How to get through college without financial aid
I had a professor once for a Social Science class who asked the poignant question:
"Why are you here? Why are you getting a college education?"
Naturally, everyone that answered her gave a collective "to make money" response. She quickly told everyone to put their hands down and reconsider what they answered. She then stood up and made a statement that seemed so strong to me:
"You're not here to make money. You're here for the prestige. You want the honor of saying you have a college education. If you really wanted to make money, you would get out of this classroom now and go to a corner and sell drugs, or start your own business, get out there in the real world where the money is truly made."
That changed my perspective on what my purpose of getting a college degree was. I was no longer going to class everyday "to make money". I started attending class because I actually wanted to learn. I wanted to absorb everything so when I got out and had "the honor" of saying I went to college, it actually meant something more than just the title.
Tips to survive college without a lot of money
Lets be honest, college costs a lot of money. For those that receive Financial Aid or any other type of governmental aid, these costs probably go unnoticed. But there's that other percentage of students eager to get a college education. Students eager for the honor of getting an education, who have to endure the trials and tribulations of having to pay their way through college. With that in mind, here are a couple of vital things to keep in mind when trying to get through college on your own.
1. Be persistent
The cliché trick of the trade, yes. If you want it bad enough, you better be willing to work hard for it. If they say that when life hands you lemons, you better learn to make lemonade, they didn't lie. The trick is to make sure that lemonade is cool the entire time because that's the only way you'll be able to real your goals. There will be obstacles, that's a given. But those obstacles are not there as block signs that your dreams are futile. On the contrary, roadblocks are warning signs that you need to change up your course a little and become stronger than the rest. The secret is, that if you weren't strong enough to handle any of it, it wouldn't be there in the first place.
2. Work, work, work
As difficult as it is to find good paying jobs in this economy, getting a job and working for your college expenses is actually one of the most effective tools. Even with a part-time job, one or two classes per semester are affordable. And remember that even if you are taking one or two classes per semester, that's still 6 credits that did not exist before.
Most people who don't consider scholarships claim they just don't want to waste their time with something that they probably won't win. Now take all the people that make this claim and multiply them by 100. That's how many people don't even attempt a scholarship because of their preconceived notion that they won't win anything. That also means that if all those people aren't attempting the given scholarship, your chances of winning become higher. Consider if you are the only participant in the scholarship, you win it all! The point being, even if you believe you won't win anything (which shouldn't be your mentality in the first place), you just have to try. Also, most college institutions also have their own scholarships. So, it's recommended you check with them as well to see what scholarships you can try with them. Remember that showing up is half the formula of success. I provided some links to useful and effective scholarship sites at the end of the blog.
This is usually the last option when it comes to paying for college. Debt is a scary word, especially when you're still under 25 and can barely afford to pay off a thousand dollar credit card. So it's understandable that getting into a $25,000 debt is that much more intimidating. However, sometimes you have to do what you have to do. There are many options for loans. Depending on the bank giving out loans, it is recommended you visit the financial institution itself such as Wells Fargo, Chase, Bank of America, etc to speak with a financial assistant. They will give you the options the bank has and in most cases, their options will vary from loans you can pay off after you are done with school or loans you can start paying off while in school to minimize the long term debt.
5. Always keep your goal in mind and be patient
This tip correlates back to the first one. Getting through college is a journey, a stepping stone. Even with obstacles in your way, serenity and patient are vital. Put up reminders everywhere of what your goals are. Write phrases, quotes that inspire you, pictures that inspire you and remind you of where you're headed. Believe in yourself. Everyday that you have the privilege to take a breathe enables you the opportunity to believe in yourself more than you did a breathe before. So keep your head up, and KNOW that it will all be worth it in the end.