Four years ago I took out my first set of student loans. It was terrifying. I had never borrowed money before, and suddenly I was consuming it faster than a bag of SkinnyPop Popcorn.
Or rather, my school was consuming the money. Where did it all go? What did the school need all that extra dough for? I’ll never know.
The first couple of times I borrowed money for school were akin to pinching my nose and rapidly swallowing poison. As the semesters wore on it somehow became easier. The money didn’t feel as real as before. Sign this document to take out another $58,000? No sweat. Tuition has to be paid. Besides, at that point you are so far in the hole that the only real option is to plunge deeper and deeper into debt.
Before I continue, I want to state that I don’t regret my choice. My dream was to become a doctor, and I am beyond thrilled that I am going to become an ophthalmologist. If I could go back in time I would do it again. I knew the cost going into this, and I stand by my decision. I also recognize that my school has given me amazing opportunities and a great education.
But the thrill of my approaching graduation in May is darkened by my looming mountain of debt. $250,530 of it to be exact. And I got off lucky. Mrs. DA worked for 3 years throughout my medical school training, and because of her work we only had to borrow money for living expenses once. If I had taken out the full cost of attendance, I would be closer to $350,000.
Now that I’m done being dramatic, let’s break down the numbers.
My total debt load is $250,530. $23,373 of that is interest. In total, I borrowed $227,157. The highest interest rate on my loans is 7.21%, and the lowest interest rate is 5.31%. If you could invest money with a guaranteed rate of 5.31% you’d be stupid not to take it! I will definitely be looking into loan refinancing options.
As a resident, I hope to be able to make payments on my loans, at the very least to keep my interest from accumulating. I realize this may not be possible if there are mini Mr. and Mrs. DebtAnatomies in the near future.
So there you have it. Four years ago I started digging a debt hole. I am now $250,000 deep. While the tone of this post is a little negative, I want to emphasize that my life is very blessed. I have an amazing wife who has supported me in many ways, including financially. I have parents, siblings, in-laws, and friends, who have been exceedingly generous with their money, friendship, and love. I am about to graduate medical school and I have been accepted into my dream ophtho program. While debt certainly stinks, I made a calculated risk, and thus far it is paying off.
If you find yourself in student debt, whether it be $10,000 or $500,000, take heart. Make a plan, and start working. I can’t wait until my debt load equals zero!
Comment below and let us know how much debt you’re in and how you feel about it.