Thursday, July 7, 2016

Student Loans and You

Meet Sam! Sam, are you intimidated by the loans you are about to take out to continue your education?

I would be lying if I said there was no level of intimidation or anxiety associated with taking out student loans to attend grad school. It is a substantial level of cumbersome debt that will be hanging over my head and it will take time to repay. However, it is important to assess the value of this debt by weighing the short and long term benefits/consequences. I view my education as an investment in both self and career so my decision to take on debt is strategized and thought out. My degree must make sense with my interests, aspirations, and career path. Do you have a tentative repayment plan upon graduation? Will the average salaries in your field allow you to cover fixed living expenses, tuition payment installations, and maintenance of a personal life? Is there potential for employer repayment of loans? These long term questions are just a few items I thought about before taking on educational debt.

Undergrad, I received my BA from the University of Delaware studying political science/global affairs and French. With a liberal arts degree like that, there are far fewer direct tracks to follow to ensure employment after graduation like with financial or medical degrees. I believe the educational experience is what you make of it i.e. the level of effort put in to your studies, developing a network, and finding work experience before graduation. I made a point to get involved in my school and to do internships/fellowships in the summer and winter breaks. I was then able to leverage these experiences to find employment immediately after I graduated.

After being in the workforce for a number of years, I feel as though I have a better sense of my interests, aspirations, and career path and I am more comfortable taking on graduate school debt as my next investment in self/career. Next month I will start my graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies earning an MA in Global Risk. I plan to take full advantage of all of the opportunities this program has to offer and am confident I will land on my feet upon graduation. 

Thanks Sam for your honest answer! We wish you the best on your next journey. Is anyone else taking out loans soon to continue their education?

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