Everywhere I turn, I feel like I hear people repeating the mantra that a college degree doesn’t matter anymore. While that may be true for some people, it certainly wasn’t true for me.
I credit my college degree, and the experience I have gained since, with the success I’ve had in my adult life. I truly believe I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it weren’t for a college degree.
Unlike many people I know, I didn’t grow up in a home with college-educated parents. I didn’t have anyone steering me towards college – that was all on me.
My mom actually discouraged me from going to college. She told me I should be realistic and just get a job like a normal person. Fortunately, I have always been self-driven, so that didn’t deter me.
When my senior year of high school came around, I applied to college using money I had saved from babysitting. I only had enough money to apply to 5 colleges, so I tried to make wise choices.
I was accepted to every college I applied to, but I decided to attend Pepperdine University. Of course, it was the most expensive college on my list.
I knew I’d need financial assistance to make it through college. What the financial aid office told me I would be awarded still wouldn’t be enough to pay for all of my expenses, but I enrolled in good faith that everything would work out.
The first week of school came around and I still didn’t have the rest of the money, so I went to the financial aid office (in tears) asking for help. That’s when I learned about private student loans.
They showed me how I could use a private student loan to cover the gap, and I signed up right away. For the rest of my time at Pepperdine, money was tight, but I made it work.
When I graduated, I moved back to San Diego and started applying for jobs in public relations and marketing. After two months, I accepted a position as a marketing assistant at a hotel in downtown San Diego.
Then I moved through a few other jobs, honing my skills in sales, marketing and public relations. Then I finally landed a marketing communications position at a big, reputable company – Cardinal Health.
I worked there for 4.5 years before I left to stay at home with my older daughter.
A college degree was a requirement for every job I held after college. I never would have gained all of that experience without my college degree.
After being a stay at home mom for a while, I decided to start a freelance writing business. That business was very successful, but I left it behind for blogging.
While it has been a long, winding path to get to where I am today – I never would have gotten to where I am right now without my college education.
I’m not going to claim that every person needs a college education for every life path. I will, however, say that it was absolutely critical in my life path.
If I hadn’t walked into the financial aid office that day and learned about private student loans, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog post right now! Or any articles on this blog for that matter.
I have paid off about 3/4 of my student loans, but I still have a little ways to go with my final private student loan. Bit by bit, day by day, I’m chipping away at it. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Each time I make a payment, it’s a reminder that I followed my heart and did what was right for me.
One thing I know a lot of people are scared about is the repayment. Don’t be! If you find yourself in a tough financial position in the future, you can work with your servicer on your available repayment options until you find yourself in a better place, and that’s okay!
You can pick yourself back up and keep putting one foot in the front of the other. If you keep doing that, just keep moving forward, you’ll find that you can walk down any path you want.
Will your path include college? Will your child’s? That’s up to you, but don’t let the fear of financing scare you.