When my father first mentioned that I should go back to school and get a college degree, I was so excited. I had always had a job, and knew I could support myself if I wanted, but who wants to work a job you hate? I needed to go to school, get a degree in something, and attempt to broaden my horizons. So I enrolled at the community college, aced the placement exam, got my grants and loans, and started classes. Here I am, almost a year later and nearly done with my third semester. Although I love college, it’s a constant worry. I know that from here, I will need to go on to the University and earn a bachelors degree and this just adds to the pile of worries. College is expensive, work is scarce, and time is always in short supply. I’ve now gone to school for three semesters in a row, summer, fall, spring…without a break. I’ve kept a 4.0 GPA this entire time, because I know that I will need that GPA to qualify for scholarships later on. I’ve probably annoyed the crap out of my teachers, because I’m that student that will do extra credit even if I don’t need it because I have to get that A. I do this because I am not hispanic, african-american, or asian. I am not an athlete or an artist. The only thing I have going for me to earn scholarships is my grades, so I can’t afford to screw up. Too many people seem to think that if you are caucasion, that you automatically have money for college. Sorry to disappoint, but I work part-time to attend full-time classes and can barely afford the gas it takes to get back and forth to school and work, or the few bills that I have to pay. I don’t want to take out numerous loans because I worry about paying them back one day. I’m 31 years old and by the time I’m done with school I’ll be 35. This means I would have loan payments until I’m 60. Who the hell would want to be in debt that much for that long? I think the most frustrating thing is not knowing what my options are. I’ve gone numerous times to talk with the financial aid staff at the University and can’t seem to get a straight answer. Any suggestions would be helpful.
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