Yes, I will pay back my student loans…someday. In the meantime, I paint!

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In process kewpie sitting in vintage cabinet
In process oil on canvas

Someone recently told me that “Students who take out excessive loans, enjoy their college years, and don’t work during that time earn less sympathy.” As if college is just a big carefree party for free loaders!

Everyone deserves an education! For years I didn’t go to college because I didn’t think I could afford it, always struggling in low paying jobs kept me distracted and thinking I couldn’t go to school at the same time.

For 10 years I drove past our college and saw the warm lights shining out of the tall windows of the library and just knew in my gut that I wanted to be there! Finally when my boys got a bit older I felt like I had the time and energy to tackle college. My desire to grow and learn outweighed my fear and idea that I was not worthy of education. I walked in and found out I could get a degree in only four years and that there were grants and loans available for me to do that! I registered and started classes that evening! I felt like I was “home.”

I learned things I would never have learned if I let myself stay stuck in one dead-end job after another. My self knowledge and confidence grew. I found a way to do the things I’ve always wanted to do! I met amazing people – students and professors – who are still in my life today.

When my fiancé died from suicide ten years ago and I was unable to function in a 9 to 5 (nearly paralyzed by PTSD, depression, and anxiety) it was school that kept me going. I found out I could increase the amount I was borrowing in order to pay my bills while I finished up that last year of school. And that’s what I did. Meanwhile, government grants were eliminated and tuition rates rose every year.

Then after graduation, knowing full well all along that I would be paying my loans back and fulfilling my obligation, I got the first bill. My monthly payment was over $650! Who can afford that! Even if I had landed a job utilizing one of my degrees immediately after graduation, wouldn’t be able to afford a monthly payment that high. When I applied for income based repayment it went down to like $39 a month.

I know lots of other people in this same situation. For most, college is not a four year party, a free ride, or enjoyable most of the time; it’s very hard work and a major accomplishment. However, I don’t expect sympathy from people who have never gone to college, or invested in their education, or even try to understand the people who do.

Troll at the salon. Oil on canvas.
The Sandbox. Oil on canvas

#educationextortion #studentdebt #everyonedeserveseducation #educationisnotaprivilege #shamedforwantingmore