Student Loans, a scary endeavor.

40 days – that is the amount of time I let my student loans go delinquent. 40 whole days. I was scared, like we all are, of the unknown. Interest rates, fixed, variable, credit score, and growing debt were terms that swarmed my head the first three days after the loan bill arrived from the loan office. Then, like any other unreasonably overwhelmed person, I tucked the letter away, pushed the idea out of my head, and pretended it all didn’t exist until day 41.  On day 41, I finally hit the wall of, “Just do it, just call them. Maybe it won’t be as bad as you think.”

Going into that phone call, we aren’t as naive as we assume ourselves to be. We know that our student debt is equal to five really, really nice cars, possibly a nice house in the country, or even four in-ground swimming pools with an attached water slide. However, none of us have owned anything like that in our lives before, so to say the task of facing that mountain of cash and paying back every penny is overwhelming is an understatement. We literally sit and stare at the loan statement when it arrives in the mail as if it were written in Mandarin Chinese. We don’t want to face it nor accept the fact that it will consume us if we don’t just make the call and talk to a real person at the student loan office.

15 years (well, 15 years and 41 days for me) on average is the amount of time it will take a law, medical, or graduate student to pay back their student loans.  Just hearing that figure can frighten someone to death – literally. The anxiety and nausea can be crippling when examining your student loans on the back end of school. You might think to yourself, “Was it worth it?” or “Why did I do this?” We don’t necessarily know the answers to those questions right now, but we do hope, by the time the last payment is sent, we will have a feeling that we made the right choice.

All in all, our futures don’t look that grim even with the mountain of student loans glaring at us daily. It is like we are sitting at the bottom of a 1,500 foot sinkhole and are expected to grow magical wings and fly to the top. We have dug ourselves in, and now we must find our way back out. Just know, you are not in this toil alone. We followed a dream – to become an attorney, a doctor, a nurse, a professor, a chemist, a pharmacist, etc. So let’s not give up – our dreams haven’t ended, they have just begun. Just a thought from a graduate’s perspective.

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