Another sleepless night. I was in bed thinking of all things I could write about: societal norms surrounding cancer vs eating disorders, buying a house, when to play the cancer card, getting a job with cancer, and the list goes on. I have settled on something that has bothered me for a while.
Graduate student loans.
Take a look at this…
Yup that is correct, $40,000 in loans for a degree I don’t have. Sounds absurd and unfair. Well really it is, but I have mentally made it okay in my head just to cope with not being able to return to school.
I was asked by my grandparents why I thought it was okay to take so much out in student loans when I knew I couldn’t pay it back. Let’s be clear here. I went to grad school in hopes of gaining valuable skills and a network to land a job that would afford me to pay back my student loans.
I applied for grants and scholarships at the time, but since I am white, middle-class, and from the midwest there wasn’t much out there. I was fine with this because I had a plan and I looked at the money as an opportunity cost.
When cancer came into my life I did not quit grad school immediately for a couple of reasons. First, I had medical insurance through my grad school that was a limited international study abroad plan, which I was advised I had to be enrolled to maintain. Second, I didn’t know if I was to be cured of cancer in a short amount of time, so we devised a plan to work school around my treatments. Third, I love school and I needed it as a diversion from all the madness.
When the reality hit that I had a very long war ahead of me in Minnesota it was feasibly impossible for me to be grad school in Washington, DC. So I had to withdraw from my grad program.
So here I am, post transplant day 120 something with student loans looming. There are no options for deferment. Some people say oh file bankruptcy. Wrong, student loans cannot be forgiven. I would have been better off dropping out of grad school and accumulating the medical debt, which is way more forgiving!
Due to wrongful advising, hasty decision-making during an awful time, and no financial security/jobs I felt my options were limited.
I ask those thinking about taking out student loans if you are absolutely sure this degree is worth the opportunity cost!
All said and done I can’t look back and change much. I can move forward and start paying these suckers off one month at a time with my husband’s money (the pendulum will swing back one day or better yet stop in the middle).
Now how to explain an unfinished degree on a résumé or better yet if/how to explain cancer in a job interview???
Oh man am I even healthy enough for a job?
—thought about it and why the heck not?!
Back to cover letter writing, networking, resumes, and job hunting!! ;)