Author Topic: Quit my job to go back to college.  (Read 2920 times)


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Quit my job to go back to college.
« on: November 12, 2014, 11:21:27 PM »
Hello Mustachians, I have been a big fan of this blog for a while. This is my first time posting to the forum. I would really appreciate you wisdom and advice.

Last year I quit my full time dead end office job so I could go to college. Currently I have about 17k in student loan debt. Most of which is from a year I spent in Automotive Tech school (that was a dumb decision).

Over the past couple of years I have become a big fan of Mr. Money Mustache and I have developed a pretty frugal life style. My weekend job covers my living expenses, but I still have to take out loans for school. I know I could probably  work more and pay for school out of pocket, but that leaves very little time for studying.

I am majoring in computer science, but I am worried that I may be making a mistake. I find programming quite interesting, but my real life goal does not involve sitting in an office developing software. What I really want to do is travel. My current plan is to graduate with as little debt as possible, get the best paying job I can, keep my monthly expenses low, and put as much money as possible into paying off my school loans. Once my debt is gone I will cut back on work and spend time traveling. Maybe even do some freelance work while I travel.

So does this plan make any sense? My instincts tell me that taking on more debt to get out of debt could be a big mistake. I have already wasted the first half of my 20s drinking, partying, and doing a bunch of nothing. I know I am still relatively young, but I have 3 more years of college and then a few more years to pay off my loans. I really don't want to waste anymore time. I am not sure that if I didn't already have 17k in debt, that I would have gone back to school at all.

Also what is the best way estimate the amount of student loan debt I will have when I graduate?

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I truly appreciate any advice you have to offer.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2014, 11:50:56 PM by buttprint01 »


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Re: Quit my job to go back to college.
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2014, 11:57:40 PM »
Are they private loans or govt loans (where interest is deferred while you are a student)? One option might be to cut back to being a part time student, where it might take you longer to do the degree, but you could work more hours. It'd be Mustacian to break even (or even earn money) while in school vs putting yourself more in the hole.

If you're only a year in and not feeling it, I wouldn't stay in it. The good part about realizing that after one year is that you aren't losing a ton of credits, and chances are they will apply to other degrees. It's really normal to change majors, and really that's part of what the college experience is about. I had my heart set on a degree, and after a year realized that the lifestyle really sucked - I never knew the reality of it til I was taking the classes every day.

Have you thought about looking into a career where you could integrate traveling into your job? Or are there other interests you could pursue for a semester, general eds, etc to see if you find something else you find interesting, or could integrate with computer programming? Have you ever considered business/entrepreneurship? (which might open doors integrating all of those)


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Re: Quit my job to go back to college.
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2014, 01:11:01 AM »
OP, I hear you on wanting to travel and not wanting a desk job. As a recovering travel addict who's worked a bunch of low-to-middling-pay 'artsy' jobs in a handful of countries, and has finally found a 'sweet spot' after well over a decade of attempting to work while traveling, here's some advice:

* Yes to avoiding any more debt, unless you're 110% sure it's for a degree you really want to use - and is useful, worldwide
* Look into working for multinational companies. Get started in the US, do your time, pay off your debts, and do your utmost to get transferred overseas. This will get you the best package, and will be a relatively quick path to FI. Second-best option is to keep an eye for jobs in your industry in your region of choice. If you are drawn to a particular country, you can do a DIY relocation but your salary will not be half as good as that of an 'overseas hire'.
* Freelance working while traveling is not what generally happens. People commonly work online while living in low-COL locations, from where it's easy and affordable to travel. Freelancing is not a good recipe for the steady savings which FI requires, but is a great option post-FI

Edited to add: Depending on your field, remote work could be a great option for you as well, if you practice 'geoarbitrage' by living in a low-cost country while working a good job which pays US currency. It's technically illegal to work while on a tourist/student visa in most countries, yet few countries have laws regulating online work -- yet.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2014, 01:17:40 AM by expatartist »


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Quit my job to go back to college.
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2014, 06:33:08 AM »
Why not try to work in auto tech field you studied already? With that skill you can find work easily.