Hello. I don’t have an easy, specific category for this topic; it’s just my own situation. I’m putting it out there for anyone who can relate and possibly even has advice, thoughts, ideas etc.
I graduated with an M.A. in sociology in 2005; I received a B.A. in psychology from the same state university in 1999. I took out loans, which I’ve long since consolidated (so now it’s just one, big, “low-interest” loan that has collected gobs and gobs of interest over the past 14+ years, since I unwisely took out unsubsidized loans along with the subsidized). I’ve managed to avoid default, and have had several years of deferments and forebearances; my balance exceeded 100k years ago. I’m on IBR and pay the minimum (when not in deferment, as I am now, or FB).
Paying off this balance in my lifetime is about as likely as President Trump becoming a literal Saint, or the deserts all freezing over at once. There is ust no F’ing way I’m paying it off. Ever. Let’s be real.
Recently I decided to pursue another M…A.; I’ve applied and been accepted for Fall 2020. Had I not taken out so much debt when I did, I probably would’ve done this years ago. I lost my 1st “real” job after graduation, a case-management job in which I got buried in cases and was forced to quit or be terminated 11 months into an 12-month probationary period. It was a crushing blow at the time; I drank heavily and contemplated suicide. I found a decent full-time job a year later, but then the economic crisis hit and I was one of many laid off (early 2009).
Along with the debt, I’ve dealt with the guilt and regret of having taken out so much; by the time I said “no more” to those promissory notes, I knew I had made a mistake. I didn’t go out and buy a fancy car with the money. Actually, the painful truth is that I was mired in an ugly situation with an exploitative, narcissistic “friend” who DID buy a fancy car–and expected me to pay the insurance on it, plus about 2/3 of the bills. I escaped the “friend” right before graduation, but the debt, not so much.
In fact, I actually filed for bankruptcy 10+ years ago, but of course, the vast majority of my debt–student loans–was ineligible for discharge. My hopes skyrocketed briefly when it looked like Bernie or Liz Warren might have a chance at POTUS, but unless they lobotomize Bankruptcy Biden and get him to sign off on the debt cancellation agenda, things don’t look good for me and the others mired in this mountain of debt.
I plan to avoid, or minimize, borrowing for this M.A.–at least, not through more federal loans (just adding to my balance) or private loans like Sallie Mae (I do have a loan out, which I’m paying down, for a professional certificate; this should help me improve my career prospects, which I had more or less given up on). But I have 2 main issues,
1.) practical: how to continue my education with loads of debt; I have considered a concurrent or consecutive M.A. through the same university (it’s a public U, all online but eligible for federal loans–again, not a good option for me!) or even a PhD in 3-4 years if I am accepted somewhere.
2.) psychological: that may be the toughest aspect. I’ve been trying to work through this part, but it’s difficult. After graduating, losing my coveted job just after graduation, and working for 8 years in the “gig economy” (aka Tempworld or Contingent Worker Paradise), and having to remember every friggin day that I screwed myself by taking out too much debt, and now I am stuck with it forever–well, that takes a toll.
I am grateful for the existence of The Debt Collective. I would like to become involved (I haven’t signed up to volunteer yet but will do so soon). I just don’t know if and when there will be a way out for me. I’m in deferment now and will be as long as I’m in school, but the balance will just go up (after COVID-inspired temporary leniency ends), and it will just never end. I suppose what I’m really looking for is Hope. Maybe Hope can exist alongside virtual debt slavery, but it seems elusive.
Thank you to all who took time to read this. I realize my story is far from unusual. It feels all-too-ordinary. Yet I have felt rather alone in dealing with the psychological aspects, especially.