How I Avoided Soul-Crushing College Debt

How I Avoided Soul-Crushing College Debt

I screwed around in high school. 

All it takes is a look at my report cards.  If there was one consistent piece of feedback that teachers gave, it was this: “Is not working to potential.”  I found some old report cards recently and was embarrassed by the dismal remarks from my teachers. 

Part of my poor performance was due to the number of classes I missed.  The final half of my senior year, I had Electronics 3 before lunch and Economics afterwards.  I took the various electronics courses to hang out with my friend, Steve and kept getting in way over my head with the content.  Economics, on the other hand, was a course I wanted to learn because I saw myself in the business world.  Lunch time, however, was for drinking beer and smoking cigarettes in a mutual friend’s VW van.  It quickly became a group hang out and the place to party.

There were a lot of skipped Electronics classes so we could start the party early or avoided Econ classes so we could keep going late.    

I had ten missed classes one semester in Electronics and nineteen in Economics.  When I did show up to Econ, I often wasn’t sober.  One afternoon, the prettiest girl in school leaned over and asked, “Are you drunk?”  I tried to get her to notice me all year and when she finally did it was because I was liquored up.  Well, my hopes for a John Hughes movie moment (think Some Kind of Wonderful) evaporated right then and there. 

My parents were solidly middle-class with no savings for my college education.  There were no sports scholarships on the horizon as I hadn’t played high school sports, instead preferring to work at Albertson’s so I could earn money to pay for my car and beer.

I knew my options for college were limited.  I could either work full time, take out student loans or I could run away from home.

The third option was my best choice.

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