Just the Tip: Prefrosh Edition #1

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Dear Emlyn, How does one get to write on this blog? —Jack Junior

Jack Junior,

There’s going to be this thing called the “Student Activities Fair.” It’s going to involve everything that is truly and utterly horrible about Welcome Week—a Top 40 Pandora station blasting, having to pretend like you care about something to get free food, etc. But you’ll go, because what else do you have to do? Hang out with friends from your NSO group that you’ll skillfully avoid for the next 3.75 years? Ha. As you trudge past the various club tables, keep an eye out for the most ridiculously attractive/drunk table. That’ll probably be Improv.  You should really consider trying out for Improv. Really. [Editor’s Note: Full disclosure, Emlyn does Improv.]

But the Voice will also be there, and you can sign up for the email listserv about our various events/meetings as well as indicate your preference of section. In the week or so that follows, you’ll probably hear about a welcome party, a chance to volunteer to write stories, and so on.

When it comes to advice specifically about getting published on Vox, it’s a little harder to say. Are you familiar with America’s Next Top Model? Some whisper that the process to become a writer on Vox seems oddly similar, in that the participants are human beings hand selected based on their general bitchiness and ability to smize. This is just a rumor, and I can’t say for sure what goes on in the mind of Vox’s editors… maybe good writing wins them over, maybe persistence, maybe humor, maybe all it takes is accepting an assignment and following through. But I can say that I am both very bitchy and very good at smizing, so take from that what you will.

Editor’s Note: It’s actually a vegan Hunger Games.

Dear Emlyn, Hey! I was wondering what the best option was regarding student loans? The recent news of student rates doubling along with the increasing cost of tuition has me worrying that college debt has become as inescapable as death… —Anonymous

Hey Anonymous,

Frankly, student loans are a bitch. My guess is that you might not find a perfectly peachy option, but that’s America. Ain’t it grand? I admittedly know very little about finances in general… I’m still confused about those little souvenir penny machines that squash a regular penny and then spit it out with a picture on it. How does that work? Why do they exist?

While I ponder these questions, I recommend that you be in touch with the Office of Student Financial Services—they’re surprisingly helpful for a Georgetown entity and can give you more personalized solutions. Make sure you stay on top of deadlines for loans and financial aid, by the way, but (hint-hint) if you miss things by a day or two and you’ve already buttered up to your assigned financial aid counselor, you’ll probably be okay.

In the meantime, I did some research and tried to figure out a way to make you feel better about inescapable death. Federal student loans are really a much better option than private loans: You don’t have to pay off federal student loans until after you graduate, the government could pay your interest depending on need, and you can work out deferment options if your life goes down the shitter and you can’t pay federal loans off as expected, etc.

Obviously, take out as small a loan as possible and try to supplement the rest with a job or two—don’t hesitate about not having enough time for a job, because there are several good options on campus (card swiping, library desk, and so on) that will allow/force you to do your homework while you’re getting paid.

Make sure you look carefully at your repayment options and know what you’re dealing with—the standard plan for federal loans has you repaying over a ten year period, but you can adjust that period to be longer (although that means you’ll pay more interest) or take a Pay-As-You-Earn option that’s based on your income in the years following graduation. The Pay-As-You-Earn repayment plan usually forgives any debt that you can’t pay off after 25 years, and there are even forgiveness options after ten years for those that work for nonprofits or in the public sector—so once you’re employed, you can revisit those options.

One last tip for when you start making payments:  Let’s say you’re having a really good month rolling around in extravagance and you can afford to pay more than your monthly loan payment. Go ahead and pay off as much as you can, include a written note to the lender that you want the extra amount to be applied to the principal (the written note is important, otherwise they’ll apply it to your payment for the following month), and BOOM, your principal is a little bit less. Which means interest is a little bit less. Which means you might not be eating Ramen for the next 25 years!!! Savor it while you can!!

I’m working on an expanded recruitment page for our main site so all you prefrosh can get a better idea of what we’re about. Check back next week for that. In the meantime, if you want to learn more over the summer, feel free to email the editors (either me and Gavin or the section your interested in working for). —Connor Jones

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