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Journey of a DPT Student

The Year Without an Income

Published January 9, 2012 3:54 PM by Lauren Rosso

It's tax time, which means that my lack of income for the past six months is glaringly obvious. I haven't really thought about this for a while because I've been living on loans since school started, and they have a magical way of making you forget that you don't have any money. Now that it's time to file taxes and I've had to go back six months to verify my annual income, it's all starting to hit me.

I have to say this is one of the hardest adjustments to make when going back to the academic world. I got accustomed to having money that wouldn't eventually collect interest. I'm even paying off old loans with current loans - it doesn't get much worse than that.

The silver lining is that this coming year should be the last without an income. Fortunately the University of Pittsburgh offers a stipend during our third year when we are on full-time clinical rotations. Even though it won't offset the cost of tuition, a significant portion of the financial burden will be covered. And just one short year after that, I'll have a real paycheck! I can't wait to feel like a functioning member of society again.


I couldn't agree more. I took two years off between undergrad and PT school. It was nice to get that paycheck and work on paying off the loans I already had. It almost seems like a waste now since they are just accumulating interest again.

I got my W2 today, also reminding me that I haven't had an income besides loans in nearly a year. I got married back in August and my husband's income takes care of the bills at least, so the loan money is more of a safety net in addition to paying tuition. I'm trying to enjoy school and not rush though it, but you're right, that pay check will be nice!

Constance February 1, 2012 7:14 PM
Greenville NC

This could not be more true. I was very fortunate to have help from my parents through undergraduate. I was also lucky to have a job on campus that I worked 20 to 40 hours a week since I was a freshman. PT school is completely different. I am now financially "independent." I am constantly getting interest letters already and I am a first year! I am counting down the days until I get a check that I won't have to repay. It will nice to be able to buy things again :D

Katie January 29, 2012 5:36 PM
Greenville NC

Julie- I'm in the same boat.  Looking at my debt summary seriously makes me sick.  I talked about this before, but I'm really frustrated that physical therapy isn't included in the public service/loan forgiveness programs.  I know legislation is in progress, but I doubt we'll see the benefits of it.  I guess we don't have a choice- but that doesn't mean it's not disheartening.  Good luck!  

Lauren Rosso January 10, 2012 12:08 AM

I know exactly how you feel.  I am in the last semester of my first year and cannot believe how much I already owe and I still have two years to go.  I really wish there was more financial help available out there that did not collect interest.  What's worse is that tuition keeps going up yet financial aid doesn't.  I can agree that finally being able to get a paycheck and paying off these loans will make things a lot better!

Julie January 9, 2012 4:18 PM

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