Typically, standard government student loans provide a six month grace period for repayment after graduation. That way graduates have time to find a job and start earning a pay check before the first loan payment is due. My six month grace period however, was anything but graceful. It was more like a scrimp-save-scramble-scavenge-cross my fingers period. At no time did I feel graceful.
The truth is, like me, many Americans graduate college without a long-term career lined up. Yes, I had a full-time job, but not one that would sustain my lifestyle once those student loan payments hit. (And by “lifestyle” I mean like eating food and having a place to sleep.)
Working full-time and searching for a job in your field with an impending loan payment is more than enough to send you over the edge. Although I’m thankful my student loans allowed for a grace period, I hesitate to call it that. Luckily, I did land a better job two months before the first bill was due, so my first paycheck went to my student debt. I was determined to get ahead of my payments by at least two months so if hard times hit, I could give myself two months without a loan payment to get back on my feet.
If I could go back now I would’ve worked harder to ensure a job immediately after graduation, but I feel that the six month grace period humbled me in a way. With your future at stake and an impending loan payment weighing on your shoulders, you find a tenacity and drive to never end up in that situation again.
There are options out there if your student loans become too much. However, keep in mind that extending your loan can cause you to pay more interest over time. I decided to extend my loan payments even though, luckily, I am able to afford the full payment. I’ll tell you why on my next post. Stay tuned!
Hi, I’m Audra! I’m a marketing specialist here at VACU. I joined VACU right out of college at VCU 5 years ago. In that time, I got engaged, married my college sweetheart and had two babies; a girl and a boy. I’ve learned a lot about finances working at the credit union, but even more from navigating these life changes. So I’m excited to share my personal financial journey with you and what I’m learning along the way.
Other stories by Audra F.