Today my roommate called to switch her student loans to the extended repayment plan since she can't afford the payments for the standard ten year schedule. This will cost her an extra $22,000 in interest payments if she pays only the new minimum, more if she follows through on her plan of going back to school for a doctorate and putting her (mostly unsubsidized) loans into deferral. She's currently all but thesis on a masters in music theory, and her career options in that field are pretty limited unless she does ultimately go for the Ph.D.
I can't quite imagine taking out tens of thousands of dollars in loans that will be with you for life and not even bothering to calculate what your payments will be until they start coming due, but I'm trying very hard not to be judgmental. Students in the arts just aren't funded like students in the hard sciences, and I'd probably still plan on a Ph.D. even if it meant taking on debt. (I miss the lab.) Still, between my roommate's student loans and credit card debt that she may finally kill off sometime this summer if all goes according to plan, which I sort of suspect it won't, I sometimes feel like I'm living with a cautionary tale. It's nice to have compound interest working for me rather than against me.