Thursday, July 5, 2001

Paying Off My College Loan

I received confirmation today from the lending bank that they have received my final student loan payment. My student loan towards Rensselaer is now "paid in full". I called the bank and inquired about the final payoff amount (almost $700), and wrote them a check in the middle of June.

The loan to pay off my college education was $16,000, but thanks to simple interest (8%), I owed a total of $23,000. I started paying off this loan in August of 1991. I knew from the notes that it would take ten years. And here I am, ten years later: absolved of this almost-$200 monthly obligation.

I can recall times I let the monthly payment 'slip' a few weeks, but I never failed to pay the full monthly amount every month. I like to think that Jenn and I were able to get a mortgage because of my dutiful payment of this loan through the years.

Was college worth all this though? Yes. Absolutely. It's true I don't need to use physics, chemistry, or advanced calculus, but I am always learning using the methods I picked up at school. My perspective and sensibilities about technology and science were gained at Rensselaer.

I first logged into UNIX at RPI, and I still refer to my school-aged battered copy of The UNIX Programming Environment. I wrote hard software there (a C-like interpreter, a shell). I attended a co-op at JPL, where I discovered what I could contribute as a computer professional.

But even beyond all the 'school' stuff were the people, and experiences: learning to ice skate at the Houston Field House; being a college radio dee-jay; going to midnight movies; road trips; absurd drinking games; bonding over ice hockey, pizza, dinners, and late-night studying. Many of good friends are from RPI, class of 1990.

College was where I tried growing up. College was where I gained some perspective. College was my launching pad.

My student loan, pricey as it was, pales in comparison to the actual value of my collegiate experiences.

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