Student debt

Just a quick note to commemorate this day as the day that I finally got to select that little dropdown option that reads “Pay off account” on the website I’ve used to make payments on my student loans.

THEY’RE GONE. It feels a little surreal, a little anti-climatic, more than a little relieving, and a little sad – I know I am incredibly lucky to be out of debt so soon after college. I know I’m incredibly lucky that, between scholarships & financial aid & other support, I didn’t have to borrow all that much in the first place and was still able to get the college education that I did. (And I also feel a little guilty about that.) I’m more than a little sad because many, many other young people (including some several years older than me) still have A LOT of loans left; a lot of intelligent and idealistic people are crippled and hampered by this (what seems to me) unnecessary debt…and that feels hugely unjust and unfair and SAD. I hope something about all that changes really soon. I think the Scandinavian countries have got a lot of things right. Maybe we could take a leaf or two out of their book.

17, 18, 19 year-old’s have no idea what they’re signing up for when they sign their name to student loans. Other people than me have written about this a lot more eloquently. And I know that of all the problems in the world, in the grand scheme of things, excessive student debt isn’t the most serious among them. But it is a problem. It is an injustice. It is an injury.

For myself, it hasn’t sunk in yet that I’m (technically) “financially free.” Mostly, I’m feeling sober that so many other people my age with degrees aren’t, and very much like I’ve somehow (not quite sure how) managed to dodge a huge bullet of bigger, more-prolonged debt…thankfully! I think I’d go crazy if I felt obligated to stay at my current ho-hum/hugely stressful job any longer than I’m already committed to now b/c I had more debt left to knock off.

Bought myself some dark chocolate-covered almonds (wine would’ve been nicer) tonight to celebrate, though I’m not feeling all that celebratory. Yet – here’s to life! It goes on.

…Now what?

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