My parents were refugees from Vietnam and arrived in the United States in 1986. They are the hardest working people I know and are driven daily to see us not just live, but thrive. For this, I am forever indebted to them and their sacrifice to provide us the opportunity for the best education.
When I chose to go to Virginia Tech, I knew it would be a lesson in independence. I had to take out loans and worked to stretch every dollar. One night, when I was 20 and not far from graduation, I wrote an email to my boyfriend about hopes and dreams for the future. One of those goals was to pay off my student loans by the age of 25. Graduating in May of 2012, I had student loan debt totaling roughly $29,000, a car loan and transition loan from Teach For America (with everything totaling about $44,000).
I lived with roommates in affordable places, cooked more than I ate out, and increasingly chose to spend money on experiences rather than material things. Over three years later, $38,000 of my debt is gone and my student loans are paid in full. My retirement and savings accounts are small, but growing. I've donated to charities when possible. I am thankful to wake up every day safe and warm.
My story is not remarkable; on the other hand, I find that my monetary situation is quite average as most college graduates face the same level of debt. I face the same weaknesses that you might. However, every day is a new day for us to learn. You owe it to yourself to pay yourself in full.
Our only obstacle is how much we think we are worth.