Some tips for the crushing weight of school debt?
I am still a couple of months away from having to start paying back my student loans, so I can only relate like a disaster preparedness coach who hasn’t ever encountered a disaster. What I do know is that a lot of what you’ll experience is a bleak sense of hopelessness. You either get a decent paying job and devote a good portion of your income to paying off your loans, or you get a moderately good paying job and pay off what is required of you and end up feeling like you’re lighting money on fire. Like many, you’ll get a shit job or no job at all. The first thing you should do is confront that hopeless feeling that debt can give you.
Some of that weight can be lifted by knowing what it all means and having a plan. Even if the plan isn’t the best plan or even if you wish you didn’t know so much. It will give you some sense of control over the whole matter and give you some direction. (Queue image of Stephen King character holding a flashlight into The Mist.)
- Figure out exactly how much you can afford to pay each month.
- If you don’t make any money or the idea of having money is laughable, do part one anyways, but make part two the how much do I have to pay question.
- For step two you’re going to become best friends with those loan people. You gotta keep calling until your mental image turns from loan sharks to loan farts. Oops, my payment is due in two weeks! I’m gonna call up Larry to see whats up! Swing some shit! Talk about how poor I am!
- Figure out the language of loans: Default, Consolidation, Debt to Income Ratio, Economic Hardship, Principal, Pay as Your earn, etc. Maybe you’re already out of college but it’s time to pull the books out again because you’re gonna have to use their lingo to get things moving.
- Make a deal with the Devil, see pt 4. Figure out what you can pay or what you can’t pay and be honest with the people breathing down your back. They’re used to it. No one can actually pay their student loans. I still think that the “I paid off my student loans” kid is propaganda but who knows, maybe Little Billy Hardworker is real.
Optional Option for Consideration: Look up “Loan Forgiveness” which is kinda like volunteering for Tribute.
Finally: Remember to breathe. Pick up yoga. Money will ruin your life if you let it. A lot of people are broke, living month to month. A lot of people have well paying jobs and still can’t handle their loans. Figure out a plan, feel well-read on the subject, wrap your head meats around the idea of loans existing as a part of your life. As you’re able, change that plan to make it a better one. Some day you’ll look at it again and think “it’s… it’s actually moving down, the number is moving down!” At this point you may forget that student loans weren’t always in your life and you’ll suddenly have twice as much money to handle and that will be an entirely different crisis.
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