I am not a licensed therapist. If you are suffering from a major disorder and need treatment please seek the help of a professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider call 1-800-662-HELP (4357). You can download a free printable list of hotlines here.
Take it from someone who has a lot of freaking student loan debt, looking at what you owe can feel totally defeating. It can be stressful when you start thinking about all of that money, especially when you’re living paycheck to paycheck or just getting by. The fact is that beating yourself up about your debt is not going to help your situation any. Let that guilt and bad stuff go, it’s not serving you or helping anyone.
It’s Not Your Fault
There was a time when it was possible to work and pay for your college education. Those days are long gone. Between 2003 and 2013 the cost of tuition grew by over 79%. When the cost of tuition skyrocket it was thought to be OK because college graduates would be able to go into higher paying jobs. However, the cost of tuition was peaking right as we were hit by the recession. When students graduated the high paying jobs they thought they would be walking into didn’t exist. College graduates began taking lower paying jobs and now a college degree is required for almost any decent job. Yeah, there are some scholarships but there aren’t enough for everyone. The fact is going to college is expensive. That’s how our education system is setup and it’s not your fault.
You’re Not Alone
It is estimated that the total student loan debt in the United States is over a TRILLION dollars. Yes trillion, with a T. Over 44 million people have student loan debt in the United States. It is estimated that student loan debt grows 2,698.00 per second. You can actually watch it grow here. I am telling you these numbers so you know YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are many, many people in the same situation as you.
Look Into Repayment Plans
If you work in public service (a nonprofit, a public school or a job at the city or county) you can sign up for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness plan. This plan will let your student loan debt be forgiven after ten years of payments. You can also look into Income Based Repayment Plans. When I had very little income from working at a nonprofit my payment each money was $0. Do some research about different payment plan options and see if you can find something that will work better for you.
Focus on the Positive
It’s easy to feel like your student loan debt is the end of the world but it’s not. There are tons of us out here with student loan debt and we are OK. The media can really make student loans seem like they will ruin your life but remember that the media sensationalizes everything and only shows you the most extreme cases. Getting an education is an opportunity many people will never have and your degree can never be taken away from you. You are going to have a lot more opportunities available to you because you have a college education. Having a college degree is something you should take pride in, don’t let student loan debt take that away from you.
Hit the Self Care
Walk, run, dance or do whatever it is you do to relax. Beating yourself up or stressing out over your situations isn’t going to change a damn thing. You deserve to feel good and be happy. Even if you have a trillion dollars in student loans think about something you can do to feel happy right now and do it. Recall a happy moment from your life or listen to Aziz Ansari’s stand-up comedy on Spotify and have a laugh. Do whatever you can think of to feel happy just for one moment and then repeat. This is your one life, don’t waste it being upset about something that you can’t change.
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