Sometimes, I Regret Going to College

As my loan shark company was telling me that I basically used all of my extensions and would have to start repaying soon though I technically don’t graduate until August, I felt my blood boiling. As he was trying to explain to me my options in regards to repayment, all I could think about is how the woman I talked to five months prior regarding my loan and deferment status lied to me. She told me if I call in May, just asked for a school forebearance and I would be straight. Okay, cool or so I thought. But yet, here I am on the phone with a different rep that’s telling me otherwise.

“Okay, I will keep that in mind. Thank you,” I said trying to not be rude to him and get off the phone. My attitude shifted and I didn’t want to take it out on him. It’s not necessarily his fault that his colleague lied to me. It’s not his fault that I have this loan that I have to repay regardless of whether I was in school or not. None of it was his fault. It was all mine.

They say you shouldn’t live with regrets because you wouldn’t be where you are now. But what if you don’t like where you are now, then what? I try not to think so far back because it makes me depressed that I can’t change anything. That I can’t go back and tell my 18-year old to stay in New York and go to York College with that scholarship and Pell Grant in tow. Or even tell myself to go to Nassau Community College despite everyone I know was going there. I wish I could go back but I know that I can’t which low key frustrates me.

But I did make something of myself. I have a BA that people may shade but if all else fails in life, I know I can be a teacher somewhere with it. I’m just about completed with my Master’s in counseling so I can help people with their life problems for a fee. However, I achieved all of that at a major cost. I have over 60K in loans from 3 different schools and not much to show for it. Yeah, I did find a way better paying job compared to the places I’ve worked before. But my salary is still less than what my loans accrued to.

I get it. You have to start from the bottom or somewhere at least that’s what I’m told. But is the bottom going to pay these loans though? Am I forever going to be in debt because I decided to pursue a degree not entirely because I wanted to but because it was expected of me? College and education overall is supposed to open doors. But yet, I see people all the time who’ve done quite well for themselves and they don’t have a college education. Not going to lie, that does grind my gears at times. Where’s my success story?

College isn’t for everyone and at times I feel like maybe it wasn’t necessarily for me. I especially feel that way when I look at these loans that I, myself, have to pay back. It’s frustrating more so when I wonder if I should have just pursued a vocational degree or get trained in something that cost very little money that I could’ve paid out of pocket. I wonder this because at times, I question why did I get these degrees in the first place. And as someone who changes their mind A LOT, I wish I would’ve thought twice. There were times I considered dropping out being that I was learning more from books than in the classroom. But even if I did drop out, I would STILL be responsible for these loans. Responsible for the reminder that I attempted to get a “proper” education.

This post isn’t to knock education especially since I’m pro-education. However, I do wish obtaining one wasn’t so bloody expensive. I do wish I could’ve been more financially aware when it came down to getting a college degree. I do wish someone would’ve knocked me upside my head and forced me to go to a CUNY school and stay my ass in New York (especially since now I want to move back more than ever).  The irony of that is that ended up going to a SUNY school all the while living down in Charlotte getting in-state tuition courtesy of the five year residency rule. Go figure.

Maybe I don’t regret my education but maybe I regret how I went about it. Maybe I regret that I didn’t major in something that would at least guarantee me a good paying job. I had this epiphany during my residency for my graduate program wondering why I didn’t just go for school counseling like I was originally considering. What the hell am I really supposed to do with this degree? Yeah, I want to counsel but will I really be able to set up my own business with this particular degree? Did I just set myself up for $40K failure? 

I do appreciate my education, my degrees, and the fact that despite how many times I considered dropping out, I continued. I’m happy to finally see the finish line of a dream that I had as a child. I didn’t know what exactly I was going to with my life (I really, really, really wanted to be a meteorologist but the lack of jobs in that field forced me to look in other directions) but I knew I wanted not one, but three degrees. Well, I can at least say I finished two and that right there is enough.

But can Sallie Mae and co. take this bill back though?

Photo Credit: Getty Images


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