Waiting, Waiting, and Waiting…then, there it is. A BIG, HUGE, GIANT white envelope. This can only mean, well two things, something bad is in it or it is your acceptance letter. In my case it was this colorful folder with the two words every student is dreaming to see, “YOU’RE IN”. I'm heading to the Big Apple! I'm going to be the first out of my family to go away to college, experience a dorm, and start my career in fashion. The letter in that envelope spoke a million words to me and I was already packing and dreaming. This plan wasn’t my reality, it was a lesson I would soon learn, but my mind at that moment was past the point of no return.
So, a couple of things to keep in mind before your head gets stuck up in cloud nine and can’t come back down. 1.How much is the school? 2. Who is paying for it? 3. Are you going to apply for a loan? 4. Will your career you pay enough so you can start paying your debt off?
1. The college I was going to attend was around $40,000, give or take, and that didn’t include my food plan or my metro pass, which was another $120 a month. 2. I was going to pay for all of it. 3. This was when reality shot into the picture. When the loan came into play and with interest for one year, I was going to owe back $100,000. Yes, the Fashion Industry can pay well; however, not starting at the bottom. This was my reality and it hit me on cloud nine a few weeks before I was leaving and starting my college life.
Let me back track a little bit…two years ago I visited a college in New York City called LIM which stands for Laboratory Institute of Merchandising. This school had connections with well known fashion insiders from designers to fashion magazines to photographers, and most importantly to me, fashion stylists. Becoming a fashion stylist was and still is my dream. To clarify, a fashion stylist borrows or buys the clothes from designers or stores and dresses people according to their body type and personal style, not designing clothes.
I wanted to attend this school because this was the only way I would have the career that I have always dreamed of and in a city that I never thought I would be a resident of. So, of course I applied for early acceptance and right before Christmas I received that letter stating I was in. I was telling everybody; family, friends, teachers, even strangers. I started buying stuff for my dorm, meeting my roommate, and buying way too many coats for the freezing New York. The items mentioned above need to be considered before your head floats up to cloud nine.
I did not follow the original steps at all. The steps, in my mind, are the ones that every person takes; 1. You go to school 2. You go to a good college and get that college experience 3.You have a well-paying job 4. You get married 5. You have a nice House 6. You have babies and 7. You become successful. These are supposedly the steps to life. I didn’t keep in mind that this is not the order my life or story would or will go.
Eventually I made the decision not to go. Making the decision to not go to LIM and live in New York City is the hardest decision I've had to make. I chose not to go because being in that amount of debt just for one year of schooling didn’t make sense. Looking back I realized instead of rushing into a big decision like that there are other options to consider.
Things to consider before accepting a big loan with that amount of interest is 1.Can I get a scholarship through the school or through other sights like Fastweb.com? 2. Have I talked to a guidance counselor or financial aid adviser to see what my options are? 3. Can I pay the loan back in a decent amount of time, like within ten years? 4. Can I get the same education from a different, less expensive, college?
After making the decision to not go to LIM college or New York City, my heart was broken and I felt like I just ended a serious relationship. I took a year off and just worked full time at Nordstrom until I could sort things out and really plan my next steps out. Currently I am making my way through community college, doing internships when I can and hopefully in a couple of years I will be debt free and in the Big Apple where my heart has always been.
One last tip about the college decision; it is okay if you don’t go to a University right after High School. This is advice I never kept in mind because all my friends and others around me were going to some fancy University so, I thought I had to also. Believe me, I found out the hard way that just because your peers are doing one thing doesn’t mean that that path was meant for you. Again, there is the way it is believed to be and the way it supposed to be for you and your life.