By the time I was halfway through college, my family (mom, dad, and two sisters) had moved 15 times. We had been homeless, lived with friends and family, and my sisters and I had attended a different school each year. While I had caring and attentive parents, they had no clue how to organize their financial lives and did not seem motivated to better themselves or put in the hard work it takes to provide a stable lifestyle.I knew college was the only way out. There was no convincing me otherwise. If I were to dig myself out of this hole we had been living in, I had to do something drastic.None of my family members had ever been to college. Therefore, I had no one to guide me and keep me from the missteps many college students encounter. Nor did I have anyone to support me financially or give me advice for managing the dauntingly overwhelming task of paying for college.While I received a few grants and scholarships, they didn't come close to matching rising tuition costs. I had been working since I was 15, but all my income went to gas (I commuted to school - nearly an hour both ways, three days a week), food, and other necessities.The drive and mental capacity were in me to attend and complete college, but I had no idea how to pay for it. That's when I found out how easy it is to secure a student loan. All I had to do was fill out a few boxes and prove I was enrolled.It was WAY too easy - a terrifying realization not lost on me today.By my graduation date, I had accumulated nearly $60,000 in debt.I have taken aggressive measures to try to pay down my debt (knocking off about $10,000 in one year), but I feel the weight of this burden on a daily basis. I now view everything through the foggy lens of debt. Every choice I make, every decision I ponder, is filtered through how my debt will be affected. "Do I repair my car headlight, or send more money to my creditors?" "Do I give up recreation and all the things that bring real joy into my life in order to be free of this responsibility?"While I realize we all make our own choices in life, I cannot help to point out how limited my choices were. Almost daily, I ponder the the path I took and consciously reel back my spending even though I was never one to waste money on things I didn't need or live in excess. I simply need the joy and motivation back in my life and the help to remember what life is really all about.