And the sobering reality of living with 6 figure debt for an education
I had just opened my first student loan bill… my breathing was rapid and my pulse quickened. Swallowing felt just like I had stale, expired ramen noodles stuck in my throat (ask me how I know this).
A $2,239 dollar bill. Every.Single.Month. The fun, exciting college party had turned into a student loan hangover…. A hangover I knew would last for years (and years, and years).
I am still 6 figures in debt, 6 years after that clear memory of opening my first student loan bill.
Throughout my repayment, I have learned that student loan debt is similar to many hangovers I experienced in college. Here are 6 Examples:
- You are as dry as the Sahara Desert
We all know that distinct cotton ball texture you wake up with in your mouth, body begging for water. Since student loans suck up a large chunk of your monthly income, your savings account may also be dry of money.
2. Regret, so much regret.
You regret that last shot of alcohol, the one that caused this huge hangover. You regret the debt you required to finish your degree. There might even be regrets you don’t know about yet (like a low credit score, not who what you did after you left the bar). But, it’s too late either way in both cases so….
3. You vow, NEVER AGAIN.
A tiny dancing sunbeam that hits your hardly cracked open eye can make your brain shrivel in disgust. Usually, this is when you vow that you are never, ever, ever drinking that much again. Like ever. But we know that Friday night you might actually accidentally end up going out drinking.
Once we graduate, we are SURE we are going to pay those student loans off and never take on any more debt again. But you need a car to drive to work to make money! Or even a credit card or two to help you scrape by for tough months.
4. It lasts way longer than you think it should.
One question you ask over and over again, when will this ever go away?
5. You Want to Ignore Everything
Being frustrated and sick of your situation will make you want to hide under the covers. But, like that pulsing sensation behind your red eyes, six figures of debt can be hard to ignore.
6. You Try Crazy Things to Make it Go Away
Greasy food, more alcohol, cold showers. Chugging water upside down (or that one might be for getting rid of hiccups). Ahh, the equivalent of budgeting, side hustles, and anything else you can think of to pay off debt.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. No quick magic fix for student loan debt exists.
Stressing on my net worth and debt to income ratio focused my energy on financial negativity. My resentment built as fast as my interest accrued.
Finding humor in my financial situation has helped shift my debt perspective.
As soon as I started finding patience with my debt, I felt more peace in my journey. The key was shifting my focus from the constricting negative thoughts to opportunity.
I do know that I made college memories to last a lifetime. Unfortunately my loan debt still sometimes feels like it will last a lifetime too. If only we could figure out a way to make our balances disappear like jungle juice at a frat party…