Can College Debt Keep You From Work That You Love?

Can College Debt keep you from finding work that you love? I want to explore this question a bit.

First, a great story. I read about a young couple that got married right out of college. Neither of them had any loans because they were determined to be debt free. That also applied to buying a house. They both worked and each made approximately $30,000 a year.

For six years they lived in an upstairs apartment over a garage. It wasn’t much but they made the most of it. They lived off of one salary and saved the other. In six years they had over $180,000 saved up. They wrote a check for their first home and fully furnished it as well. All I can say is, THAT IS SO COOL!

So now to the question, can college debt keep you from work that you love? Let’s look at three ways that this can happen, and then let’s look at some ways to solve the problem.

College Debt Kills Your Options

When you have college debt, you have added to your monthly obligations. Unfortunately, you can’t change those obligations. For example, if you had to reduce your cost of living, you could always move in with a friend, or get rid of your car and buy a bicycle. When you have a monthly student loan bill, you can’t change that.

So how does that affect your work? Many times, opportunities come wrapped in small packages. What I mean by that is, you may have to start out with a small paycheck in order earn the opportunity for a much larger one. This happens to entrepreneurs very often. They have to live very simply for a few months while they build sales.

This also is the case with commission sales. While you grow your route or client base, you may have very limited income for a time. It’s harder to manage this when you have large monthly payments to maintain. Those opportunities are not always plentiful, and you want to take advantage when they come along.

College Debt Limits Your Creativity

Many college students have the desire to make a difference in the world with their career. Sometimes this requires a very creative approach to living. For example, I know a young man that worked and saved for two years and then funded his own mission trip to Togo, West Africa, FOR A FULL TWO YEARS! How amazing is that!? Life changing!

It’s difficult to do something amazing like this when you are bound to monthly payments on college debt. Consider the story of the young couple above. They were determined to continue living debt free after college. Can you imagine being under 30 years old, starting your family and living in a paid for home?! What an amazing start to whatever creative plan you have for your life!

College Debt can Steal Your Joy

As I interview college students and even high school students, there is a sense of discouragement and sadness. The thought of how expensive college is, and then not being convinced that it will pay for itself is very discouraging. This is a difficult way to start your adult life, and it can really put a cloud over your early career.

This can affect how you look for work. When you don’t have a sense of hope or excitement it’s hard to interview well for a new job, especially if it is not in your career field. This is a reality for many.

Ok, so all of this is very discouraging. Here are some ideas to overcome the issue of college debt and get your hope back!

  1. Choose not to have college debt. Yes, it is possible.
  2. If you have college debt and are still in school, make sure you have a plan for your education. Don’t just keep plodding along without a plan for your degree. You can always finish it later when you can afford it.
  3. If you are in your final year and are very close to graduation, go ahead and finish. Have a laser like focus and determination to pay off your debt. SCORCHED EARTH!
  4. Make your decisions based on principle. If it is valuable to you to remain debt free, and the thought of more college debt makes you sick, make the bold decision. You will be glad you did! Peace of mind is huge!
  5. Start researching alternative ways to receiving an education or going to college. Don’t just take the path that everyone around you seems to be taking! Here are three: Military, Community College, and Apprenticeship.

So if you have read this far, I know we need to talk. Leave a note below and let’s start the conversation. Take two seconds and like my Facebook page and let’s connect on Twitter as well.

Thanks for reading!


About The Author

Duane Rockensock

Duane (Rocky) Rockensock is a husband, a dad, and the National Reconditioning Manager for AmeriGas Propane. Since he was a teenager, Duane has loved hearing the stories of how people have started creative businesses or found ways to use their talents to accomplish amazing things. For that reason he started this blog to encourage teens and adults to find their purpose and to provide the tools and resources to make that happen!