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Part 3 - A Tale Of Caution: Student Loan Hell

“We all think we’re going to get out of debt.” - Louie Anderson

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Graduation for grad school came in spring 2013. I worked two years to get my degree, an MBS with an actuarial sciences concentration. It's like an MBA and a Masters in Statistics hooked up to make this degree. In some ways, it was easier than undergraduate, the expectations for graduate students being a little more flexible. My gpa was higher than my undergrad and now so was my debt.

When graduation came, I didn't need a math background to know I was going to be paying for these loans for a long time. When I finally checked what they all came out to be, I came close to having my first nervous breakdown at the age of 24.

$148,000 in loans

And they were all mine. That amount could be a house (not in NJ maybe, but somewhere else). It could be 5 nice cars (I drove my dad's old SUV). It could have been a lot of things. I knew what it was though.

That was now my future. That was my baby for the next 25 years. It would never let me forget about it, or cease reminding me of what I gave up.

I realized then that I altered my future so irrevocably for two pieces of paper. I made the biggest bet of my lifetime and all on myself. It felt like my future would be determined by a roll the dice.

A few things became very clear to me then:

1. I needed to get my shit together and quickly (no going to Europe for a year to "find myself" - I would love to know who actually gets to do this)

2. I was going to struggle. (Yes, everyone struggles, but I knew the next few years to a decade would push me mentally and physically, maybe beyond what I could cope with.)

3. I was going to have to put my life on hold for a while. (No thoughts of dating, no planning to move out, no thoughts on my future. I focused on the here and now, and getting a job to pay these loans.)

I was right to think this, because nothing is easy. I didn't have a full time job by the time November rolled around, although I looked and looked until filling out applications seemed to become my job.

My repayment started and it was approximately:

Hesaa's monthly payment: $760

Government's loans (now Navient): $830

Total: $1,590

I don't really remember much about that time, because I kinda lost my shit for a little while.

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