Students Need More Financial Help

Federal Student Aid Office, Please Take A Moment To Step In Our Shoes

Maybe if you saw it from our perspective, you'd see how confusing student loans are.

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I just do not understand the concept of loans.

OK, maybe I do, and I just really dislike the concept.

Anyone who begins the loan process knows just how painful it can be. I just think the fact of the matter is, whoever is top dog at deciding the interest rate, should be taking in consideration a little more than an income.

Honestly, I am going to be real here, most of us who apply for loans do not have access to the money right away. There is no way we can pay that back in a short period of time, which is why they give you something like 10-15 year plans to pay it off.

Anyone who has loans knows that the interest rate is never your friend. It will eat you alive. So for those of you who think you are getting away with only taking out $5000, I am very sorry to disappoint but you will be paying at the least, double that amount. All because of interest, and those of you who have to take out a $10000 loan will actually be paying somewhere around $25000.

Yeah, I know.

Do not forget about those federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans your school gives you to pay back after you graduate. Don't you forget about those. Oh, I see you only had to take out $4000? Well, add on interest, so that puts you to about $9000, and oh boy that $6000 worth of federal loans just snuck up on you like that. So looks like you are paying roughly $15000. Just for year. HA. Wow. OK. I need a tissue.

So, it is definitely a good to start paying off while you are in school, if you can afford it, because then it will probably save you a couple thousand.

Just please let me know where these people (loan distributors) think I am going to get all that money from. Most definitely not from my job that pays me minimum wage, or my four-year old brother.

There are plenty of external and internal circumstances I think they should be taking into consideration. Like, whether or not you help pay rent in your house because your mother/father doesn't work, or maybe the fact that you are busting your a** everyday working overtime every week, to help support your family of 8, or what about the ones who work 2 jobs, plays a sport, and still cannot afford to buy himself/herself a new pair of sneakers? Think about the ones who come home from a long day just to clean up the empty bottles of beer piled on the table, or who takes the beating so their siblings can have a better life, or how about those who come from foster homes?

What about them? Take that into consideration before digging our financial grave.

We don't ask for the life we have, we were given it. We were thrown into poverty, divorce, fighting, gangs, drugs, abuse, etc. We didn't ask for it. Sometimes, people are blessed with a baby at an age you aren't capable of nurturing, and that's OK, but they didn't ask for it. At least, I hope not.

I hope I made the point of the fact that there are a lot of us out there who can't show the state of living we are in, just our income. And, there are a lot of us who I think are unfairly given and unfair interest rate, or not enough financial aid.

Trust me, we all need help, some more than others.

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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A Message To High School Seniors

It's going to be alright.

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Dear High School Seniors,

You've made it! In just a few months you will be getting ready to put on your cap and gown and walk across the stage to get your diploma. Soon, you're gonna say goodbye to the life you've known for the past four years and start a new life somewhere else. At this point, your senioritis has most likely already kicked in and you're probably dreading waking up at 7 a.m. more and more each day. The second semester of senior year is annoying but cherish every moment of it.

Everything is about to change. As you walk down the hallways look around. Take a second to look at your classmates and ask them how their day is going. Learn about them and the stories they have to share with the world. Everybody has some advice to give and you never know what you're going to learn. Before you know it, you won't be seeing their faces anymore. The only form of connection you'll have with most of them is through social media which will eventually fade as well. You don't want your only memories of those you graduated with to be just seeing their face in the hall.

Go to the places you love the most. Whether it's your favorite hometown restaurant or your favorite place to hang out with your friends, go. Go until you're sick of it. Take a second to acknowledge the sights and smells around you. You're going to miss them. In a few months, you won't be able to jump in your car and drive five minutes to get there. The places that make your home your home are about to be a long car ride or flight away.

Spend time with your family. This is one thing I wish I realized earlier more than anything. Your parents are most likely going to soon become visibly upset or scared at the fact that you're leaving them. After all, you are their little girl or boy. This time is just as stressful for them as it is for you. But don't make fun of them, hang out with them. You're going to miss the once dreaded trips to the grocery store with your mom and the annoying car rides with your little brother. You really don't realize how important your family is to you until they're not a few footsteps away anymore. Unfortunately, no amount of facetime calls will ever compare to being with them in person. Don't leave home wishing you had spent more time with them.

Be involved in the things happening at your school. Go to prom. Buy a yearbook and get as many people as you can to sign it. Go to the football, basketball, baseball and soccer games you have left. These activities may seem boring at times but they are what you're going to miss. When you get to a big university it isn't going to be as easy to get involved.

Get excited about for the future. Even if you're not going to your dream school, it's going to be ok. The second semester of my senior year I spent upset over the fact I was going to stay at an in-state school. The school I'm at now was the last place I had thought about attending. I almost didn't even apply. However, I am so lucky that I did. I truly can not imagine there being a school that could have been a better choice for me. The people I have met and the opportunities I have been given would have never been put in front of me if I had attended another school. Try to keep an open mind. Everything really does happen for a reason. If you aren't going to the school you originally were hoping to, don't stress. You're going to end up at the place right for you, at least I know I did.

College is amazing but there will always be something special about your home. Make sure you make these last few months your best months. These next few months will be filled with a whole lot of lasts and followed by a whole lot of firsts. Good luck!

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