It’s shocking how much money, or specifically, more of it, changes your perspective. And apparently, it needn’t be a great deal of money. In my instance, all that was needed was $26,000.00…
Back in January 2020, prior to the worldwide onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was invited to serve as an evening coordinator for a specialized academic camp. At the time, I was in -$127,688.14 of student loan debt, making less than $50,000.00 per year, and thrilled for the opportunity to make more money. I distinctly remember where I was when I received the offer and then going home and crunching the numbers to see how much I would have after taxes and would be able to put towards my student loans. I was so excited. Fast forward to June of 2022, and I’ve paid off an additional $57,890.55, excluding interest of course, and now have less than $70,000.00 in student loan debt remaining. When the camp position is offered to me this time, I am a bit less thrilled.
In addition to the salary increase that accompanied my new role with Organization C, I am still working in a part-time capacity for University B and receiving half my previous income. My current financial position feels so much different than it did a little more than two years ago and I feel significantly less…desperate? I think absent that desperation, I am able to look at the compensation for this camp role (which is $1,000.00 less than they were offering in 2020 because of decreased attendance) and say that I am not being compensated appropriately for the amount of work that is required. While I hired an awesome staff of college students and recent graduates, I spend a great deal of my time shielding them from extra work to ensure that what they are being tasked with is commensurate with the compensation they are receiving. We are one week into camp and I am exhausted. However, the camp has run rather smoothly and I have no doubt I will be offered the role again next year. I also have no doubt that my answer will be a resounding, “Thank you, but no thank you.”
I am not saying that I won’t be a bit giddy at the end of camp when I am able to put a couple of thousand dollars more toward my student loans and rebuild my sinking fund. The moment that I make those transfers will be a proud moment and my time at the camp will likely seem worth it when I include what it allowed me to accomplish. However, at the moment, I am in the thick of it, and just tired.
Note: I’m sorry this post is a bit depressing. I almost thought about not posting at all but the road of debt repayment is more than just big payoffs and milestones, and I want to be honest about what my experience has been and what I’ve needed to do along the way.