Student loan debt fear made me skip fancy schools for a free one

student loan debt
student loan debt

I can remember being 17, sitting in our Michigan farmhouse, across the kitchen table from my mother. "You don't have to go there just because you got a scholarship," she said. "You can go to any other college you want. We'll make it work."

A feeling of utter practicality took over my brain. Paying thousands of dollars in student loan debt or going to school for free?

I chose free.

Thinking back, I'm still surprised by my decision. Even though I came from a podunk town in rural Michigan, and my advanced-placement classmates chose prestigious universities like Brandeis, University of Michigan, MIT, Yale, and Northwestern, I chose a mid-sized, not-particularly-academic state school because it offered me four years tuition and room and board. I never looked back.