For a good chunk of my 23-year-old life, I grew up in a C.R.E.A.M. household. Not to say that Wu-Tang was blasting through my momma’s surround sound speakers in the living room, but the money mentality was always at the top of mind.
When it came time for college applications, CUNY schools were most attractive because of the low costs, but after visiting several campuses, I knew St. John’s University in Queens would be my alma mater. Thankfully, I was granted a partial scholarship. Unthankfully, it racked me up quite the ugly post-graduation debt.
Raised by a single mother, we had to reach out to several family friends just to get a co-sign on school loans on top of loans. I can vividly recall sifting through bills and all I saw were signs, but not in the way Rihanna does. Even though It’s been a good 365+ since I walked the commencement runway, nothing puts more real in real world than trying to dig into your pockets for monthly payments to Sallie Mae and Co.
Still, I pursued journalism as my major, knowing that my future would be condemned to scrounging for change and trying to make ends meet prosperous beginnings. Now that I’ve been able to turn my freelance work into a more stable position, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wish this college debt would pay itself.
Even if it feels like I’m extorting bill collectors in exchange for their silence (they blow up phones worse than a drunk ex), I don’t regret my college experience. At the same time, I understand being confined to a syllabus isn’t for everybody. The wealthiest people didn’t bag a degree (Mark Zuckerberg, Jay-Z) but could probably school a couple of professors in street smarts and business savvy if given the chance.
Just be honest with yourself about your future and check the outside pressure of conventional success at the door. If done right, life will mirror a Mastercard commercial and the memories you make, priceless.