President Biden recently announced a plan to forgive thousands of dollars in student loans for many borrowers—meaning that a large amount of recently owed debt will be erased for many. His plan also includes extending the repayment pause period until the end of 2022, and as a borrower, I know that I’m not the only one feeling some form of gratitude for the news about student loan forgiveness.

Though some see this plan as a step in the wrong direction—including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who stated that Biden’s decision is “a slap in the face to every family who sacrificed to save for college, every graduate who paid their debt, and every American who chose a certain career path or volunteered to serve in our Armed Forces in order to avoid taking on debt”—as a mom, this student loan forgiveness is a huge sigh of relief for me. And I am fully aware of my privilege in being able to say that, but I am also undoubtedly grateful for what this decision means for the future of my family. 

I understand that those who have already sacrificed so much to repay their loans (or avoid loans altogether) feel like this decision isn’t fair to them—and honestly, maybe it’s not. But it’s progressive, and when I think about paving the way for generations to come, that’s what truly matters.

Though a privilege to many, I strongly believe that it is shaping the future for the generations to come.

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It’s about creating a way forward by alleviating the struggles that many people have already endured. Personally, I don’t believe that others should have to suffer from the same hardships we’ve already gone through. I don’t believe that the generations after ours should face the same challenges, barriers or circumstances that we’ve already faced if we can find alternative (and dare I say maybe even better) routes—and offer those to them. 

I don’t want to see my children worried about attending college or wondering how they’re going to repay their loans if we can find a better solution for them. And it’s not about handing everything to them on a silver platter. It’s not about teaching them to believe that things in life are simply given to them and that they don’t have to work hard (at least for me it’s not.)

But it’s about being mindful of the world that I want them to live in, that they’ll one day be raising my grandchildren in. And if their future is built on the sacrifices of the generations before them—then so be it. Hopefully, it teaches them to appreciate things in life more and also to create more opportunities for others. And I believe that this is possible. As a young adult raising my own family now, I often look back and feel (as well as show) deep gratitude for the sacrifices that got me to where I am today. The sacrifices of my parents and my grandparents—all those handed me opportunities that they never had.

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And because of that, I want the uprising generations to experience the gratitude that comes from being able to raise the bar and take advantage of new opportunities. But that doesn’t have to equate to them struggling or suffering first, the same way many people already unfortunately have.

I went to college and I worked hard to earn my degree. I took out loans in addition to my parents taking some out. I worked three jobs while balancing a full-credit course load. And though this was personally my struggle (and not as bad as others), I know how hard it is for many to afford college and maintain a comfortable living at the same time. 

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I went to school with the hopes of pursuing a degree that would help me hone in on my skills, and hoping that that same degree would land me opportunities in the field that I loved and studied hard at.

But that wasn’t the case. Post-graduation, I was fresh out of college struggling to land a steady job—sending in application after application, having interview after interview and still getting turned down. But I had bills and student loans to repay, so I had to find a way—even if it was settling for a job for years that had nothing to do with my degree.

But just because this was the case for me, doesn’t mean that it should continue to be the case for many individuals who pursue college degrees. I believe that if there is change available, change should come. And granted, change may feel uncomfortable or unfair—but it’s worth giving it a try.

It’s not about dismissing those sacrifices of others—it’s about paving the way forward.

I am thankful for the relief that Biden’s decision brings to me, my family and many other families across the US. Because on top of inflation, there’s raising a kid in today’s world and trying to live comfortably while not just drifting from paycheck to paycheck. And then there’s also trying to remain cognizant of the world that we want to raise our children in.

I’m not just celebrating because some of my debt will be forgiven or because repaying my loans has just been made a little easier. I’m celebrating because it’s a change—and recognizing change shows that we don’t have to remain stagnant or stuck in our ways. It shows that we can create better opportunities and futures for our children and every other generation to come. It shows that we can give them far better than what we had.

So does Biden’s decision offer me relief? Yes. Is his student loan forgiveness plan taking a heavy load off the shoulders of me and my family? Yes. Am I aware of the privilege that this means for many that weren’t available to others? Equally yes.

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But I am still grateful—and I believe that it’s a good thing. This decision has helped me to exhale a deep breath that I’ve been holding in for far too long—and I know that I’m not alone. Amongst other current borrowers, parents, recently-graduated students and many more—this is a huge breakthrough.

This decision is a step in the right direction because it’s a step forward. Though a privilege to many, I strongly believe that it is shaping the future for the generations to come. It’s not about dismissing those sacrifices of others—it’s about paving the way forward.

The same way that we have reaped the benefits of the sacrifices of many before us—our sons and daughters, our grandchildren will reap the benefits of our sacrifices. And the world that they live in will be better for it.