College students and credit card debt

Cindy Huff, Columnist

How cool is it to feel all grown up while you are away at college making all our own decisions, without having to worry about mom and dad overruling them? You can go on vacation, buy new clothes and luxury items any time that you want because you have the power: “credit card power.”

It is very exciting when we get our first credit card. Seeing our name engraved on the front, it’s a maddening situation and we can’t wait to go out and buy something, just to prove to ourselves that we can.

Everything is all sunshine and roses until the bill comes in, and we realize that because we made our own decisions to get the credit card, we now have to pay the bill. What does that require? More hours at work, two jobs, whatever it takes to pay the bill. Things can go downhill from there because we not only have to work longer hours we also might have two jobs and are just too exhausted to pay attention to our instructors in class.  If we even have the energy to go to class at all.

Then guess what happens? Our schoolwork starts to suffer, we get behind in our studies and we forget that we have papers due. Our GPA goes from a 4.0 to a 3.15. What the H___!!!!

We may feel like we are at the end of our rope and stress has taken over our lives. We might start drinking or smoking weed to relieve the anxiety. We may feel hopeless.

However, there is hope my friends. You can call the credit card company and make arrangements with them to make a smaller payment that you can afford, or you can ask mom and dad to bail you out with a promise to pay them back. Then all you have to do is cut that credit card in half and throw it away and wait until you are out of school, working a good full-time job before you ever get another one. 

Credit cards are good, if we pay them off every month on the due date. They are horrid if we blow the balance on items that we do not need, with no resources to pay it back.

We also have to remember that we have other debt to pay back and student loans. It is a scary thought to think about paying back both student loans and credit cards. Plus it’s important to protect our credit rating, just in case we want to purchase a new car or a home in the future.

Credit can be good if used in the correct way but it can also a very bad experience if not used wisely.

Cindy Huff is a graduate student studying aging studies.  She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].