Vice News had a fascinating, and kind of disturbing, article on Americans who moved to Europe to avoid paying back their student loan debt obligations. While I get it that it sucks to start off life with tens of thousands – in insane cases hundreds of thousands – of dollars worth of debt, the attitude of entitlement and absurd immaturity that comes off of these four case studies is oddly strange. The mental gymnastics going on to justify their behaviour is fascinating – it’s like watching some add one plus one and trying to justify it being five. Here’s my analysis, with full colour commentary and analysis.
So… I finished paying off my student loans this month. Actually, that’s a lie. I finished paying off my student loans in July 2014. Actually, that is a lie too. It would be more accurate to say we finished paying off my student loan in July 2014. But I was too scared to say so back in July, because I had projected to be finished paying them off this month, November 2014, all by my self. Like a big boy. I think I’m also suffering from PTDRS – Post Traumatic Debt Repayment Syndrome. I’m serious. I still don’t feel like I’m done paying off this debt. I still feel like I am in the trenches everyday trying to reign debt under control. I haven’t even celebrated yet.
Back in November 2013, I posted a visualization of my student loan payoff progress – please refer to that post if you want to understand the graph. I had $25,100 left to go in November 2013. Today, I am left with $13,800. I am so close to single digit thousands owing that it is making me giddy. I used up my remaining bulk of student loan tuition credits this tax season and got a substantial $5000 return, which I immediately put towards my student loans. I’ve eliminated 75% of this debt and racing to kill the remaining 25%. I’m on the student loan homestretch. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And it feels damn good.
I wrote previously about being at half way to zero on my debt repayment. I realized I didn’t add a visual to that post. So here it is. This is my student loan payoff visualization! This is what my student loan debt payoff looks like in graph form. The blue bars correspond to the right-side vertical axis and show my total monthly student loan payments since May 2012. The red line corresponds to the left-side vertical axis and shows my debt level dropping after each payment. And that is the visualization of my student loan repayment journey!
I’m half way there! Actually, a little over half way. With that big milestone out of the way, I am more motivated than ever to slay this thing once and for all. I’ve projected late 2014 as the day I cross the finish line. What am I talking about?
I flew back home immediately after I handed in my masters dissertation. After a few days of sleeping, literally few days of sleeping, I started looking for work.
I thought it’d be easy. I just finished my masters degree. I even got it from a big-brand-name-British school. Most importantly, I thought I was pretty smart, pretty special. I’d have no problems I told myself.
How wrong I was. It took 8 grueling months to find the job I’m currently at. It was roller coaster journey, with valleys of despair and peaks of optimism. Usually more valleys of despair. Peaks of optimism tended to descend into valleys of despair pretty rapidly when you never heard back from jobs you applied for.
And in this purgatory of highs and lows, I held onto too much pride. I didn’t ask for help. I didn’t seek it. I didn’t want it.
Back in high school, I remember my English 10 teacher casually mentioning that she was still paying off her student loans. I remember being absolutely blown away! I remember thinking to myself, “but you are SO old, how could you still possibly be paying off your students loans!?”
I would like to say that this frightened me off from ever taking out student loans. However…
I took out student loans to goto university. After finishing my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees I owed:
Yeah, that’s a lot of money.