Why Is It So Important To Graduate Without Student Loans?

Why Is It So Important To Graduate Without Student Loans?

I want to save as many others as I can in my time on this earth, and in order to do so, I must be safe myself.
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Two weeks ago, I wrote the first article in what I'm calling my “college without debt” series. In tracking my own journey toward a debt-free college degree, I am hoping to show students in my own generation that college doesn't have to leave us with the dreadful student loan payment that oh-so-many adults have told us are the "way of life." I want to show the older generation that we aren't a “give me” generation, but rather that we are a “let me help with that” generation, looking to be the very best that we can be. And I want to do all this in a way that explains how other students, with aspirations such as my own, can get through college the same way.

I'm not going to try to make it sound like this is an easy journey by any means. I'm also not writing any of these articles for the sake of bragging about what I'm doing. I simply want to prove that it's possible to get through college without debt. This week, I want to answer one very important question I've been asked about my journey: Why? Why do I have the goal to graduate debt free?

One of the most common follow ups to the question “Why?” that I hear is, “That's what student loans are there for.” It's expected that if you decide to seek out secondary education straight out of high school, you'll be signing loan papers. That's the accepted way to do college. According to a CNN report, in 2014, 40 million Americans have at least one outstanding student loan, and according to the National Center for Education Statistics, 20.2 million students were expected to attend college in the fall of 2015. Most of those 40 million are likely still paying those loans today, as well as many of those 20.2 million that took out student loans. And, most importantly, US News reports that, although the standard plan for repayment of federal student loans is 10 years, “research has shown the average bachelor's degree holder takes 21 years to pay off his or her loans.” I hope you're already seeing a reason for my rhetoric.

Not only does taking out student loans put you in debt for years (even decades), it's also a stressful process. There are many different kinds of loans, such as subsidized or unsubsidized, federal or private, Stafford or Perkin, and the list goes on and on. Personally, I have two options: Cash or check. And, since apparently you aren’t supposed to walk around with 50 $100 bills in your backpack, the latter is really my only option. Yes, I have a college fund, which has a process for taking money out of, as well as process for putting money into in the first place, but I didn't have to worry about legal trouble. Another plus was that the money I paid involved interest, and it was interest which worked for my benefit, rather than against me, in the long run.

My final, and personally, the most important reason for graduating without debt is that it's teaching me fiscal responsibility in order to live right in the future. I grew up listening to money expert Dave Ramsey in the car with my parents. I have always loved his slogan: “If you live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” Not only does graduating without debt save me from having to pay that back later (along with the interest on the loans), but it's also teaching me how to make money, save money, and eventually I will be able to give money in love for others. A drowning man cannot save another drowning man. I want to save as many others as I can in my time on this earth, and in order to do so, I must be safe myself.

Cover Image Credit: flickr

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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News Flash: 'Building The Wall' Is Still A Dumb Idea And Always Will Be

The government is still partially shutdown because of funding for the wall. Really?

ddrodzx
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A man who is a strong supporter of building the wall told me this metaphor: If you don't want the wrong people walking into your backyard, you put a fence up. We don't want the wrong people coming to America, so we put a wall up. I respect people's political beliefs, and because of this, I want to share mine.

I believe that President Trump demanding money to build a border wall is dumb.

It's hard to believe so many people really think that this "build a wall" has everything to do about border security. It's just inhumane and wrong.

Literally, the most notorious drug lord of Mexico has shed light about how he smuggles the drug into the U.S. They have brought it through fishing boats, trucks going through the legal point of entry, underground tunnel, but not through unwalled parts. The half of million pounds of narcotics that were secured at the border? They were all al legal points of entry.

I'm saying this because I am a proud daughter of immigrants who crossed the border. The media has portrayed immigrants as these horrible people infiltrating our country. They just want somewhere safe to live to raise their kid.

The conditions of Latin American countries are inexplicable. Communist have risen from the ashes dominating these countries letting people rot on the street starving. There are little to no job opportunities. I haven't seen my family in three years because it is dangerous to go.

The media doesn't tell you this. They don't tell you how many people have gone to the border and returned to Mexico because ICE agents tear gas them.

They tell you that they throw babies over fences to distract border patrol agents. They tell you children are dying because of malnutrition of trekking thousands of miles to get the border. They don't tell you that those same children have been eating unmonitored food with thousands of microorganism some mal some good.

Not all immigrants are not bad people. The notions that all immigrants are criminals is "fake news." It has been a hook, line, and sinker for the Republican Party. There are studies such as one from the journal Criminology showing that places with high undocumented immigrant population does not equal high crime.

Should undocumented citizens attempt to become legal residents of the United States? Absolutely, and that is a problem if they are evading taxes and other legal notions with more consequences.

However, we should not lie to ourselves and act as a wall is to help border security against drugs and crime. It's just a physical quota like 1920s immigration laws. There is a better solution then sacrificing 5.7 billion dollars. Let me translate that: 5,700,000,000 dollars. That is our taxes. As a college student, I rather have those 5.7 billion dollars be translated to scholarship, grants, financial aid, and helping us, the future of this country become the best people we can be. Why build a wall when the future of America, who I personally think is more important can be helped.

I don't come from a rich family, and I don't have the means to afford a college education without loans, so when I hear that the Government can afford to give 5.7 billion dollars for a wall, I have the right to be upset. Tell me I'm wrong, and call me dumb, but this is my unpopular opinion.

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ddrodzx

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