I signed the mother of all e-signatures today.
My loans. I officially signed for my loans.
Which means that I am officially in deep, deep debt.
Sure, I had some debt from undergrad. But I feel that an 18-year-old entering college (or 16-year-old, as I was) is incapable of truly conceiving what debt is, or how much debt they are entering today. I was fortunate to have two years of scholarships plus parents who were willing to pay for living expenses. I was also fortunate enough that I could manage a part-time job with the other demands of being premed, even with a chronic medical condition causing chronic pain. My undergrad debt doesn’t touch the kind of debt medical students get into. It doesn’t even come close.
I have to remember to be grateful, of course, and not just complain. It is not every person who is secure enough in their life and their future that they feel comfortable taking out gigantic loans for school. The ability to conceive paying back those loans, or going tens-to-hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and knowing that you will still have a decent quality of life, is a privilege. I and other medical students must never forget the privileges that ended them there.
A yet, I am no longer 18. I can conceive of the debt I am getting myself into. And, while I am immensely grateful for the scholarships and financial aid I received to make this dream possible, it still feels like a staggering amount. I am officially in debt. And in a few weeks, I’ll begin to multi-year process to become qualified to pay it back.