For Everything Else, There’s Sallie Mae

Student Loans

Yes, I have student loans. Columbia College Chicago and NYU were not cheap. Still, I worked through both my undergraduate and graduate studies, and paid for almost all my living expenses out of pocket. I had roommates, I ate in, and I resold books online after my classes ended. However, no amount of personal economizing could make a dent in the tuition price tag. I received some scholarships and grants, but it wasn’t enough. Like many middle-class Americans, I had to borrow.

I realize that the amount we collectively owe the US government and other private lenders is becoming somewhat ridiculous, and many people in my situation are getting angrier and angrier. I also spend a lot of money on my loan payments that I would love to spend on other things. Fortunately, my modest salary as an adjunct professor still allows me to cover my bills and have a little fun on the side. I have a teeny, adorable studio apartment in Manhattan. I take French classes. I travel. I see a lot of theatre. I practice yoga. I update my wardrobe seasonally. I celebrate holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc. with friends and loved ones. I throw the occasional party. I have an iPhone that I am increasingly dependent on. I get my hair cut. All this and more, I manage to cover with my meager finances. Those student loans still get paid. Am I in a race to pay them off tomorrow? Absolutely not. I figure if I skimped and saved and cut out all the fun in my life I could probably come up with an extra $150 or so a month to throw at my loans. That means in one year I’d pay down an additional $1800. Sweet. I’d be debt free two months sooner. Totally not worth it. Especially when you take into account inflation! By the time I make the final payment, I will have lived a full and rich life and my initial loan amount will see like peanuts. There are some things money can’t buy…

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