When I look at blogs, I tend to believe those people have it all together. I would like to make it explicitly clear, dear reader, that I am not one of those people.
I graduated high school early. Not because I was particularly smart, but because I hated attending classes and I figured out that if I transferred to the “adult school” where they sent all of the pregnant students and other “problem” kids, that I could complete a self-paced program that would allow me to get my diploma much earlier.
Unfortunately, my single-mother who was raising me had no money to send me to college. So instead, I worked.
My mother passed away a few days after my 21st birthday. I enrolled in a local art school shortly afterward to study fashion design and merchandising. By the second semester, I realized the school was pretty much a scam and decided to take a job opportunity at the company I had been working for, which allowed me to train to be a retail manager/buyer. The job was in the automotive industry, but I loved the opportunities it gave me to analyze massive amounts of data every day.
By the time my late 20s rolled around, I felt restless, and several of my friends were returning to school to get the Bachelor’s degrees. This motivated me to take a lower ranking position so that I could attend the near-by university and get my degree. My extended family was supportive of this idea, we all bought into the American dream of getting a good education to get a better career. I applied for a transfer to Columbia in New York, and much to my surprise I was accepted.
I’ve been at Columbia for three years now. I am presently 24.5 credits away from graduation. In that time, I’ve also taken out over $150,000 in loans to pay for this impressive education. Additionally, I’ve racked up around $20,000 in consumer debt (a combo of credit cards and being upside-down on my car which I had to sell when I moved to Manhattan). The worst part? When I graduate I will most likely make the same amount of money as the job I had BEFORE I decided to go back to school.
What I want most now is a stable job where I can put down roots and climb the corporate ladder. I don’t want to move around from place to place. I need to make enough money to have some savings and to pay down my debt quickly. I feel like it would be difficult for me to feel comfortable marrying someone or having a child with so much debt. I know there are so many people now days in similar situations with student loans and credit card debt crushing them. This is, unfortunately, the new normal.
The reason I’ve decided to start this blog is because I was having trouble finding content from people like me. I want to write about fighting my debt. I want to write about learning to cook from scratch. I want to talk about trying to dress like a stylish adult while living on a student budget. Just because I don’t have a husband and a family doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in homemaking and building routines and traditions. I want to share my experiences with other people in similar situations. I don’t have it all together, but somehow I’m making it work and I hope that maybe that inspires others a little bit.