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Confessions of a grad student, pt. 4: Ahhh, loans!

I don’t regret anything I’ve done as a grad student, but the biggest question I have with grad school is:


Many people know that it’s not easy to pursue a Master’s Degree, especially financially. It’s another few years of paying for an education that may or may not be supported by a great amount of grants and/or scholarships. Hence the bane of my existence: LOANS.

In high school, my Sociology teacher would tell his students that student loans were a wise investment for an education. Maybe he was thinking of the cost-benefit analysis for education, but I’m focusing on THE STRUGGLE to pay those loans back now.

 There’s already a debate over whether studying the humanities is beneficial for any field other than Education, and there’s even doubts on that perspective. The struggle to get tenure? Adjunct professors? The low pay of high school teachers? Come on.

My apprehension of loans and my potential career and educational choices are hinted at in Part 3 of my column. I have thought about this extensively. I’ve even searched for articles on Google for the economic pros and cons of pursuing an M.A., further contributing to this apprehension.

The choice to pursue my love for literature scares me,  and I wonder whether my degree will be a financial gain or loss. The loans I’ve had to take out for my education don’t alleviate that thought. What do I do? 

I know that I’m here because of my love of literature and my curiosity to learn what it means to be a writer in academia. Being at Mills has not only increased that drive and desire, but has re-ignited my love for writing in journalism and editing. I feel that what I’m gaining here gives me many choices.

Pursuing my M.A. at 23, I even wonder whether I made a not-so-good decision career wise. With this two-year choice and commitment, I’ve delayed potential work experience with other places after receiving my B.A. in English. Was I ill-fated even when I picked my major during the application process? And in the words of interviewers and managers, you can’t get a job without experience, right?

But…I always combat that with this sentence: you can’t get experience without a job either. In the meantime, I’m pursuing my M.A. and working a few jobs and some unpaid internships to gain work experience and pursue what I love at the same time. Is it a win-win situation? Maybe.

I’m probably going to have this fear of how I’ll pay my loans back even after I graduate from Mills. I want to be able to support myself for a greater future and pay what I borrowed for this education. I want to wake up and go to a job that I love doing with my partner by my side lending his support. Although I don’t know what the future holds for me, the only thing I can say for now is: Damn you, loans.