Why I Wouldn’t Have My Dream Jobs If It Weren’t For My Student Loans

Student loans are very scary, and are not something to mess around with. Although they may seem like a pain in the butt, I’m so thankful that I was able to receive loans. Without them, I highly doubt I would be where I am today and work at one of my dream jobs.

Thank you Nav ient for sponsoring this post.   

Why I Wouldn't One of My Dream Jobs If It Weren't For My Student Loans by New York fashion blogger The Champagne Edit

I know, I know, you probably think I’m insane for saying I’M THANKFUL FOR LOANS. But let me give you a little background.

I’m not sure if I ever mentioned this around here, but when I was looking at colleges to attend, I definitely picked my school because my boyfriend at the time went to school at Georgetown. You can read about how that turned out for me here. My parents tried to insist that going to the Fashion Institute of Technology would be the economically smart choice. My sister went to FIT and got an amazing job with Juicy Couture (when they were “in”) right after college.

But of course, I had to follow a boy.

So instead of going to school for $8,000 a year, I went to a private, Catholic school for almost $50,000 a year. My parents told me straight up that I would be paying for school, but were happy to support me in whatever decision I ended up going with. So in the summer of 2010, I packed up my entire life and headed down to Arlington, Virginia, where I would be attending Marymount University. Looking back on it, it would have definitely been smarter to go to FIT if we’re just talking about finances. But I’m SO glad I went to Marymount, and I wouldn’t have been able to do that without taking out student loans. And let’s face it, I definitely wouldn’t have landed TWO of my dream jobs. Everything always happens for a reason, huh?

I had that “full” college experience

If I were to go to FIT, I would have been living in the city right away. The dorms at FIT are smack dab in the middle of Chelsea. At Marymount, I stayed at on campus housing and it just FELT like a real college campus. Granted, my campus was extremely tiny in retrospect, but it was still beautiful and had that college-y feel. Instead of going to a school that was extremely focused on fashion and business, I went to a school that had so many different major options. I was able to go to college dorm room parties and walk across campus late at night. I was able to really get to know my professors and my fellow students. It was a really great learning experience for me.

I was able to explore new opportunities

I started classes with the anticipation of being in the Fashion Merchandising program. I was 100% confident that I was going to go into the fashion industry, so this major was a no-brainer for me. My perspective changed as soon as I stepped into my first (and only) Clothing Construction class. To be honest, I was probably being a bit dramatic. But when my professor expected me to know how to sew…I tapped out ASAP. I talked to my wonderful advisor, and we walked through my interests. We decided that a Communications/PR major would be a great route for me, and I’d still minor in Fashion Merchandising. I continued taking the core fashion merchandising classes, and ended up learning about a great industry: Public Relations! My PR courses 100% helped me when it came time to really focus on the “public relations” side of my blog.

I also gained such valuable leadership experience at Marymount University. The summer going into my sophomore year, the only way I could stay for the summer on campus was if I had a job to pay for my room and board. Luckily, the Admissions Office was looking for summer Student Ambassadors. I interviewed and got the position. Little did I know, that summer position would change my life completely. At the end of the term, I was invited to become a Student Ambassador for the year. When it comes to being a Student Ambassador, I learned so many amazing skills like networking, public speaking, and overall how to behave in a “corporate” environment. I made amazing friends along the way, made great connections, and even learned to manage people when I became Student Ambassador Coordinator for my junior and senior years.

Why I Wouldn't One of My Dream Jobs If It Weren't For My Student Loans by New York fashion blogger The Champagne Edit

Pink Champagne Problems wouldn’t exist

Yep. You heard that right. This website would not exist if I didn’t go to Marymount University. Since I was a Student Ambassador, I was really close with our Admissions Office staff, and learned that our marketing department for the office hired students as bloggers to showcase their life on campus. I set up a meeting with the guy who spearheaded this project, and a few weeks later (October 2012), Pink Champagne Problems was born. Oh, and I got paid for it through on-campus jobs. How cool is that?! What started out as writing about events on campus for prospective students to go through, turned into a place where I would share my outfits (this was my very first outfit post LOL). I started off sharing what I wore to class and such, and that’s really where I fell in love with fashion blogging. I guess you could say the rest is history.

Why I Wouldn't One of My Dream Jobs If It Weren't For My Student Loans by New York fashion blogger The Champagne Edit

So let’s get to the point: If I wasn’t able to take out a student loan, I wouldn’t have been able to take a random leap of faith and attend a school I knew nothing about. I ended up loving my small, private university where I felt like I contributed to our little on campus society (being an Ambassador and Orientation Leader). I started a space that has become much more than a creative outlet. And I firmly believe all of the experiences I had in college lead me to land my dream job as a Merchandiser at Perry Ellis. Who knows where I would have ended up in life if I had chosen to go to a New York State school due to finances.

In the end, I keep telling myself, “It’s not that bad.” No, I don’t like giving up a portion of my paycheck every month to pay off my loans. But it was worth it. So worth it. I’m currently in my third year of paying into my loans, and honestly, I’m shocked that I only have 7 years left. I thought it was going to take me much longer, but I finally got myself on a great payment plan where I’m comfortable paying into it every month. Whenever I have some extra money (thanks to this blog), I put it towards my loans. That’s honestly been the biggest help. Living in New York City on an associate’s salary is tough. But thanks to my side hustle (and one of two dream jobs) that is Pink Champagne Problems, I’m able to still live comfortably without sacrificing the type of life I want to live. And who knows if I would have started this blog if I didn’t take out a loan and attend Marymount University!

Thank you again to Navient for sponsoring this post.  All content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

photos by allie provost

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  1. 9.26.17

    One of the best days of my 27 years of life was the day I pressed the button on my last student loan payment! It’s an incredible feeling, you’ll be there in no time! I went to UNH ( New Hampshire) and sooo glad I did the country campus college life vs being the in city. I knew I would end up in Boston so I wanted my college experience to be completely opposite. Thanks for sharing!
    xx Tess | Sequins are the New Black

    • 9.26.17
      Dana Mannarino said:

      That’s amazing!!! Good for you for getting them paid off. We had such similar experiences as far as city vs. campus. Thanks for stopping by, Tess!

  2. 9.26.17

    Oh boy — do I have a *ton* of student loans to pay off (I went to Drexel for 2 years and it was $50k a year too!), but I’m also thankful for my Drexel experience. Virginia has so many great schools, but my high school was so massive that I would have know a crap ton of people going to every VA public school. By going out of state for college and knowing no one, it forced me to be my own person, and I was super involved on campus as a result!

    • 9.26.17
      Dana Mannarino said:

      I feel ya lady. It was so cool to meet so many different people in Virginia, and same here, I got much more involved on campus because of that!

  3. 9.26.17

    And you also wouldn’t have met me if you didn’t go to school in the DC area sooo……..there’s that 😉 but let’s also bring back preppy jcrew dana for a day haha she was cute



    • 9.26.17
      Dana Mannarino said:

      I KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO SAY THAT. Leave J.Crew Dana in the past, okay?!

    • 9.27.17

      I second that Allie! haha .. Isn’t it funny how our styles change to much after college?! I know mine did as well!

      How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

      • 9.27.17
        Dana Mannarino said:

        NO! CMON!!! Don’t side with her 😉
        But I know, it’s insane how much my style has changed over the last few years. Going to college in Virginia and moving back home to New York definitely had something to do with that.

  4. 9.27.17
    Kacie Nelson said:

    Student loans are the soul reason that I was able to attend the University of Miami! It’s a huge pain paying them back every month BUT totally worth it for the amazing college experience I had and that shaped me into who I am today! Also the fact that I get to put my degree to use everyday in NYC doesn’t hurt either 😉 Thanks for sharing this post Dana!

    Xo, Kacie

    • 9.27.17
      Dana Mannarino said:

      See?! They are such a pain, but so worth it when you really think about it. Couldn’t agree more that it shapes who you are!
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story, Kacie! xx

  5. 10.1.17

    Dana! I read this earlier in the week and really wanted to comment. I love this post! I went to Carnegie Mellon, and got some aid, but absolutely had to take out loans to cover the rest. I could have gone elsewhere and not had to take out loans, but my life would have been totally different. Like you mentioned,d I think I wouldn’t have the job I do if I hadn’t gone to CMU! It’s great to see loans not portrayed in a negative light, but rather an investment into your future. (But also, agreed that it’s annoying to pay them off each month!)