Living, Laughing & Loving… while in debt.
My name is Heather Marter. I am 24 years old. I was born in Delran, New Jersey, but currently reside in New Orleans, Louisiana. Some of you may recognize me from the MTV series “The Real World.” In 2010, I was a cast member of “The Real World: Las Vegas” and subsequently, “The Challenge: Battle of the Exes.” What you might not know about me is that I am a Monmouth University graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and a minor in Information Technology. And because of the latter, I am 126,379.93 dollars in student debt.
For starters, I love to read. I know people say that a lot, but I really do. What I don’t like is to read unnecessary, dressed up writing, that by the time I finish the paragraph, I realize the message I just received could have gotten to me a lot simpler. What is the point in impressing you all with 20 dollar words that I find on a thesaurus, and that you will have to look up one by one to even make it through my posts. Nope, no time for that here. I have a full time job and a new puppy- which we will get into later.
You’ll notice that I’ll use the phrase “we’ll get into that later,” for a few things throughout this initial post. They’re things I want to further explore with you guys outside of this introductory post… so look back for those in the upcoming weeks. I will also be reading and responding to as many of your comments as possible. My goal is for this blog to be interactive, so don’t be shy!
With all of that being said, I just want to reiterate that this blog is not meant to dazzle you with my writing skills, it’s to get some thoughts out of my head and into yours. It will most likely be more sporadic than constructed.
My biggest advice with debt, whether it be student, credit card, ect… is to try your absolute best to not let it consume your life.
Refuse to be a puppet of debt, or a “debt puppet,” hence the name of this blog. This is one of the main reasons why, although this blog will frequently focus on student debt, debt issues, debt struggles and how to live your life in debt- every post will not be about debt. I think it is healthy to be mindful of setbacks or struggles in life, but you cannot live “in the rain.” For example, it is human nature to take shelter from the un-comfortableness of rain. The human in me delves myself in TV shows, celebrity tabloids and playing fetch with my puppy, all to advert the mind from the uncomfortable realization of being in debt. However, if we always ignore the rain, and pretend it isn’t happening, we just get wetter, damper and maybe even catch a cold. Being mindful of rain allows us to develop shields such as umbrellas and boots, so that us, and rain, can coexist. Similarly, being mindful of debt allows us to shield ourselves from its potential wrath, allowing us to coexist and live happily, despite the debt.
Also, I am not writing this blog because I am a student loan or debt expert. I am simply a recent college graduate muttering through the struggles of learning how to understand and coexist with massive unfathomable debt. I learn more about loans and debt every day, which seems sort of backwards. However, from talking to many fellow college graduates, this is extremely prevalent in today’s society. There are too many directionless 17-19 year olds signing off on loans that will accumulate to more than most middle class citizen’s mortgages, only to attend Universities as undeclared majors, and only to find out Junior year – “Hey, maybe I want to be a chef, or a make-up artist.”
Let’s be honest here: when I stop and think back on High School, there were about 5/198 people in my senior class of 2007 that really had a good grip on what they wanted to achieve/be after graduation, and mostly because their parents had already established a business that they didn’t mind taking on. As for the rest of us, we filtered into miscellaneous universities because it was “what we were supposed to do,” disregarding price tags because- “Hello, this is education not a Hermes purse,” continuing to taking generic courses for two years until we’re forced to declare a major Junior year. So, basically, most of us pay a University two years while we find ourselves, take gen-ed classes and, honestly, attend basement frat parties, only to hope that by the time we have to declare our major, we even have one clue of who we are or what we want “to be.” (Just for the record I hate the phrase “what do you want to be,” but I will get more into that later, as well.)
Unfontunately, if you’re like most of the college population, you have or will sit there like a deer in headlights Junior year when the inevitable question is asked of what you of what you want “to be.” After attending, and paying, for two years of “higher education” at this “accredited University,” you may feel a little foolish for not really knowing the answer.
Spoiler alert: for the most part, it doesn’t even matter.
Unless you are one of the lucky ones that have uncovered a specialized trade (Graphic Design, IT, Beautician, ect.) or a solid direction (Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer, Ect.) by Junior year; declaring a Communications, Business, Sociology, Plant Studies, Arm Wrestling, or any other miscellaneous major like these, doesn’t really matter. After graduation, you will be thrust into a job pool with thousands of potential employees just like you, and all the employer will actually care about, or remember, is that you have achieved a miscellaneous Bachelor Degree. Whether that degree was for marketing or basket weaving, you will be extremely surprised at how little it actually matters. The real trick is taking whatever you did accomplish in those four years, other than keg stands and wake and bakes, and making it sound as applicable and appealing as possible. (This is another thing I will address later on.)
Bottom line, if you’re like me, a Communications major with a concentration in Television Production, working as a personal assistant/project manager in New Orleans, you shouldn’t have went to a $35,000 dollar school right out of high school because you felt entitled to a degree from the college of your choice because society tells you, “you can be whatever you want to be.” What society leaves out is that it is a hell of a lot harder to be anything you want to be, when you’re 100,000+ dollars in debt the second you get thrust into the world. A better route for “higher education” is attending community school while working and then transferring to a University, or really doing your research on your likes/dislikes and what job fields are in demand. The other option, of course, is getting a scholarship or having your relatives pay your way through. Then there is the rest of us, who have already committed to, or are in the process of, committing to massive loans to pay our way through.
And for those people I just want to say, you are not alone. You do not have to be debt puppet. You can still live a long, enjoyable life if you just learn to dance in the rain. This blog is for you.