Spirituality and Student Loans

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    Dear Tiny Buddha members. I have been struggling with balancing a spiritual practice and feeling regret over decisions of what to study in college and anger at living in a society which makes entry into a career so difficult. Like many other college students, I graduated without the ability to get into a career. However, I am now pursuing a masters degree in a medical field that does have high employability. As I posted before, I am actually very thrilled about the ability to pursue this career (Occupational Therapy) but the most difficult part of my studies is not the work but the constant internal dialogue I torment myself about regret and anger. I am finding it difficult to concentrate on larger themes in my life such as the purpose of my work or the daily blessings I have every day when the bill comes in for the loans at the end of the month for a degree I feel I did not understand its worth in todays society and whose cost was not described to me when I started pursuing my studies at 18. I also am burdened by thoughts of “When do I start my life?” though I know that life does not start when the paycheck does, I am tormented by feelings that it does and about the uncertainty of paying for my loans without one.

    The truth of the matter is, I am tired of thinking this way. This is not the Hyo that I knew before who was excited and optimistic and who felt driven to explore with trust in the world and above all herself. I feel as if I have lost trust in myself because I got swept up in the breaking down of the college system and it seriously distracting me not just from pursuing my new degree but from enjoying day to day living.


    I feel the reality of the American Dream has long since changed on all levels from our economic crisis down to the family breaking down.

    I don’t know if you have looked around your life now and how it has changed since you were 18 – but I have and always amazed at how sheltered and lack of life experiences I had – and managed to stay alive.

    I am old and have been looking for work since the eco collapse, the demise of my business and my marriage in 2008. My family hates me and I was just informed that the first REAL job (interview) I have had since 08 is now moved to PT basis. It is 3 hours from me by car and I was terrified but HAD to interview and start over…it was advertised as a FT position. The super called me the day before I was set to leave to interview to inform me of this. So now – nothing but more apps.

    I live w my elderly parents in the basement and it is not where I thought I would be in life. My mom is an alcoholic and my dad is always enabling her.

    All I know is that money is a necessary evil and life goes on with or without bills.

    Like you, I have lost those excited hopes…sad about our country…and debt.

    I have learned to live minute to minute appreciating what I can for as long as I can. Living – in the moment.

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 1 month ago by gen.

    Hyo, I feel like I could have written your original post myself. I too am feeling rather angry at the whole system that only seems to set us up for failure. I have a degree that I’m not even using and working two jobs I don’t enjoy just to pay the bills (and student loans). I am frustrated and quite stagnant at this point.

    gen, thank you for your response and I look forward to other responses on this post as well.


    I hear ya, Hyo.

    I knew going into my chosen field (Social Work) that the money would be low and demands on me would be great.

    Luckily there is the Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness program. Whether or not there will be money available in the fund when it comes time for my loans to be forgiven is another story but I try to remain hopeful and not think about it.

    Some employers, if you’re lucky, will pay off a percentage of your student loans in exchange for a commitment to work for them for x amount of years. I know this applies to licensed mental health professionals (LCSWS, Psy Ds, LCPCs, etc.). I am not sure how it may or may not work for an Occupational Therapist.

    I want to travel but find that my current salary and a looming hospital bill are preventing me. I know in time I will travel to my heart’s content….or at least that’s what I tell myself. =)

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