I read an article the other day about how student loan debt is impacting the US economy because college graduates are unable to purchase things, especially big ticket items like cars and houses, due to their debt. And this is because banks and lenders are not willing to issue a mortgage on a house or approve affordable credit on a car loan because they do not want to give those things to people with outstanding debt. The problem is that that debt came from getting an education. It didn’t come from credit cards being misused (for most people anyway I hope). It came from society telling us that college was a non-negotiable so we did it and walked away with more debt than we could ever imagine and a flimsy piece of paper that we can’t use.
Higher education costs have increased to rates so high that our parents and grandparents cannot understand why we are struggling. “It didn’t cost that much when your grandfather went. He worked two jobs and was able to earn his own way on his own,” I was told when I asked where my college fund money had disappeared to. Ok. I worked too and barely made enough to pay rent, books, fees, groceries, and other bills. Tuition wasn’t even an option, so thank goodness I was married and made about $5,000/year and was able to get grants to cover my last 3 years of school (maybe we should all get married just to have college covered since you don’t have to claim your parents income on the FAFSA once you’re married). But what good did it really do me now that I’m not even using my degree and still have about $5,000 left to pay off from the first year?
Before the reality of my debt and the adult world hit me I had some dreams and goals. I wanted to write more movies and TV shows that are female and/or LGBTQ focused. Less white male stuff; they’ve had more than their turn. I wanted to take action in my community, in my country, but I can’t now. I can’t move back home so I have to live in an apartment which is costly. I have to pay my own bills. AND I have to pay off my student debt. So instead of taking a part time job like I’d thought I would to give me extra time to write, I quit and am now working full time in a physically and mentally demanding and exhausting job. I wake up with just enough time to do a quick workout, shower, eat, pack dinner, and leave for my hour and 15 minute commute. I come home, wash my face, brush my teeth, feed Luna, and go to bed. I am unable to take risks financially because of my debt.
There are other factors like living wages, the economic state we are in now, housing costs, etc., but that doesn’t mean my debt is not a factor.
I am hoping that since I have such a small amount of debt (cries internally at the fact that my several thousand is “small”) I can make enough money fast enough to pay it off and actually get back to writing someday. Right now though, I don’t even have the desire to write. I just want to sleep, go to work, get my paycheck, and sleep some more.