Opinion: Don’t do the debt

Taking out student loans has its pros and cons, but take some advice from someone who did and is having second thoughts.


Illustration by Ivan Benavides

Ryan Lynch, Business Manager

With a year left before I graduate, I have a lot of time to think and reflect about all the good (and stupid) things I did and didn’t do over the past three years. From start to finish, there are only a few things I regret about college.

One of those few things (besides drunkenly puking in a car multiple times) is the amount of debt I put myself into trying to get through college.

I can imagine the comments now: “Ryan, you idiot. Why would you take out $100,000 in debt if you knew you’d eventually regret it? Why didn’t you go to a school in your home state (New York)?”

Let’s roll through the facts here:

  • I was rejected from the only public school I applied to in my state (Thanks Stony Brook.)
  • I was only a decent student, so I wasn’t swimming in scholarships.
  • I wanted a change of location to challenge my development and get away from the comfort of home.

I wouldn’t trade the people I met at FAU or the student newspaper for any other college experience, but I do wish I prepared better both before and during. Here are some of the things I would have done differently:

Apply for more scholarships

This one is something many people miss out on, and it’s one of the easiest to do. During my time in high school and early college, I had opportunities to apply to some smaller scholarships but never took the chance. No matter how big or small, all scholarships can dig into the total tuition cost. Best of all, there are scholarships for almost anything you can think of, so go out and start raking in the dough.

Look at your major’s pros and cons

Like an idiot, most high schoolers and freshmen decide their major without thinking about the future. Other than computer science, psychology and a few others, your major doesn’t matter as much as work experience.

Don’t pick a major just because you think it’s easy, look at what your job prospects after school are like and what you can do with your degree. Email professors and ask questions. Don’t be afraid to look stupid, because you look more dumb when you haven’t put in the work in researching and end up getting burned having to go through more college than you need to.

Admit school can be important

Getting good grades can help translate to more money. A lot of students are too busy ignoring that with other shit to realize it until it’s too late. Now, I’m not saying to sell your life away on school, because extracurricular activities will be the most important part of your education. But I will pose this question: If you’re paying thousands of dollars to dick around in a classroom, why are you there?

At the end of the day, I assume you’re a rationally thinking adult who can make their own decisions. It’s your choice to decide, “Hey, I want to try some of these things,” or “Hey, I’d rather get smashed at the Irishmen and Nippers with a $100 bar tab.”

One thing you have to look forward to: a crippling hangover and crippling student loan debt have matching adjectives and matching headaches.

Ryan Lynch is the business manager of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @RyanLynchwriter.