Things to tell yourself if you’re worried about student debt
When I was at school, I was randomly selected to take part in a yearly survey from the government about my education. The questions vary year on year, but I distinctly remember that around the time I was starting to think about applying for university, I was asked if the thought of student debt would put me off. At first, I was surprised by this question. I knew how student loans worked, and the thought did very little to deter me from applying to university. However, now that I have accepted a postgraduate student loan, the debts are starting to look quite a lot bigger than they were before. So, for anyone who is worrying about student debt, here are a few things to tell yourself.
- (pretty much) all of us have it
Most students aren’t lucky enough to be able to pay their tuition and maintenance fees up front. Therefore, the vast majority of students are in the same boat; although our maintenance fees might vary, all of us are in some form of contractual debt to the government for our education. It’s perfectly normal (and in fact drives the stereotype of the hard-up student), so it’s nothing to be scared or ashamed about.
2. It’s not a DEBT
I hate the word ‘debt’- it screams block capital, guilt-inducing red letters. Technically speaking, yes, university fees are a debt. However, they are not managed in the same way. They don’t affect your credit score, there is no deadline to pay it back, and no-one is going to come hammering on your door to collect it. Thinking of student loans in the same way as a normal debt is half the reason some students worry about it so much, but once you realise the major differences, it really doesn’t look so bad.
3. I am gaining so much from it
Throughout my undergraduate degree I saw my student loan as nothing more than a gift from the government that allowed me to continue with my education. Not only will this contribute so much to my future career, but has also allowed me to create so many wonderful memories and experiences during my time at university. Admittedly, it’s much harder for me to see it that way now that I have taken out an MA loan as well, but it’s really important to keep reminding yourself of why you are doing it all in the first place.
4. It’s just a blip in the ocean
Most ex-students remark that by the time their loan starts coming out of their wages they hardly even notice it. It’s not something you have to actively pay, since it is deducted from your monthly earnings. Essentially it is like an extra tax that automatically comes out of your pay. If you stop thinking of it as a debt, and start thinking of it as ‘education tax’ it becomes a whole lot easier to digest.
This post has been as much to comfort me as it has been to comfort you. At the end of the day, my education is one of the most important things in my life, and I value it much more than I value the hypothetical money that will come out of my account years in the future. I hope this post has helped you think about student ‘debt’ in a new way. If you are still worried about your student finance, please don’t hesitate to contact Student Wellbeing to discuss your fears. Remember- it’s perfectly normal, and it’s all worth it!