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Friday, May 11, 2012

Introducing me and all of my financial trouble

Hi! Welcome to my blog! I look forward to updating you about my experiences as I begin my career as a medical student at Case Western Reserve University. I am so excited to be heading into the field of medicine and I want to share all of the key moments in my path towards becoming a doctor. Writing this blog will be my way of keeping friends updated and helping aspiring medical students figure out their own path towards their MD degree.

The first thing you need to know about the path towards becoming a doctor is the financial hole you're about to jump into. On average, medical students graduate with $141,132 in debt. That is A LOT of money...and we're only talking about averages. Half of students have debts worth more than the mortgage on a small house. With the high interest rates (6.8% for Federal Stafford loans and 7.9% for Grad PLUS loans), medical students are looking at years of indebtedness. My current medical school costs are going to put me at more than DOUBLE the national average (I'm not even counting the interest rate here!) when I graduate.

These large figures can be very daunting when you first look at them. I was terrified, but I am a clear headed physician-to-be!! So I made a list of possible ways to finance my education:

1.) Write a letter to Mitt Romney/President Obama and ask for money in return for my political support.
2.) Pay the school in Confederate dollars.
3.) Rob a bank, because hey, even George Clooney did it.

I'm just going to disarm you with my good looks and then help myself to some spending money.

But when the shock was replaced by panic, I turned to Google - the one who has an answer to everything. There is a wealth of resources online and in every financial aid office. One of the best tools that I found online was the AAMC financial aid calculator that is a part of their whole website of information and tools (FIRST). For those of us who are not mathematically or financially inclined, the calculator lets you plug in numbers and does all of the calculations for you. It even tells you the amount of money the government is likely to forgive if you follow through on different forgiveness plans (Ex: Public Service Loan Forgiveness - a topic I will cover in another post). The website also provides a lot of guidance for figuring out how much you should take in loans and how to pay it all back when you graduate.

My financial aid counselor was also really welcoming and ready to help. I scheduled an appointment with her on the phone and she answered all one thousand of my questions. A lot of times, you can find the answer you need online, but for the questions that are specific only to you, there is no better resource than a financial aid officer. They deal with this kind of information day in and day out, so they are armed to the teeth with relevant information. Even better, they are particularly knowledgeable about your specific school. Woohoo!

So while I am still very intimidated by the idea of a six-figure loan, I am at least aware of my options. Despite all of this debt, I am very certain that a career in medicine and my education is exactly what I want. I can't wait to start school!

P.S. If any rich millionaires or billionaires are reading this blog, please feel free to contribute to my education fund. I might be the doctor to save your life one day!


  1. Love you! I look forward to reading each and every one of your posts! :)

  2. tell us about your roommates tooo :)

    1. They will be heavily featured in the future, as soon as I get to school!