A Note from Jess :-) Class of 2012, welcome to the real world

Seniors, we’re almost there—just two more days of classes and we’re officially finished. Everyone else, good luck with your studies and final exams. Seton Hill University (SHU) was a great place to spend four years, but like the rest of the class of 2012, I’m ready for the real world.

Are you?

Seniors, by now you’ve probably been looking for jobs for some time, desperate to find anything to help you pay back all the bills you’ve undoubtedly accumulated during your academic career. Some of you are looking into grad school while others are thinking of joining Americorps.
Some student athletes might be fortunate enough to move on to professional teams like our most successful athletes have in past. And yet, here we are, a week from graduation and we’re burnt out. I don’t know about the rest of the class of 2012, but I’m ready for the real world—I hope it’s ready for me.

It’s hard to believe that we’re going to have to start paying for our education. The smart ones who found additional scholarships outside the ones SHU graciously provides will walk out of college virtually debt-free, ready to spend a year traveling without worrying about monetary repercussions. And then there’s the rest of us. Get ready for the long haul—some of us will be paying college loans back for years. Regardless of what type of loans you have to pay, keep in mind that your school loans are the best ones to pay any extra money towards. Basically, pay off any loan with a higher interest rate first. So, really, pay off your credit cards first, and then your student loans, because guess what, they’re not going anywhere. And if for some reason you choose not to pay, be prepared to have your wages attached.

To avoid this, call your banks and express your concern that you can’t make a huge payment right out of college. Most of them will be understanding and work with you to find an acceptable payment plan. The great thing about low payments is that you can always pay off extra per month, which deducts from the principle and lowers your interest accumulation.

For those of you who aren’t sure what to do now, keep in mind that you have six months following graduation to get your affairs in order before you have to start paying back your school loans. Quite possibly the hardest part about graduating and finding a job is determining if you can actually afford to work at a prospective company. For example, let’s say you take a job in Pittsburgh and live in the surrounding suburbs, whether it be good ‘ol Greensburg, Irwin or even Monroeville.

Be prepared to make a hard decision.

You’ll either need to move to Pittsburgh or get ready to sit in heavy traffic for upwards of an hour and a half to and from your workplace daily. Keep in mind that you’ll need a vehicle, which could add a car payment into the mix. Couple a car payment and apartment rent to school loans and living expenses, and you’ll realize that you’ll need upwards of $40K to survive on your own.
Even if you live at home with your parents, you’ll still be forking over a lot of cash each week to fill that car tank, and in case you haven’t been paying attention to gas prices, we’re still hovering just short of $4 per gallon. Even a super efficient car only gets so far without needing a refill.
Even though the future is scary, it’s super exciting to know all our hard work and dedication is finally paying off. We’ve done it—who thought four years could move so fast? I hope you made the best of your time here and good luck with all your future endeavors! So long SHU, it’s been a great ride.

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