I Graduated From College Free of Student Debt. I’m Not a Model for Anyone.

When I graduated from the University of Oregon in 2017, I wasn’t overwhelmed with pride. I was overwhelmed with relief. I felt like I was getting away with something, waiting to be caught.

I had done what, four years before, I feared was impossible. As a low-income, first-generation college student paying my own way through school, I finished school debt-free—something that is nearly impossible today for any undergraduate student in similar circumstances.