How to Stay Focused on School Despite the Debt That’s Coming
More than 44 million borrowers collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the United States. Looking at these numbers more specifically, the average student loan balance is around $34,000.
And student loan balances have a ripple effect—they’re now impacting borrower’s financial decisions after college, including deciding whether to save for retirement or put away money for a house down payment.
If you are one of the millions who have taken out student loans for your college education, you may be worried about how to stay focused in college classes with this debt looming over your shoulder. It’s an understandable concern, of course—it can be difficult to focus on Creative Writing 201 when you’re busy calculating how much you’ll need to take out in student loans next year. Nonetheless, here are some tips to help you keep calm and stay focused on school.
Not Letting Yourself Feel Ashamed
First, it’s important to let go of the money shame if it’s weighing you down. Instead, you could remind yourself of why you are incurring this debt, and what it will eventually lead to down the road. If you need assistance with this process, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Sometimes talking to someone else can help you figure out coping mechanisms that will work for you.
Know that you are in good company. There are millions of other college students with equal debt loads. Don’t let your worries keep you from your academic goals. Instead of focusing on the price tag of your education, you could focus on the subjects you like to study.
But with thousands of dollars in debt, how can you stay focused on your studies? By keeping your focus on the present. There’s no point worrying about your college loans when you have homework due. Although your debt may influence your decisions about future employment, take advantage of all college has to offer while you’re there.
Each week, you could make a to-do list of upcoming tasks. Focusing on the present, and breaking down work into specific and achievable goals can help keep your motivation up. Refocusing your attention on your school work could help alleviate your fears about debt and pay off in the classroom. It’s a win-win.
It’s scary to graduate with hefty loan debt, but it can help to remind yourself that you can pay it back. Be optimistic. There is a reason why you’re incurring this debt—to invest in your education and hopefully increase your earning potential over time.
Think about joining a club or maybe trying out for a sports team. College provides an amazing opportunity for you to learn new things, get better at your hobbies, pursue new interests, and socialize with people who you would never have the chance to meet otherwise.
Taking advantage of that might help take your mind off student loans. Some of the people you meet may end up being key connectors when looking for jobs after you graduate. You never know!
Talking to Fellow Students
Being stressed over debt can feel similar to any other anxiety in your life. It can be really difficult to deal with alone, and oftentimes in the process of coping, you might feel isolated.
Although it might seem like everyone at your school is too well-off to sweat student loans, that is probably not the case. Consider finding someone who you can share your money-woes with. Opening up to a trusted friend, mentor, or family member may help you feel less lonely, which might in turn make it easier to concentrate on school.
Having a buddy to talk about student loans could also be helpful in a practical way. You can share strategies for paying down debt in the future and swap tips for keeping costs low in college. Having a buddy in the same situation as you can make a world of difference.
Talking to a Counselor
If you’re too embarrassed to speak with another student or don’t know how to begin, you could consider approaching a counselor at your school.
Most universities offer therapy resources at the on-site counseling center. They are also likely better connected to your school’s programming in general and could possibly direct you to other resources.
Looking Into Refinancing After Graduation
Don’t let your debt overwhelm you before you even begin to repay it. Once you’ve graduated, there are options like federal loan consolidation or student loan refinancing. If you have federal loans, you can also look into loan consolidation.
The Direct Loan Consolidation program allows you to combine all of your federal loans while retaining federal loan benefits. Your interest rate may go up a tiny bit, though—your new interest rate will be the weighted average of the rates on all your federal loans rounded up to the nearest eighth of a percent.
As for refinancing, SoFi offers flexible refinancing options that may help borrowers secure a lower interest rate or better repayment terms. This can help borrowers save on student loan interest or pay less in monthly payments over a longer term.
Keep in mind, however, that refinancing with a private lender means you’ll lose access to federal loan benefits. Users can see if they qualify for refinancing in as little as two minutes online.
The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.
The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.