back in time and change what I did, but I can educate the youth.

Number 2: I Should Have Applied for More Scholarships

Since I graduated from high school with a 3.0 GPA, I was able to receive a scholarship. That was free money that I didn’t have to pay back. If my mind were in the right place, I would have applied for more scholarships. As a high school senior, I applied for a few of them, but I failed to realize how much of a numbers game it was. I should have started applying for scholarships in the eleventh grade. I also should have set a goal to apply for a certain amount each month. The more that I would have applied for would have made the chances better for me to get some more money for school. There is no telling what could have happened. My student loan debt may not even exist today if that would have happened.

Number 3: I Would Have Maintained a Higher GPA

Earlier, I stated that I graduated from high school with a 3.0 GPA. I wish my GPA would have stayed there once I got to college. It fluctuated between 2.2 and 2.8. That was due to me adjusting to life away from home. I'll also be the first to admit that I had fun in college. I had a lot of fun. A lot of scholarships have a 3.0 or higher grade point average requirement. That was just something that I did not have. If you're currently in high school or college, keep your grades up. You could potentially qualify for thousands of dollars in scholarship money because of your good GPA.

The Smart Approach to Student Loans

Number 4: I Would Have Taken out Less Private Loans

I think a lot of college grads would say that they would have taken out fewer private student loans. I know I would have. My loans weren’t' too much in the beginning. The amount grew over the years due to late fees and interest. Life after college would be much different without my student loan debt. I would be a lot better off financially than I am right now.

Number 5: I Would Have Looked for a Full-Time Job During my Senior Year in College

The younger version of me made a huge mistake back in the day. Instead of looking for a full-time job during my senior year, I chilled and figured they'd be easy to find after I graduated. At the time was just happy to graduate from college. I had been there for 5.5 years. It was a celebration and I was going to enjoy myself. I partied and traveled during the summer after I graduated, I don't know what the heck I was thinking. It took me a year and a half to get my first full-time job. During that time, I struggled. My savings was nonexistent. I wasn't able to pay all of my bills either. I had to choose which ones were more important. That's why I'm in the situation that I'm in now. A full-time job would have helped me get my finances in order much sooner.

Number 6: I Would Not Have Gone Back to School Unless I was 100% Sure

I was lost in 2012. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. Like many people, I decided to go back to school like it was going to solve my problems. That was a huge mistake. I "attended" classes for two semesters and realized that school wasn't for me anymore and that I was wasting my time. I also added another $12,000 to my student loan debt totals. If you're debating on going back to school, make sure that you are serious about it.