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Erin Dunphy Headshot

Excited For The Future, Even Under The Weight Of Loans

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I grew up with an insatiable need to explore the world around me. So I knew when I was going to go to college I was going to do two things: One, major in journalism and two, leave my home. It was time for me to blaze my own path.

I had worked hard throughout high school and did all those things they tell you to do to get as much money out of the process as possible. I was an honors graduate and was involved in almost every kind of extracurricular activity. I did my best to be the girl any college would want -- and therefore would hopefully give money that she wouldn't have to pay back.

When the time came for me to pick my dream school, I chose Ithaca College, a medium-sized school in the Finger Lakes region of New York. I fell in love with it at first sight -- not only the view of Lake Cayuga, but the program that would have me working in a studio from day one and open more doors than I could ever imagine.

As I found out, those opportunities came with a cost -- and a high one at that. It's given me many experiences in terms of working on campus and internships that have given me wonderful memories and opportunities, career-wise. I don't regret going to Ithaca because of everything they've done for me. My school has treated me wonderfully in the way of opening every door and window for me to pursue anything I want.

In the way of scholarships and grants, I'm doing the best I can. There's a lot of little scholarships that can help, but money is hard to get, and it's competitive to get it. There just simply isn't enough money to go around to help everyone. Loans are inevitable, but for how much everyone encourages the need of a college degree, you think there'd be a way for students to go to college without taking on massive loan burdens.

I'm lucky I have parents who support my endeavors and help me in any way that they can. I couldn't have asked for a better pair, but at the end of the day there's no way that they can take on the weight of my tuition knowing in a few years my brother will be heading off to college and their other responsibilities.

I'm hoping my experiences pay off and I'll get a job and I'll be able to pay off my loans, but there's no guarantee. I hold three different jobs and am working on paying off some of the interest on my loans. It's taking a long time and I haven't made a dent.

I want my life to be more than my debt. I want to be able to buy a car or own a home, even get a higher degree, but I'm afraid nothing will happen with my debt.