When I finished high school, I decided to go to UNC-Greensboro in North Carolina for a Technical Theater degree. (I wanted to go to Ithaca, but out of state tuition was crazy!) After a year at school, I realized that the degree track I had chosen would require me to take art classes that I knew I would never pass. I can barely make a good stick figure, let alone the things they wanted me to draw! So I transferred to NC State University and decided to be a History major instead. Needless to say, two colleges and two major changes later, I have accrued a LOT of student loan debt that I'm still paying back.

My good friend Bryan was in the same boat after going to college and culinary school and amassing a large amount of debt. After looking at several different options, he decided to go overseas for a year and work in and run some of the military mess halls (called defacs) in Iraq and Afghanistan. He made more money over there in a year than he ever could have here and paid off all his student debt and put some money away as well! Oddly enough, my brother took a similar route, working as a firefighter for a year in Iraq. Thankfully, both of them are home now, but I can't tell you how worried we all were while they were gone.

Some people take extreme measures to pay off debt, and I recently read an article about a guy who not only paid off all of his undergraduate student debt, but accrued no debt as he went to school for his graduate degree. He's finished now and completely debt free. The way he did it is definitely not the conventional route, but I wish I had that kind of forethought before I decided to go to school. I think I would be in a better spot than I am now!