Thursday, June 28, 2007


Being dependent on Federal Direct Loans makes life feel all the more restricted during medical school. For the first two years of medical school (I just recieved my award letter for second-year), I have accumulated nearly $80,000 of debt. Combined with the balance of the loans used to pay for my undergraduate education, that figure jumps to well over $90,000. Just looking at the numbers makes my stomach ache a bit. I understood that medical training was expensive and that the average medical student graduates with about $130,000 of educational debt, but living that reality moves the awareness of medical student indebtedness from the brain to the stomach and, yes, even to the back of the throat.

The loans forced me to cut back on many social activities during my first year of medical school. These activities included movies, happy hours and, the hardest to curb, dining out. I had worked for several years prior to attending medical school, so these lifestyle adjustments felt isolating. I quickly learned to take advantage of all of the free activities that D.C. has to offer, especially the museums and parks. There are some truly beautiful spaces throughout the city.

Although I have to keep spending to a minimum during medical school, that does not mean I have to isolate myself. As I mentioned above, D.C., being the nation's capital, has many free activities. And when I feel a strong urge to go out to dinner or a bar or a movie, I do. At the end of the day, what is most important is staying connected with family and my closest friends. Yes, during my copious free-time.

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