All my life, I was told, “You can’t succeed without an education” and “knowledge is power”. I aimed to be smart about it from the start, and avoid debt. I got every scholarship I could, and ended going to a Private University with only a small amount out of pocket as part of my initial plan.
4 years went by, and due to various circumstances, I needed a fifth year. It was only one year, so the debt didn’t seem that big of an issue, hypothetically, with what the computer programminf field paid, I’d be out of debt in a a year and a half at the most.
I graduated, and almost upon leaving, the financial crisis made its first hit. No one was hiring, everyone was firing. The stock market was plummeting. I managed to get a few jobs to make ends meet, but not in my field. Small rinky-dink jobs that barely beat minimum wage. To help out, I also started doing freelance in computers to help. I made regular payments on my debts (or so I thought, more on that soon!)
Realizing the financial crisis wasn’t going to end soon, I hit on what I thought was a brilliant idea… go back to school and wait it out. I wanted to eventually get my PhD anyway, and PhDs made a LOT of money, so I could pay off that debt when I got out, or so I thought…
Running mainly on school loans, I entered into KU, University of Kansas, and told them what I wanted to pursue as for a PhD. They told me that to enter that PhD program, I’d have to get some prerequisite classes before I’d be able to start the program itself… my undergrad wasn’t enough. So I took the classes they told me to, and tried to get in the next semester…
Ooops, they told me, you still need a series of classes… but you should be able to get it in a year of schooling, it’s not that much…
Well, I figured I was in too deep to back out, so I kept trudging forward.
I finished more classes, and went to my academic advisors, “Oh” they said, “We misunderstood you earlier on. The field you’re wanting is actually in a different department.” So I had to go to the different department and try again. By this point, I was in the third year at KU, and the school bills were racking up.
I was working hard, and then I went to the financial aide office, because I got some weird letters… it turned out I was no longer getting financial aide… the reason being? They limit it based on number of semesters, and taking a *single* winter-term class counted as another semester (my previous college just counted it as part of the fall semester). So, I was unceremoniously booted out of trying to get into grad school.
Not to be beaten, I worked hard to find a job, and started paying on bills, with the goal of saving up and going back to college, with way too much in college debt (at this point, sitting at the 70K range).
While working, however, I started getting weird letters from my loan companies, telling me I was deliquint on my payments…. despite the fact I had been paying eachmonth on their website, and it had been nicely saying “payment received” each time. I called them up, and found out that after their computer system confirmed my payments, it turned around and rejected them afterwards, pretending that my bank account didn’t exist. No matter what I did, they woudln’t accept my payments. My credit score plummeted, and they were threatening to send a collector after me, DESPITE ME CONSTANTLY TRYING TO PAY! (I’ve learned a couple years later that some collection companies do this tactic so they can call a collection on you, in hopes of making more profit faster by this method, by seizing more than the loan’s actually worth or by guaranteeing they get stuff instead of risking you not having stable income the entire time of repayment.)
To make matters worse, my new job (which I was quite lucky to get) didn’t even last a year. The company, originally owned by a pretty cool guy, was bought out by a corporation, who proceeded to overwork and gut the company. I was jobless only a short while later.
The sad thing is, companies check your credit record before hiring you. So nobody has been hiring me since the collection agency trashed my credit score. On the flip side, the loss of job has meant the collection agency has nothing to seize (silver lining I guess, their plan backfired. They did try to send threating seisure notices, but by then it was too late.) So, thanks to the greed of corporations, I’m despite the fact I’ve been dedicated, focused, capable of doing work, and planning ahead, I’m stuck being jobless and with a credit score that prevents me from getting a job… so as a result of the loans neccesarry for it, my education has hurt my ability to get a job more than its helped it.
At this point, I don’t know if I’ll ever recover.