Hey peeps! I’m excited to feature my friend Melanie from the blog Dear Debt and her experience with crippling student loan debt and how she overcame it. She also has a book out which I’m devouring right now. Go ahead and check it out!
I got into $81,000 in student loan debt. I borrowed $23,000 for my undergraduate degree and $58,000 for my graduate degree from NYU. With interest, I probably paid closer to $100,000. I went to California State University Long Beach for my undergrad, which was fairly affordable, but NYU was my “dream school” — a very expensive, private school.
For so long, I believed what everyone told me: that student loans were the “good debt.” I thought education was worth it at any price. I was shocked that I got into NYU and had always wanted to live in New York, so it was really easy for me to justify taking on those student loans to make that dream happen.
At the time, I was confident about my life after graduation and thought I’d be able to pay back my loans easily. Unfortunately, that wasn’t really the case.
I had a moment of debt denial shortly after graduation [Note: In case you didn’t know, debt denial is when you don’t acknowledge your debt and pretend it’s not there. Melanie’s story of debt denial is unfortunately too normal for many of us, and if you read her book and are in debt, you may see yourself in her shoes.].
I signed up for Mint.com and synced all my student loans, income and expenses. I was shocked to find out that after five years of making minimum payments, I still had $68,000 left. Seeing that number in black and white made me nauseous.