New York

‘Ding dong, my loans are dead.’ I was DONE. I made a decision. I’d become debt-free by 30.’: 28-year-old woman remarkably pays off $102K in student loans, ‘I finally killed them’

“I cut my budget and lived off of less than a third of my monthly salary. (Turns out, packing lunches and not taking Ubers can save you a ton.) I worked multiple jobs at once, my day job and then side hustles. I walked dogs until my feet literally bled. In the cold. In the rain. In the heat. Nothing was beneath me. I babysat. I cat sat. I stayed up for 24 hours straight.”

‘I BEGGED my mom to get my stepfather out of my bed. He would just ‘fall asleep’ there. How convenient for him. I started thinking my mother knew, and just didn’t care.’

“In third grade, we moved. I thought it was so fancy! Surely nothing bad can happen in the suburbs. I slept over at my friend’s house one night, and was woken by something startling. I froze, I didn’t know what to do. I started to silently cry. ‘Why isn’t my friend waking up? If she wakes up he will stop.'”

‘We’ll operate to decrease her brain damage. Nevermind. BMI is too high.’ I was too fat to save my baby.’: Mom births baby with ‘severe’ Spina Bifida, says she is ‘not disabled, just does things in her own way’

“One morning, a woman came in swiftly wearing a leopard blouse and clicking her heels. She walked right over to me. ‘Sorry for the bad news,’ she said and walked away. What bad news?! I wasn’t informed of any bad news! I broke out into tears as she exited. During the gender reveal, I was hiding this secret while watching my mom cut into our cake. I was giving them a broken baby.”

‘They lost touch. But he remained very dear to my dad, and years later, Dad asked if I could try to find him on the internet. I tried, but had no luck. Part of me was a bit relieved.’

“At the top of his planner was a name I didn’t recognize. I called. ‘Hello sir, my name is Sarah. I’m the daughter of Eugene. He has you here in his phone book but I’m not sure how you know him. Are you from his days in New Jersey?’ At that moment, my memory came back, and I could feel the surge of emotion in me.”

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