With only 3 days until my graduation from college, the day I've been dreading all this time has finally come. No, not graduation day itself. The day I have to start talking about student loan repayment.
When you first start school, apply for FASFA and make best friends with your girl Sallie Mae, repayment seems like it's a lifetime away. Even while you're in school you think to yourself "Hmmm, sure graduation is close, but I have that whole grace period thing, we good!"
Until that six month grace period starts and you are in fact not good, not good at all.
The stress balloons, you fear you will be homeless because everything you earn is going to back into an education that couldn't even get you a job good enough to pay it back (Curse you internships!), you think about how much you wish you'd just gone to community college or maybe you're like me and you just spend a lot of time thinking about how you'll spend your evenings when you're a coupon lady scouring the mall for deals. Will it be a wine & cheese vibe or more of an endless supply of Yankee Candles? Only time will tell...
But what if I told you that all of our stressing over hypothetical scenarios was incredibly foolish?
Sure, you're in debt up to your eyeballs and the idea of spending 15 years paying back a 4-year education is mind-boggling (hey college, stop being so overpriced), but no matter what, there is one thing I can promise you: it doesn't last forever.
It is estimated that on average, from birth to the age of 18, you will spend nearly $1M on your child. THAT'S ON AVERAGE. So sure, I spent a lot to go to school, and I'll be paying for it for a brunt of the foreseeable future. But it's not a million bucks and a lifetime commitment. It's also a system designed to let you pay it back over time.
If you're truly passionate about something, and a pricey education is going to increase the chances of you getting to live those passions, then what the hell is holding you back? It's a commitment, I know. But resigning to a life where you don't achieve everything you've ever imagined because of something like money is a commitment too. A commitment to unhappiness.
I may sound over-confident or even preachy (forgive me please) but believe me when I tell you that I'm scared too. It isn't easy or cheap or the ideal situation, but it's not impossible either.
If anything, I've made a pricey bet, and the bet is on me.
The thing that gives me hope in the face of the monster that is student loan debt, is knowing the odds on me winning are pretty damn high. If you believe in yourself the way that you should, the way those around you believe in you, then there is nothing that should hold you back from taking that bet on yourself too.