First Person: My Love-Hate Relationship with My Student Loans

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First Person: My Love-Hate Relationship with My Student Loans
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Natasha K. Johnson

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner, who infamously fled Congress after his sexting scandal, announced Wednesday he'll run for mayor of New York. Would voters elect him? Here's one resident's reaction.

COMMENTARY | I live in Washington State and I am 24 years old.

Like many recent graduates, student loans are the bane of my financial existence. I graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology last year and, at 24 years old, owe $48,000 in student loans.

I have been paying my loans off for about six months now and realized that if I don't pay more than the minimum amount of $500-plus, I am basically only paying off the interest accumulated on the principal amount.

Just to clarify: Unless I find about $1,000 to pay each month, I am paying the interest while more interest accumulates. Great. With many employers looking for five to eight years of experience in my field of business management, it has been difficult to find a solid position.

At this rate, it will take me about 10 years to pay off and will, in the end, have accumulated a little more than $13,000 in interest. Ouch. I have a love-hate relationship about my feelings toward student loans. I love them because they allowed me to study, almost worry free, and get the most out of my education. I say "almost" because even though I didn't have to worry about them at the moment, I knew the day would come when I would lament forking over a chunk of my paycheck on the 15th of every month to pay it off. That's why I hate them.

That being said, other than my wallet, they don't really have a negative impact on my life. I have always been the frugal type and handle my responsibilities so I just dig my heels in and try to get these loans paid off as soon as possible -- hopefully, in less than 10 years!

Being that I have not been able to secure the position of my dreams, I wouldn't say that my loans have helped me secure a job or the life that imagined as an undergrad (not that my position is directly linked to my loans). I would recommend to students to aim for academic scholarships and grants. Being that it should be the responsibility of the student to repay any loans taken out for his/her education, scholarships and grants can tremendously lower the amount that has to be borrowed.

All in all, I do not regret, taking out these loans. They allowed me to obtain a great education and priceless experience in my field that many other students at other universities don't get a chance to obtain.

Although I value the education that my loans helped me achieve, I do believe that student loans are a major problem in America. Many students do not get hired right out of college and end up back home with their parents. No Income = default Loans. Period. That is a problem because it creates a chain reaction. Defaulted loans lead to wage garnishments and a low credit score.

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