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Many of you have followed along on my debt free journey this far. I am hustling my butt of every day to pay off my student loans. I have about $29,000 in student loan debt left to pay and no degree as of right now. 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. That’s a story for another day.
I have paid off about $4,000 in debt since January 1st and I am still going strong along my journey. 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 the reason that I have debt. They are the reason that I am on this debt free journey.
I don’t regret my student loans one bit.
I have student loans because I lived in the dorms during my freshman year. ($10,000)
I believe that every student should live in the dorms 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!
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! 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 an elementary school in a lower income area.
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. 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 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 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 AIT, 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.
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 not using what I have learned for my job. 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, 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.
Do you regret your debt or did it help you become who you are?