The Student Loan Diaries: Jacinta Lachelle

In this weekly series, one Marie Claire reader shares her story of student debt, and what she's doing to get out of the hole.

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We're making it personal. Our new weekly series, "The Student Loan Diaries," will feature testimonials from Marie Claire readers in debt, and tell what they're doing to get rid of it. Check back every Monday to read another woman's story.

Two Jobs Too Many

Name: Jacinta Lachelle

Alma mater: Duke University, Class of 2008

Loan balance in 2008: $23,379

Loan balance today: $9,130

Despite receiving scholarships and grants, I still had to borrow about $24,000 to attend my dream school. Now, to pay off my debt, I work 80-hour weeks with only one free day at two jobs that I hate.

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I've been able to shave off a huge chunk of debt relatively quickly because I've been aggressive about allocating bonuses, tax returns, and savings directly to my loans. I give more when I can, but I'm worried that I'll never get to the field I want because I'm so busy paying them down. I also have a car note, rent, and I contribute to my 401k and IRA accounts, so my finances are usually tight.

Ideally, I'd love to be a study abroad program coordinator and adviser at a university. Schools in places like Saudi Arabia have programs that finance your apartment and round-trip airfare, and the cost of living is much cheaper. By working in the Middle East, I'd be able to get rid of the rest of my loans within two years. This plan really has to work out, because I'm not sure how much longer I can work two jobs and stay sane.

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