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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Ryley Wilcox
Ryley Wilcox
News Editor

I found my passion for journalism during my sophomore year of college, writing articles here and there for the North Wind. Since joining the staff this past semester as the news writer, I have been able...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Students paying for school on own strive for a balance

For students who have little or no help from parents, scholarships or other funds that would otherwise assist in getting them through school, loans and full-time jobs become some of the only options for continuing their education.

With some students relying entirely on their own income to get through school, many luxuries end up getting scrapped.

With 17 percent of NMU students not currently receiving financial aid, according to the NMU Financial Aid Fact Book, many work long hours over the summer and into the school year, carrying two or more jobs in addition to their workload as a full-time student.

Meghan Moshier, a junior wildlife management major, said as one of those students who works long hours at various jobs, she has time for no activites other than school and work.

“I work 30 hours a week at McDonalds and HOTplate while taking 15 credits at Northern,” she said. “It’s exhausting but I still try to make time for friends and stuff like that on the weekends or during the week when we’re all free. But it’s tough sometimes, sometimes you don’t have time to study because you have to work.”

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This tight schedule doesn’t allow much in the way of the normal social activities college life has to offer.

“I don’t have much time for anything other than school and work,” Moshier said. “When I do get a rare day off I’m too tired to do much other than sleep.”

For students like Moshier, loans are the only way she could continue attending NMU.

“Without loans, I wouldn’t be able to afford my books,” she said. “It would be a lot harder for me to pay for my rent and sometimes food without that extra little bit of help. I have the Kalamazoo promise, which covers a lot, but I have to pay for room and board and books and fees and everything else. There are a lot of times where I’ll be very close to being short on rent. In those cases, I’ll work more, save more and budget better.”

There are also the prototypical college experiences Moshier said she sometimes misses out on because of her financial situation.

“Skiing, long road trips like going up to Tech for winter carnival, a PEIF pass—but (missing some experiences) is part of the process,” she said. “There are a lot of things I can do, like sledding, which  is free, or we’ll have roommate bonding by making dinner at the house instead of going out to eat.”

Another student, senior art history major Taylor Adams, said she has faced similar budgetary dilemmas when it comes to fun over school and work. She worked nearly 40 hours a week in the fall, but is now only working one job — as an assistant in the president’s office — 20 hours a week.

“I definitely focus on work and school because those are my main things,” Adams said. “It’s why I’m here. But because I’ve been balancing work and school, I don’t get to do the fun things that college students typically do, and I don’t  get to participate in extracurriculars.

“I accept it though. There are times — because I’m really into music and theater — that I think it’d be really cool to do theater or choir. But I accept that this is the hand that I was dealt and this is what I have to do.”

For the time being, Adams is paying for school with Federal Student Aid, including direct loans, and has also taken out private loans.

“I’m definitely freaked out (by having to pay back loans),” she said. “I’ve considered moving back in with parents (after graduating). Or should I continue and go back to school, or do I get a job right away?”

But while some students are paying off school by working full-time and also attending classes, some are accepting of their future, which more than likely involves paying back student loans.

“It’s definitely scary,” Adams said. “I’ve already thought about getting loans consolidated and have started budgeting for different jobs and salaries because I’m figuring out how much I have to pay monthly to pay back those student loans.”

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