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Student loans are such a dumb and tricky debt when it comes to a debt snowball. I started this journey with about $29,000 in student loan debt left to pay.
Most people would say that $29,000 isn’t too bad for a Bachelor’s. But I don’t have my degree. All of my general education credits are complete. I just need to decide what degree to pursue and commit to it. The main problem with that is that I have zero idea what I want to pursue as a degree. When I go back, I have about a year left on my degree. If you have missed my story, check it out on my about me page.
I have paid off over $15,000 in debt in one year, and plan to finish October 2018. If you want to check out my current progress, check out my Debt Free Journey Reports. The Dave Ramsey book changed my life and outlook on money. I refuse to get into anymore debt, because of The Total Money Makeover.
A lot of people have asked me if I regret taking out student loans or if I wish I would have done it differently. My student loans are almost 100% of the reason that I have debt. They are the reason that I am on this debt free journey.
I have student loans because I lived in the dorms during my freshman year. ($10,000)
I believe that every student should live on campus for at least one semester. I met one of my favorite people from living in the dorms. My roommate was amazing and she was so much fun! Alie and I have so many memories from living together because she was my first “random” roommate outside of the military. She taught me to understand that everyone is different. She also taught me that we both lied on our roommate preferences sheet and still got paired together.
Living in the dorms during my freshman year was practical, convenient, and insanely helpful to my freshman education. After moving out of the dorms, it was easier to skip class and not participate in on campus activities. I was insanely involved during my freshman year. Campus involvement is directly related to graduating in four years. There were very few classes that I didn’t attend when I did live in the dorms, even when it was at 8:30 in the morning! But the farther away from campus I got, the harder it was to go to class.
I don’t regret my student loans because I studied abroad ($8,000)
I spent 3 weeks in South Africa studying the history and culture. Studying abroad is something that every student should take the opportunity to do if they can! I went on an African Safari where I enjoyed a glass of wine at sunset in the middle of a game reserve. We were up at sunrise to see more animals. I walked along the board walk. Saw the prison where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for his protests. We visited and volunteered with an elementary school in a lower income area. The 3 weeks were absolutely packed every single day with adventures and learning that you can’t get from a classroom.
I was insanely blessed with the experience that I got to have while in the country. It was an experience that I will never forget or regret. We spent some time eating the finest seafood near the water and we spent time in a very poverty stricken area eating porridge. I saw the good and the bad of the country and spoiled myself along the way.
I came back with a very different view of the United States. South Africa’s segregation was still legally happening until the early 90’s. While there is still racism in the U.S. now, the blacks in South Africa were forced to carry “passports” to travel from one zone to the other. They were only allowed in a zone if they had a reason to be there. While I know that the U.S. segregation was bad, I was blessed to be born decades after the Civil Rights Movement. I am blessed to have been born into a family that could provide for me as well. Traveling to South Africa opened my eyes to my privilege and blessings.
I have student loans because I started college 4 days after graduating my military tech school. ($5,000)
I was 17 when I joined the military. My enlistment was primarily based on money for college, but has lead to an array of great travel, learning and job opportunities. The army has paid for a good portion of my actual schooling, but because I jumped straight into college when I returned home from my initial military training, I didn’t have the time to get the paperwork properly filled out.
I don’t regret this, because it put me in the lives of people that I never would have gotten close with my freshman year if I would have waited a semester. I wouldn’t have the stories to tell or the experiences that I have now. Honestly, after taking time off, I struggle to want to go back to school. I can’t imagine if I would have postponed starting. I would have never met my college roommate if I would have waited a semester because she moved back to Texas during Christmas break. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have the roommate that I have now because I wouldn’t have become such good friends with the person who connected us together. Everything happens for a reason.
Add in a few years of interest, you end up with about $29,000 in loans.
I don’t regret the beginning of my education at all, even if I am currently sitting with half a finished degree. My experiences showed me how blessed I am in life. College taught me to work hard and play harder. It taught me that I don’t want to work for someone else forever, because I like my freedom above all else.
College took me out of the lives of some people and introduced me to a wide array of new people that I wouldn’t have met without it.
So no, I don’t regret taking out student loans to gain the experiences that I now have. My determination to be debt free comes from my experiences. I wouldn’t be working towards my freedom that I want to have someday.
If anything, I wish I would have been more diligent with scholarships and putting a little bit of my own paychecks towards them. When I go back to finish my degree, I will be paying for it out of pocket or with scholarships/military assistance, but my student loans have given me experiences above my expectation.
Without my student loans, I would have nothing to write about because I wouldn’t have any debt to talk about. My loans are the root cause of my debt free journey. I would have missed on the money learning experience that I am currently gaining. Without my student loans, I would have missed this entire journey worth of experiences.
However, I am thankful that I did refinance my biggest student loans about halfway through my journey! It has been a huge help on my journey!
Do you regret your debt or did it help you become who you are?