I remember going to the mandatory financial aid counseling session when I applied for loans to help me get through college.  They tried to scare you into not getting a loan at all with their gloomy projections of paying back the loan later. They seemed to glory in failure stories of people who just found repaying their student loans overwhelming.  No one could look around at our crumbling economy and greedy leaders and fail to see that it is a good idea not get in over your head with debt.

But school is expensive. How else are you supposed to pay for it? Frankly, the scare tactics of these financial counselors reminded me of going on the Space Mountain at Disneyland. All the way up, as you stand in what feels like a never-ending line, there are signs posted. These are warnings to the groups of people who may have difficulty with the ride. I still remember seeing a posting every few feet about any with a heart condition or any woman expecting a child to give careful consideration to turning back and not enjoying the ride. These signs built up the ride so much I was nearly expecting insta-death from the ride, and found myself disappointed at how tame the ride actually was.

So, although warnings are helpful, what helps most is for you to know yourself and what you can and cannot handle. Be honest as you evaluate your financial needs. Try to trim them down, especially while in school, because you’ll be paying that money back when you are done with school. It can be done, meeting your expenses and repaying student loans. Just don’t make it unnecessarily hard on yourself by taking out more than you can reasonably repay while still maintining the lifestyle you want.

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