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<<Hindsight is 20-20! In medical school there was simply put NO WAY to earn extra money - for the first two years, I was in class daily from 8am to 4pm and spent the bulk of my evening studying. For the second two years, I was on clinical rotations in the hospital, on call overnight every 4th night - or else I was off-campus doing electives in hospitals far away which required expenditures for living accomodations. Then there were interviewing expenses of 4th year which required me to fly around the country, sometimes at short notice, over a 3 month period. It really is like trying to take a drink of water from a fire hose! I knew of a very, very few students who did try to do some kind of work study or part-time job but still marvel that they were able to try at all. Perhaps there are some who are gifted enough at (or exposed enough to) the study of medicine but that was not me. Could I have lived more frugally? Certainly I think so now! But I don't truly regret how I did live - I was careful in my spending but still think the few small luxuries I allowed myself kept me sane and focused.

Wow, I'm impressed. The key for me is you comment that the few luxuries you bought were important to keeping you sane and focussed. That comment to me indicates that these were really needs rather than luxuries, and that you made the right choice in spending for them.

Congratulations on completing a demanding program. It sounds like you used your loans wisely to accomplish a valuable purpose.

<<Can you describe more clearly the choices that would have been worthwhile to reduce the student debt and interest charges that you accumulated?

What I would have done differently would have been to start earlier at making even token payments towards my student loan debts - even if they only covered a fraction of the interest - because during the in-school and grace period status, every dollar paid goes further to defray the costs: interest accrues at a lower rate and the ultimate amount of capitalized interest would have been held down. Most people who take out student loans are likely to need them for tuition, books and living expenses so there truly are not many extra dollars to fling back at the loans while a student, but I think now that even if I could have paid back on average $10 to $25 a week in school, I would have knocked off AT LEAST a couple of thousand dollars from my ultimate principal. >>

I appreciate your candor in deciding that there were some small improvements you might have made in financing your education. But based on your comments, it sounds like you did very well indeed in the choices you made. It further seems that you intend to use the same wisdom in paying down that debt as soon as you have the opportunity to do so.

If you are half as good a physician as you are at financial planning, I'd bet you are a very good physician indeed. It's great to see someone who has used debt as wisely as you have in funding your education.

It was a real pleasure to read and recommend your posts.

Seattle Pioneer
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