Dear College Self: About that College Debt

When Jamie from Earnest reached out to me, and invited me to join the conversation on what I would write in a letter to my college self, I wasn’t sure where to start. What tips and advice would I share with my college self? What things would I do all over again the exact same way, and where would I have done things differently? When it came down to student loan debt,  Dustin and I actually came out of it pretty fair. But I remember that as I prepared to go to college, I figured, a massive amount of student debt was just a part of the deal.  So here’s where I would start…and enjoy the college photos you’ll see along the way!

About that College Debt

Dear College Self,

You’re doing it! You are out on your own. You’re going to experience a lot of new things in the next four years of college. You’ll meet new people, travel to new places, work, go to clinicals, get married, rent an apartment, and eventually graduate with an RN. Whoa! But I’m getting a little ahead of myself!

When you first head to college, you know there is going to be a lot of student loan debt. But that’s what is supposed to happen in college, right?  You got a few scholarships, and they help,  but there’s still a lot left over. But you’re going to a GREAT school with a GREAT nursing program. A lot of people you know were paying off their student loans for years! Sure, it took them a long time, but that’s just a right of passage…right?

Ok, college self, often going to college involves some amount of debt, but there are some ways you can help bring down that number to a less jaw dropping sort of amount. You found a part time job at the school, so that helps! Way to go! Spoiler alert…you get married before your Sophmore year…which actually ends up saving you a lot of money. Best advice, maybe get married before your Freshman year? Just kidding…kind of…

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Ok, but seriously, enjoying college and coming out of it without sky high student loan debt is all about balance. Explore all your scholarship options. Don’t be afraid to look at colleges that are cheaper, but still have great programs. Seriously look at colleges that are local and can help you save money. But if it turns out that the more expensive, out of state college you love is truly your perfect fit, find other ways to save!

Finding a part time job on campus is a great choice! Save as much as you can to pay off those student loans and buy your daily needs, but don’t be afraid to make a few memories. Go on that cross cultural trip even though it’s expensive. The memories you make and the life lessons learned go far beyond your savings account. Go out with friends, try new foods, go on date nights. Make the memories that you can only make now.  Just remember that it will all need to balance out some how! Go out, but don’t order the most expensive thing. Choose date nights to places that are free! Make the memories without breaking the bank.

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Take advantage of that college discount! Use the free gym, go to free college events, get the college discount with your student ID as often as you can. Little steps to save, can pay off!! Work to not spend beyond your means, and be aware of what that number means.

Take the little steps. Save where you can. Enjoy the moments that will only happen once and make some memories.

All right, college self, you got this!

Love, Future Mom self. Yup, that’s right. You have three kids now, and they’re pretty great…and kind of expensive too!

Now what to do after college! That would definitely be a whole different letter in itself, but if you still have student loans, a good place to check out would be the Earnest website. Take a look around and see how they can help you refinance your student loans!

What would you write to your college self!?