Looking in the Student Debt Mirror: The Dread that is Paying My Student Loans

nerdgirls640-1

Having college debt was not my ideal happy ending to my pursuit of higher education. Yes, I’m a statistic. I am like the average graduate that leaves college with student debt. However, I don’t regret it because it was the only way I could make it happen. As a first generation student, my parents left the college application navigation process and financing all up to me.

First step of paying back student loans: don’t panic.

Back in my day, I took the lead on talking to high school counselors, applying to college, getting some scholarships, and taking a significant amount of debt at the ripe age of 18. Upon graduation, I was left to figure out how I was going to pay for my debt. Fast-forward almost 3 years out of college and I’m still trying to figure out the best way to deal with the load like everybody else.  So how do first generation college grads and all college grads for that matter, like myself deal? How do we sit down and look in the student debt mirror after getting a good college education? I’m already paying so how do I make it so that I can pay it down faster? How can I manage a better plan so that I can one day purchase a home?? How do I not end up going in endless circles like this?

I like visuals, so I used Student Loan Hero to get all my loans in one place. The site helps you get organized by pulling your loans from the National Student Loan Data System for Students. It listed out the interest rates of each loan I had plus the amount that I owed for each.

I haven’t consolidated my loans so I’m still thinking about whether I want to do that. I used NerdScholar’s student loan debt calculator to estimate how much per month I would have to pay to finish ahead of schedule. My plan is to pay more for the loans that have higher interest rates. I ended up calculating that I should be paying about $350-400 if I want to pay a bit more than is due.

What it really feels like when I have to pay student loans:

But I digress! Stay positive. I’m trying to psychologically think differently about my student loans as well. A good way is to pretend like you’re paying for a fancy car. Say you took a car loan of $25,000 at an interest rate of 8.4%. You would be paying an average of a little over $300 per month and pay a total extra interest of $12,035 over the life of the loan. Ouch! So what should you do? Pay a little more if that’s feasible for your budget. Pay 500 dollars a month instead of just $300 to save you on that interest rate.

 This is what my face looked like when I finished:

Knowing how much I owe and how much I would have to pay in interest was the first step to creating a conscious plan to paying down my student loan debt. So although it sucks, I’m ready to tackle this more efficiently. Get yourself organized, create a plan, and pay a little more than the minimum whenever you can! If you like not feeling so alone in your quest to get rid of debt, join the Debt Movement.They have a wonderful support group and suite of resources that

 

Don’t let paying back for student loans make you feel like this: