Ah, the American Dream.
Come from nothing, study hard, work hard and you can be anything.
Well for me, working hard meant I could go to any college in my home state of Texas for free.
But I still had that dream part lingering I just couldn't shake. So instead I moved to New York and accepted out-of-state tuition -- at a private university.
But that didn't matter; it was all going to be OK.
Everyone has student loans, right? If you don't, you need to call whomever saved your ass and say thank you -- or high five yourself if you managed to land a full scholarship.
But if you're like me, you're a statistic. In America, two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loan debt.
In school, you're told to be above average, but in the real world of debt collection, you're trying to be anything but.
One in 10 graduates comes out with over $40,000 in debt, while the average lingers at a steady (and still dismal) $30,000.
And those are just estimates. In true American fashion, those numbers are higher for the minority, and even worse, it seems the federal government doesn't actually have a clue what the exact numbers climb to.
There's one institution, however, all loan borrowers can count on for legitimate numbers: Sallie f*cking Mae. Now that we've established we're all in this together, the very least we can do is laugh about it, right?
Here are 37 things all student loan holders know to be true, for better or for worse:
1. Sallie Mae calls you more than your mom...
2. ...But you'd gladly call your mom every day if it meant never hearing from ol' Sallie again.
3. You know "the talk" really refers to the conversation you have every few months with your loan adviser.
4. You have mastered the "feel bad for me" voice, and aren't ashamed to cry on the line.
5. Your "generous" repayment plan takes into account your annual salary...
6. ...But not after taxes.
7. Your monthly repayment amount equals your monthly NYC rent.
8. You tell your adviser this and he or she gingerly reminds you of number five.
9. You try crying again over the phone.
10. You secretly hope you get fired from your job because unemployment equals six months of consequence-free payment deferral.
11. The number one reason you'd consider moving in with your SO would be to save money on a one bedroom for two people.
12. Being in love is, unfortunately, number eight on that list of reasons. Welcome to the real world.
13. You know each time you defer your payments, you're one step closer to pawning off the debt on your future spouse. (Disclaimer: I know how to do our taxes, though!)
14. But then you realize he or she will probably have debt too, which begins a whole new cycle of worry for you.
15. Every time you make a payment, you make unreasonable comparisons: That amount could have bought me 200 whiskey sours!
16. If you get a bonus at work, you're the only one not celebrating because you know where it's going.
17. If you get a raise at work, you keep your new salary a secret from your loan lender for as long as possible.
18. Theoretically, a higher salary should equal higher payments, but once you get a higher salary, the payments assigned to you on your sh*tty one finally become possible.
19. You finally understand why so many people turn to a life of crime. (Selling drugs is untaxed income, people!)
20. And who cares if it's considered breaking the law because the whole world is f*cked anyway.
21. You know the only way to stay sane during all of this is to drink away the money set aside for your loans.
22. You haven't eaten anything that doesn't come in styrofoam pre-packaging since you lived at home.
23. Affording birthday gifts is out of the question, so you start making them instead.
24. You have no problem stealing groceries when you go home to visit your parents. Yes, Mom, that box of Cheez-Its does fit in my carry-on.
25. You've heard Two Buck Chuck is literally made out of bugs and trash, but you drink it anyway because, realistically, it does the job.
26. Despite making payments every month, you never actually touch your loan, only its interest.
27. Forget leaving you a voicemail because Sallie Mae has completely filled up your inbox.
28. You’re 30 and still have three roommates.
29. You consider becoming a stripper at least once a week because, unlike your entry-level job, it pays off.
30. You justify not having a gym membership because of your loans payments.
31. The moment you get an email from your university asking you to donate money is the moment you start cursing out random people on the street.
32. The only tip you shell out is for young kids to avoid college at all costs.
33. You’re not a regular anywhere when you’re making regular payments on your loans.
34. You consistently drink to black out so you can forget you’re in the red.
35. You actually put up with promoters because you can’t afford to do anything that isn’t free (or watered-down).
36. You can’t get a credit card with a limit over $500 dollars (which might actually be a good thing).
37. You go out to dinner with your friends so you can complain outside of your own head for once.