Dear Student Loans,
Our relationship has not always been easy. It can feel a little one-sided. Every month, I give and give and give. And what do I get in return? A boatload of anxiety. An avalanche of fear and uncertainty. Lots of ramen noodles.
I get angry sometimes- jealous and bitter, too. Look at all those people with their new cars and their fancy vacations and their debt-free lifestyles. All I have is a Bachelor’s Degree, an entry-level job, and a cubicle smelling of socks and mildew.
It can be hard to love you in these moments. Hell, it can be hard to even tolerate you. You were like that bad boy in high school that everyone told me to stay away from. You were filled with promise and hope and a bright shiny future, and I was young and naive and desperate to start over.
But just like any bad boyfriend, you were an experience I needed to have. Yes, you left me broken and empty and way more jaded than you found me. But I don’t regret you. Not in the slightest.
You gave me the best four years of my life. You gave me more than an education, you gave me a launch pad. It was during these years that I learned about life and the manner in which I’d like to live it.
Without you, I might not have made it. Without the money to attend the college of my choice, I would have been forced to pursue other options. And maybe they were the better choice, maybe they were the path I should’ve chosen to begin with. But they weren’t what I needed.
I needed to get away. I needed to attend a college 300 miles from home where I didn’t know a single soul. I needed that space to grow, to stretch, to discover and learn and make lots of mistakes. And I needed you to bankroll the whole thing.
Without your support, I might not be the me I am today. I might not be the wife, or friend, or daughter, or employee, or student of life, or writer, or avid reader, or lover of sweet tea and oak trees that I am today.
Without you, my path would have looked very, very different.
You are the resource I needed to design the life I wanted to live. You are the tool I used to become the woman I wanted to be. You are the wake-up call that continues to teach me all about responsibility. You are the bad boy who set me free, broke my heart, and changed my life forever.
So thank you. Even when my bank account dwindles by 15% each month. Even if I find myself cursing you well into my forties. Even as I think of all the vacations, cars, houses, and Taco Bell I could’ve purchased.
The life I am living is priceless. And for that, I will always, literally and figuratively, voluntarily and happily, be in your debt.