College Debt & A Dream

What’s your first thought when you hear the phrase, “college debt”? Don’t worry, we have all day for you to make that list of emotions. How about, worried, sad, miserable, depressed, anxious...?

TooMuchInfo is all about positive news, so, here is the positive news: college debt…is not the end of your world, your career, or your life.

From one college graduate to another, allow me to give you a few tips of my own.

I am an early college graduate who took out various loans, and grants to financially make it through my education. But! I also had a campus job, worked for the summer which changed my  tuition automatically from out-of-state to in-state, and took advantage of the opportunity of scholarships placed in front of me. You can do it too! When I saw my college debt, I... panicked. Don’t panic.  

My biggest tip to all graduates, students still in school and students approaching their college freshman year is to STAY AHEAD OF EVERYTHING. Know your financial limits before you walk in. Know how many credits it takes you to be eligible for graduation so that you don’t step over the limit, or fall behind. You don’t want to pay more money or take out loans more than what you need. Stay on top of assignments!

Get that GPA high so that your overall CUM GPA will be high. Many schools offer scholarships just as a “hey, your grades are great!” Mission to know what you don’t. Search for the opportunities that aren’t easy to find, ask questions and use your sources of administration.

I can only speak from a recent graduate standpoint, so I made sure to pull along someone who has experienced college debt fears and turned them into a positive movement.

Here’s Juwan, @__JuGatti on Twitter. __JuGatti graduated from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Spring 2014. He was an English/Communications major and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.

In his early 20s, he thought to make a difference by creating a Hip-Hop site, StoopKidz.com, for Hip-Hop fans. This site is the home of his hat brand that sparks inspiration, hope, and diligence by simply stating “College Debt & a Dream”.

@_JuGatti didn’t wait for an opportunity, he made one.

This Q & A gives you what you need to know about his brand, college debt and how to survive!

Q: Upon graduating and seeing your college debt, what were your first thoughts? 

@_JuGatti: Aw man, when I first saw the amount of college debt I owed I was overwhelmed. That was easily the biggest number I had ever seen in life and I didn’t even have a job yet! My first thoughts were “was this all worth it?” I believe getting over the initial shock of this took some months, after I buckled down and broke the numbers down into sections as far as monthly payments they didn’t seem as scary anymore. After breaking it down and looking at the numbers bit by bit, I was able to formulate a plan as to how much I wanted the debt to be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years etc. I believe this has helped me in coping with having the debt.

 Q: So, you've created Stoop Kidz as a hip hop article site and home for the brand of your "College Debt & a Dream" hats. What was you motivation to start the site and who's attention is it intended for? 

 @_JuGatti: Stoop Kidz manifested as an idea in which me and my line brother thought on how we could impact the culture in a way that best fit us. We wanted our voices to be heard, but in the most organic and truthful way. Our biggest outlet came in the form of hip-hop, a genre and lifestyle we grew up in. So, we used this as a way to express ourselves, and our personalities through our articles and content that we create. It is intended for our fellow millennials who are avid fans of hip-hop and everything that it is. Not only just the music, but the fashion, the dances, everything within the culture. The true motivation behind it was to create something that can inspire. I want people to see that we created a website. In return, it motivates them to start something they are passionate about. The other motivation is establishing something that can last forever. So, when it is all said and done when we walk away from it our kids or our kids’ kids can carry on with it if they would like.

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Q: What is the meaning behind "College Debt & a Dream", that makes it so important to be on a hat? 

@__JuGatti: The original meaning behind the “College Debt & A Dream” campaign was to serve as a beacon of hope. As we know the student debt of the United States is a major crisis that many of us have succumbed to. I wanted this phrase to serve as hope whereas even though we are plagued with this, we can and we will overcome. This is a phrase of not falling victim to circumstance. Yes, we have debt, but that won’t stop us from traveling, exploring, creating, and most of all living. This movement is for those who aren’t with the norms of yesteryear’s society. Those who don’t want to be stuck in a job they hate just to pay bills and live a menial life. No one wants to live that way for the rest of their life, and I don’t blame them.  Debt is just a minor setback for something bigger in life.

 Q: How have you managed your brand to bring awareness and positive thinking for College Debt?

 @__JuGatti: I believed I managed to bring awareness and positive thinking to college debt and my brand by being transparent. I pride myself on being relatable and open. It’s no need to act like I have it all figured out or know the secrets to success because I don’t. Just going through trial and error until I find a formula that sticks. I believe with those that support me, or purchase hats they see my good and bad days. I celebrate my success as much as I share my failures. If I win, then we won because none of this would be possible without the support. All in all, I turned the negative of college debt into something profitable which is something we all can do. Maybe not debt, but whatever the person desires to change can be done.

 Q: Any college debt tips for those going into school, just getting out or currently in college? 

@__JuGatti: For those going into school please take advantage of the educational workshops and events. Attend the financial literacy events, the job fairs, the how to tie a tie seminars etc. Utilize your resources such as your teachers and RA’s. Everyone is willing to help, and you’d be surprised at the opportunities that come about. For college debt tips please please please apply to these scholarships! There are companies who are literally handing you free money. Just have to take the initiative to find them. For those that are currently enrolled, start formulating business plans and ideas. Make that youtube channel, that podcast.... Don’t wait for these companies to give you the experience you need for the work force because they won’t. For those who have graduated, CONGRATULATIONS! Bask in the ambiance of your accomplishment and don’t you for a second take it for granted. There are a lot of people who wish they were able to graduate, shoot, even able to attend college. So, hold your head up high and know that you’ll be the driving force who will change the world. For college debt tips, pay your loans on time. Not only will that keep them from harassing you but it’ll also improve your credit score greatly. Also, know your financial lane. Don’t set overly high loan payments monthly that’ll leave you scraping for change every paycheck. Pay what is comfortable and in time once you move up in your career you’ll be able to make higher payments or more frequent ones.

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And, nothing else needs to be said! You can see many college students taking selfies while rockin’ the “College Debt & a Dream” hat. It's more than a hat, it’s a movement, a hope for tomorrow, and a dream in spite of what seems like a nightmare!

Check out the Stoop Apparel in the link below!

http://www.stoopapparel.bigcartel.com/