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My One Year Student Loan Payoff Update

  January 28, 2022 marked my one year anniversary of paying off my student loans . Reflecting back on choosing to pay off my student loans leaves me with several take a ways that I want to share with you! In September 2020 I decided to become debt free by utilizing the debt snowball method to pay off all my debt. Before this I had struggled to save and really understand basic financial principles. As a first-generation college student, I received a scholarship to attend undergrad for free, but the scholarship did not cover summers. During the summers I took out student loans to cover costs without paying interest rates or how much I was taking out. By the end of undergrad I had amassed a little under $17K. Fast forward to graduate school I received another scholarship that covered my education. At the time I was a teacher in a new very expensive city and I had missed the cutoff to have my paycheck last me throughout the summer. So, I decided to take out a loan for two summers to keep

Top 5 Tips for First Time College Students

 

Last week my office hosted our very first summer camp for transition age youth with disabilities. Many of the students were away from home for the first time and had never been exposed to a college environment before. The aim of the camp was to provide the students with an introduction to college life to assist them in their transition from high school to college. The students had a great time and so did our office. But that got me to thinking on what would I recommend for first time college students. As a first generation college student myself there were so many things that I didn’t know and I wanted to make sure our campers would be better prepared than I was. Take a look at my top five giveaways for first year students:

1.      Advocacy

Many times students are so used to their parents doing everything for them that when they get to college and staff cannot event speak to their parents without consent they are like fish out of water. Things do not just happen in college. You have to start the process and follow up to ensure that things get done. You do this through asking questions, setting up meetings, sending emails, and doing your part. Get in the driver seat now.

2.      Finances

Learning to navigate your finances in college can be a tough one especially if you did not see good financial principles in your household. The prized refund check or the overage from your financial aid is typically student’s favorite part about college. But it can quickly turn into a nightmare when students spend it all in one week and go hungry the next. Learning to set a plan for your money through building a budget and setting yourself up for financial success during the one time in your life where you have little to no expenses is a must.

3.      Meeting New People

As a self-proclaimed introvert, I know how scary meeting new people can be. One major benefit of college is meeting new folks that are from different places. These experiences help you build lifelong friends and see different points of view. You never know who you may meet today that will positively affect your tomorrow.

4.      Getting on a Schedule

Being that college will be the first time that your parents aren’t yelling at you to get up and make it to school on time getting on a schedule is key. Since most first time students have no choice but to enroll in the 8am class if you aren’t used to getting up early it might be a good idea to build that skill now. Late nights and early mornings do not mesh well with exams!

5.      Be Resourceful

I often notice how students are resourceful with finding certain types of information but when it comes to academics, it does not translate. While you may not know exactly where to go for help ask yourself “Where would someone who is looking for what I’m looking for find what they need?” Is it the library, my professor, or my academic advisor? Would this be listed on my schools webpage?

 

If you found these tips helpful, be sure to check out my latest YouTube video and let me know what you think in the comments!

(This is a thumbnail of my latest YouTube video “5 Tips for First Time College Students” where I am smiling at the camera while holding up five fingers. I am wearing an orange shirt and black headwrap.)



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