Seems like it was just a few days ago that I was writing about how my total student loan debt dropped from $49 thousand to $46 thousand. Oh wait, that was the other day! And now I’m back to report that my student loan has taken another tumble. Sure, this drop isn’t as dramatic as the $3 thousand drop last time around, but I’m still just as glad to let everyone know that my student loan is down another thousand bucks to $45 thousand left outstanding.
Which is pretty outstanding in and of itself. 🙂While I don’t have much more to report this time around, I do think it is worth noting that my student loan repayment experience proves that if you put your mind to achieving a goal, you can pretty much accomplish that goal. In fact, I’ve always been a big believer in letting your brain figure out the best path forward. From what I’ve read and from what I’ve witnessed, I really think that our brains are the most powerful piece of technology on the planet. And what’s really great about these lumps of mush in our heads is that they do a lot of their work without us being cognizant of the work being done because we’re asleep when it figures out solutions to these problems. Perfect!
But I’m no scientist or doctor of anatomy and physiology. I’m just a guy who has faith in his instincts and isn’t afraid to let the power of his mind find solutions to tough, complex life problems. You know, I look at the blurb that I include at the bottom of these student loan repayment entries and I’m constantly reminded that when I graduated from Rutgers University with the Master of the Arts Degree, I was only 25 years old and saddled with $121 thousand in debt. That is a truly mind-boggling number when there is no tangible asset to show for the debt other than a few pieces of paper. Due to my work in advising and mentoring undergraduates for my fraternity, I know a lot of young guys who are starting out their lives between the ages of 22 to 26. And when I think about those guys potentially being stuck with a $121 thousand student loan debt, I shudder a little bit.
And yet, my faith in the power of our minds to fix these problems remains unshaken. I think too many people stifle their brain power by doing a variety of unhealthy things from eating the wrong foods to not working out (and thus not giving the body the type of workout that it needs to stimulate the brain) to using mind-altering substances. Of course, there are other folks out there who just stick to demagoguery or personal beliefs or the desire to always be the victim (and thus always need to be on the government dole). Those folks divert the power of their minds by opting to do what is easy over what is hard.
The point is that I think a lot of personal, national, and global problems could be solved if we just allowed the tools that we were given (our minds) to work as they were intended to work. On a personal level, I’ve managed – over time – to figure out a frugal budget that works very well for me both in my personal life and in terms of repaying my student loan debt. Also on a personal level, I think I’ve gotten to a point where I’ve figured out a good workout schedule that intertwines with my crazy, hectic work schedule.
Solutions to our problems are out there and our minds know it. Sometimes you just have to be open to making some sacrifices to see the way out of the weeds.
In May 2006, I graduated from Rutgers University with a Masters Degree and $120,720 in student loan debt. After completely repaying over $61 thousand in student loans (not counting interest) from the federal Perkins loan program, the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, and CitiBank, I currently owe $45 thousand to the United States Department of Education’s Direct Loans program. Follow my student loan repayment story on JerseySmarts.com.
Joe – I read this on BoingBoing.net today and thought of your determined drive to pay down your student loans.
“Saving is easier when you have a single goal in mind”
Hey Mike – thanks for the comment. The post you linked to on BoingBoing.net and the PDF that the entry was derived from pretty much sum up my approach to repaying my debt. I stayed focused and worked like a madman to raise enough money to repay that NJHESAA loan and, thankfully, I was able to do so last year. Now I’m focused on this USED loan and I’ve got to get this loan repaid sooner rather than later. My goal is still to have it repaid in another year and a half, but that assumes that I’m able to continue sending excessively high payments as my budget allows.
I’m going to write a post in the next few days/weeks which talks about what financial life may be like after the USED loan is repaid. Thanks again for the comment!