This is the story of life's financial struggles & victories through the eyes of a young woman up to her eyes in debt. Enjoy :)

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Allow me to introduce myself...

Hello out there! I am an average college graduate who, believe me, has PLENTY of other things to do besides blog, but this is the only thing I can think of to do in order to reach out to others outside of my network of friends.

That being said, I have absolutely no idea what I am really going to write about on this site. I am sure I could fill up a weeks worth of posts about anger and hate towards lenders and their inability to relate to their customers, but I don't think that would be very productive. However, I am not saying that will not happen from time to time :)

Since I am so nosy when it comes to finding out how much money my friends owe for college, I will go ahead and lay out some of the basic details of MY debt so you can to compare it to yours. You are welcome :)

Quick background information: Through various scholarships from high school extra curricular activities, academic achievement awards from the university as well as a couple of grants, I had an almost complete ride for all 4 years at the University of Alabama. I knew I wanted to attend this little school called Belmont University in Nashville one day in order to pursue my dreams of music, so I was reluctant to attend Alabama. I knew I would be moving 4 and a half hours north with basically everyone from my high school since it was indeed the 'cool place' to move off to after senior year. I saw myself settling into a major I would ultimately not want to reside in (they did not have a music business program) just for the sake of having to choose one. So, in my mind, although the funding was present, I ruled out the University of Alabama. In addition to those scholarships, I was also offered a full-paid scholarship to the local community college in the same city where I went to high school. Although it was hard to think about still living at home and watching the rest of my class move off to freedom town, I (with a huge nudge from my mom) decided to stay home and accept the community college scholarship. BEST DECISION EVER MADE.

After 2 years at community college, I was debt-free and Belmont University bound. And right about here is where my loan story begins. I attended 2 years of college at Belmont University (a private christian institution) 7 hours from home in Nashville, Tennessee where I majored in Music Business. Both years at Belmont I studied full-time taking approximately 17 hours each semester (and enrolling in summer classes, too.) Only once did I go into the "academic overload" category taking 19 hours during the spring semester of my junior year. I knew the quicker I got through school, the less amount of money I would have to borrow. I made good grades, stayed involved in the university and graduated with my bachelor's degree in May of 2009 (exactly 4 years after I graduated from high school.)

So, now that you know where I went to school and for how long, I will let you know how much that cost me. Keep in mind that even though I was on the dean's list at my community college, graduated with Phi Theta Kappa honors (associate degree) and had an impressive list of extra curricular activities, I was awarded no scholarships for Belmont. For the 2 years total I was at Belmont, I owe Sallie Mae $68,000. Also, now that it has been a year and 3 months since I have graduated, I will give you a little update - I am now at $73,000. Which means in just 1 short year I have gained $5,000 in interest. I always knew it sounded bad coming out of my mouth, but typing it all out is even worse. Ouch.

So there you have it. I am sure the coming blogs will be more in detail about my interest rates, consolidation attempts, etc, but for now that is my student loan story in a nut shell. Off to dinner - Ramen Noodles again tonight :)