The final payment was made on my master's degree!
Now it feels like I finally graduated. Although I would have been prepared to earn a living in music, nothing about my formal education experience prepared me to stay at home, work 24/7, and earn $0, and have nothing worthy to report to the alumni news magazine.
My husband reminds me that the payoff is not monetary.
(Isn't he a saint? He has paid $220/month for the last fifteen years so I could have this piece of paper.)
And of course he's right. Education is never wasted.
A net financial loss, but never a complete waste.
(But no, I would not recommend education debt to my children.)
Jumping through all the hoops to earn this diploma took hard, hard work that expanded my abilities and stretched my skills.
I had the opportunity to play amazing repertoire and make several life-long friends.
I can certainly help my kids with their music studies. (They always believe that I know what I'm talking about, but their studio teachers do).
Most of all, if I had never attended grad school I never would have met my husband.
God's plans were not my plans. He took my plans for my life, let me make some ghastly unwise decisions, sent the Hound of Heaven out to fetch me, and welcomed me back with open arms. All in the short space of two years - the same two years I worked on this degree.
I can't help but wonder what God has in store for me now that that debt is paid in full.