Warning you now, this post is going to be a bit heavy; I just really need to get everything out of my head and on to something.
I’ve struggled with anxiety for the past few years now. It started I think when I started applying to PT school and began to realize how big of a jump I was making. I’ve never been “diagnosed” with anxiety or panic attacks, but I know enough about the medical world to know that when I get nauseous, dizzy, light-headed and nearly faint just by stressing about something – that’s just not right.
Enter this morning’s panic attack. I’m casually laying in T’s bed catching up on the social world and checking emails when I come across one labeled Federal Loans. Oh, yeah… just your normal reminder of how much I currently owe them. I’ll just say it’s nearing six digits. My mind immediately started racing, I got nauseous, I was dizzy, and I started to cry. Thankfully, T was already up at the school for team meetings/film so I just grabbed my stuff and left. (I actually left my contacts there – that’s how much of a hurry I was in to get out.)
On the drive home, I held back more tears and just let my mind wander. And it really just got me thinking – WHY did I make the decision to come to PT school? WHY? So I’m going to talk about now why I did – hoping it will help me sort out my anxiety.
WHY? There wasn’t much I could do with my undergraduate degree that wouldn’t require additional schooling. PT was always something that interested me. Yes, I knew how much it was going to cost me; but you don’t really think about it until you actually see that number on something with your name across the top.
WHY? PT is something that I could see myself doing for the rest of my life and thoroughly enjoying.
WHY? I will be a doctor of physical therapy. I will be considered the most knowledgeable of health care practitioners of all musculoskeletal disorders and impairments. I will be able to heal people utilizing the knowledge and experience that I acquire while here. (Yes, that adds more anxiety but that’s a whole other story..)
WHY? I knew that I could save money by living at home – which I am so, so, so thankful for my parents allowing me to stay here rent free – so that eased my mind a bit. But I still have loans from my undergrad that I have sitting there building up interest. Sometimes I feel bitter at the fact that my parents had more money when my sister was in college and they helped her out a lot more. That makes me feel like sh*t that I would even say that because I am so incredibly thankful for everything that my parents have done for me; but it’s something that just makes you think. I paid for my own school, food, and rent in undergrad. It always bothered me when my roommates were calling their parents asking for money to be put in their bank account. Then they would get mad when I didn’t want to go out because I didn’t have money. Which then leads to the “Oh, I’ll pay for you” conversation that would just make me feel guilty and I would always want to pay them back.
I was working as a PT tech the year between undergrad and graduate school. I would have mini panic attacks about the loans and I would talk to the physical therapists about it. They would tell me over and over not to worry about it. That I was bettering myself by achieving this. That no body looks down on student loan debt because they recognize that it is becoming the norm. I still have that in the back of my mind, but it still doesn’t stop the fact that I will be into six digits of student debt by the time I’m done with school. That honestly scares the shit out of me. Pardon the language.
My main goal upon graduation is to find something with loan forgiveness. I would honestly be willing to work somewhere I hate for a few years if it meant that they would be paying off a majority of my loans. Being the type of person I am, I just spent an hour researching different loan forgiveness programs available. A lot require you to commit to a specific location for a certain amount of time. Which brings me to more reasons for anxiety – the future. T is like any typical guy, you bring up the future and he changes the subject. And I’m not the type of person to base my life around someone else but if my future is with T, then his career is something that I need to keep in mind too for when I accept a job. (Especially focusing on where we will live…)
This semester is going to be tough enough, and I can’t add additional stress in to my life by worrying about the loans. I feel a little better after letting some things out, but the anxiety follows me around like a sick puppy. I guess all I can do now is keep swimming.