If I didn’t have my student loans, I wouldn’t think I was home free. That I was suddenly rich. That I had a break. If I didn’t have my student loans the first thing I’d do is take the money that used to go into monthly payments and put it toward our US immigration. If I didn’t have student loans I may have the extra money this year to pay for drivers education for my Italian license. If I didn’t have my student loans I wouldn’t be missing out on money I deserve from my taxes, but I don’t have access to because my husband isn’t a US Citizen. If I didn’t have my student loans, I would be able to spend more time with my husband. I would spend more money on airplane tickets home to see my family. I would go on more weekend getaways, up into the mountains to reset our minds like I used to in New Hampshire, like I used to in Maine, when my parents could bring us up into the woods and let us breathe because they weren’t worried about paying their student loans. If I didn’t have student loans, I would have been able to invest in more projects, I’d be able to have an apartment with a spare room for visitors so they didn’t have to rent a room themselves. If I didn’t have student loans, I would be able to think about starting a family sooner without worry. Payments don’t care what the average income is in the country that you moved to.
If I didn’t have my student loans, I wouldn’t think that I had “won.” That I had “cheated the system.” I would believe that the country that I grew up in finally realized that asking seventeen-year-olds to sign their life into debt for four years of studying is foolish, that the social structure around this chapter in a US teenager creates only one “right” direction – and that’s through four years of a “real” college. I wouldn’t think that I deserved it. I would just hope that we could all start over. Right a wrong, throw a life ring out to those of us drowning in a sea spilled from a cup.
If I didn’t have student loans, I would run down to the Rinascente and load myself up on Armani. If I didn’t have student loans, I would be able to spend money instead of saving every last penny. I’d spend it on adventures and friends and family and I’d make sure it all counted, and I promise you that if something like that happened, if the loans just “went away” like the debt did for the bank that currently holds my money, I’d show you that my generation would thrive without these ridiculous chains, and we’d make the world better, and we’d put our money into good, and we wouldn’t worry as much anymore, and we would be so thankful.