Opinion: School, loans and debt

Albert+Fisler+is+a+junior+English+major+and+a+columnist+for+The+Kent+Stater.+Contact+him+at+afisler%40kent.edu.

Albert Fisler is a junior English major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

Albert Fisler

According to NBC News, it is now estimated that student loans have hit a record high of $1.2 trillion. That is a staggering number, but when one realizes that all that money is debt, it starts to become even scarier. So, when I was informed today that I would be spending an extra year in school that I had not planned on, I was quite unhappy, to say the least. Despite all the credits and classes I had already taken, I was told I needed at least 30 more credits, strictly of higher division courses. Of course, looking back now,, it makes sense and seems obvious, yet when asking during each advising appointment if I was on schedule to graduate (despite my year off due to financial incapability), I always received a similar response of “Yeah, you’re doing great; keep going!” It was usually accompanied with a great big grin and a thumbs up; so I was inclined to believe them.  

Of course, it is up to each individual to tend to his or her own schedule, as well as create it, and obviously there isn’t enough staff for advisors to personally check and keep track of each student’s success. Therefore, there was not much I could do but chalk it up as a loss against the institution. But my anger remains valid from receiving inconsistent feedback. Nevertheless, if I had indeed gained access to the information I needed, and had known that I needed certain information, I would be graduating much sooner, and in return, starting my life out in the “real world” much sooner.

Though, not everyone’s case is similar to mine, one fact remains true: Students are racking up debt, and a decent majority are unable to finish college in the time they expected, or even finish at all, which still results in debt either way. Leaving the world of dormitories and the helping hands of parents to start off in the negative is more than hindering to anyone. With all this debt, graduates are scrambling to find jobs in hopes to trim this debt that they will be carrying for a good portion of their lives.  

This domino effect of one thing delaying the next seems to reach further than just the academic or career portion of one’s life. Due to this instability, people have been struggling to save for houses, retirement and even for starting a family.

“I’m sure there are people who say, ‘I don’t want to have a husband or a wife who is $100,000 in debt,’ but I think the real problem is more indirect,” said Cody Hounanian, graduate of University of California, Los Angeles in an NBC News article. “There’s almost not enough time to go out and start a family. It’s an aspect that people forget. Planning and investing: forming relationships get in the way of that.”  

It seems that Americans are marrying much older than they used to. A study by the Pew Research Center, reported by NBC News, shows the median age at first marriage is now 27 for women and 29 for men, while in 1960, the median age was 20 for women and 23 for men.

Times have certainly changed, as well as the effects college has on one’s life. The sooner you finish, the sooner you start your life, and the longer you delay graduation, the more you might delay different aspects of your life. In the end, I encourage anyone reading this to learn from my story and mistakes so you don’t have to make them on your own.