Student Insurance Debt and Why It Sucks

As a high school student, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to go to a huge party school about 45 minutes from home. This was my dream. I wanted to be in their band. I couldn’t wait to party in the dorms, meet older men, and do whatever I wanted without my parents knowing. I would stay up late, get good grades, and hope one day I’ll figure out what I want to do with my life. Then the reality began.

My mom wouldn’t let me go because she wanted me to live at home. In all honesty, she may have been right. I wasn’t ready for college yet. Little did I know that staying at home was the worst decision I made in my life.

I ended up going to a 4-year establishment about 10 minutes from my parents’ house. I lived at home, attended college full time, and worked part time. I seem to be managing well. My grades weren’t the best, but I didn’t put much effort into it either. I was more interested in this guy I was talking to, making sure the other girls didn’t resonate, than actually studying and getting good grades. I started my major in introductory work. I didn’t want an IT degree, but it was the closest thing they had besides getting into programming, something I knew I would hate. By the middle of the semester, I had quite a few good grades except for a 1F. However, I convinced myself I wasn’t doing well enough, so I met the registrar and quit. To this day, I don’t understand why this guy didn’t push me to stay in the ranks. To this day, I don’t know why I was so easily able to drop out of school and walk away with a semester full of debt and books I barely used. Why did the registrar sign so easily? At the time, I was intent on quitting. However, if I had paid a little more to stay in the class, I would have. And I would have made A and B, except for 1 F.

My parents were mad at me when they found out I quit, a few days later. I was embarrassed to tell them, because I knew it wasn’t the right choice, but it was too late to change my mind. After a few weeks of grief and dissatisfaction with my parents, my father and I decided that I would attend a local community college. At that time, this school was basically “thirteenth grade”. You only go there if you haven’t been accepted into a school for 4 years, or you want to get a quick degree to get a job ASAP. My mom was totally against this idea, she wanted me to go to a 4 year school, not a lame community college. Even though I made the huge mistake of dropping out of my first school, attending community college changed me for the better. My parents had lost their store the year before, and they barely had much time. I used this to my advantage, received a lot of free federal financial aid, and didn’t have to pay it back. However, since the insurances were not properly explained to me by a real person, I accepted everything I could. I received a huge refund check in the middle of the semester. I didn’t need the insurance money, but it was great to have all that extra money to blow. I wasn’t worried about paying that money back. I knew I would have to give it back, one day. Throughout my three years at community college, I kept getting as much financial assistance as I could, and I kept spending those check refunds like a kid in a candy store. I graduated with an undergraduate degree in Network Management, a degree that I am very proud of to this day. Besides this degree, I made the Deans’ List several times and was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa, an honor society. Plus, I had several thousand dollars in student insurances that I never needed.

At this point, I should have stopped attending college and found a job. It was still only acceptable to have an associate’s degree. Most companies will hire you for this. But my parents pushed me to get my bachelor’s degree. It sounded cool and all, especially because my mom never attended college, and my dad only had a college degree in electrical one thing or the other. I attended a private Catholic college as an online student. I got great grades. I continued to get the maximum amount of financial help I could get, and this time I used it to pay off the credit card debt I had accumulated because of my ex-boyfriend at the time he spent all my money. I graduated from college for 4 years with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. I never thought I’d get my bachelor’s degree and I was so proud of myself, just as my parents were of me. At this point, I owed about $50,000 in student insurances. This included insurances in my name as well as parental insurances in my father’s name. The sticker shock was finally following me. I had student insurance debt, and a lot of it. I had debt on a credit card, a car insurance at an exorbitant rate, and dreamed of buying my house and moving out of it. I started hitting rock bottom. I was miserable the whole time because of the debts I had accumulated. I dug myself a hole so big that I knew I’d never get out of it.

I just got a job at a community college at the Financial Aid Office. I was realizing how important it was for me to train students for student insurance debt, so that they wouldn’t have the same financial problems as I do. To this day, I work with students and explain my harrowing story. Their parents stare at me in disbelief. Students hear me sometimes. Some students do not care about insurances. They will have to pay it off one day.

Although every day I regret going to college and getting my bachelor’s degree, I don’t know I’d be where I am today without it. Although my job only requires a college degree, there are very few employees at my level who do not have a bachelor’s degree. Do I make enough money to pay all my home and student insurance bills? No. Am I miserable every day of the week? definitely.

If I could do it again, I would change many things. I would only use grants, not insurances. If I still had an outstanding balance, I would have made a payment plan instead of taking the full amount of my insurances. If I needed to get my bachelor’s degree, I would have been part time so I didn’t have to take out insurances.

What I’ve learned from all this, is that students need to be better educated about student insurances and the ramifications of taking the maximum amounts when they don’t need to. My insurances affected my happiness, my ability to be self-sufficient and my ability to pay half our mortgage and half the house bills. I can’t have a nice car, I can’t go out to buy clothes when I’ve lost 50 pounds and everything I own is too big, and most importantly, I can’t really enjoy my life.

My lesson to others: Please, please, take advantage of my advantage. Use the cash as much as possible and take advantage of free federal financial aid. Take it from me, poor, filthy, married 25-year-old who can’t stand the life she wants or feels she deserves.