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College, huh? I guess I hadn’t really put much thought into it throughout high school. It wasn’t something we put much emphasis in my family. I didn’t know much about grants or scholarships. I wasn’t even really sure how to apply for college. I was graduating from high school and had no plans for my future. I truly just lived in the moment without much thought for where I wanted my life to go.

I bounced around from community college to community college with a few trade schools sprinkled in as I continued to get poor grades and rack up student loan debt. Yes that’s right… I amassed student loan debt by going to community college and trade schools. That’s how financially illiterate I was.

I didn’t really have anyone to teach me about what student loans were and the impact they’d have on my future. I just went in and signed the papers knowing I could go into school without coughing up a dime. Oh boy, I had no clue the crazy amount of dimes this was going to cost me. In fact, it never even crossed my mind that I would have to pay this back.

Society heavily suggests that you should go to college, so I thought I was doing the right thing. I was not college material! I think most people knew that about me, but what they don’t know is that I’m really damn stubborn! LOL! They probably know that too. I didn’t give up no matter how many times I failed.

At one point I went to school for air traffic control and graduated number two in my class. I finally have a future! No more of struggling in college and waiting tables. I don’t have to live at home anymore!

WRONG!!! Just about as wrong as anyone could be. As I was going through the hiring process for my government air traffic control position, I failed my medical. I went through 2 years of evaluations to try and reverse the decision. To no avail, the government sent me a letter that arrived at my house on Christmas Eve telling me I will never be an air traffic controller. EVER!!! ANYWHERE!! That’s a tough pill to swallow. I finally felt like I got something right in my life and it came crumbling down. $140,000/year job, government benefits, excellent location to live. All gone just like that.

Since all air traffic control jobs are government regulated, I was out of options. Another college attempt failed. It was Christmas day and I have $40,000 in student loans and no career anywhere in sight.