You should assume when you take out a student loan that you will have to repay it at some point. However, this does not mean that you have to accept the payment plan that the lender gives you. Federal borrowers have choices, probably more than you realize, including different types of repayment plans, ways to postpone repayment, and even ways to get out of default through repayment.
Repayment options are different depending on whether or not you are in default. If you have defaulted on your loans, the Default and Delinquency section of this website has information on rehabilitation and settlement. If you are not in default, there are several pre-default repayment plans described in this section.
Most of the strategies discussed here apply only to borrowers with federal student loans. Private lenders may offer similar programs, but they are not required to do so.