Fiscal Fictions: If Lucy van Pelt Actually Became a Psychiatrist
In college, Lucy Van Pelt decided to continue her life’s dream of earning a degree that would make it socially acceptable for her to tell others exactly what’s wrong with them. What follows is a fictitious economic breakdown of her education, post-graduate practice and student loan debt.
Please note that the numbers calculated below do not include Lucy’s cost of living or the six months that she took off between undergrad and med school to backpack around South America in order to “find herself” and to fully comprehend “what it’s all about.”
Lucy finishes undergrad in three years because she is a winner. She then takes the MCAT twice, supposedly to get her scores higher, but actually because her preparatory coffee intake caused her to become violently ill in the middle of her first exam and, subsequently, she couldn’t finish the test. She has since switched to tea.
Undergrad Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology for Private College: $25,838 per year X three years.
MCAT cost: $235 X two tests
Medical School for a Private Institution: $48,046 X four years
Total (not including cost of living): $270,168
– Residency: $50,283 X four years= $201, 132
= Total student debt: $69,036
“Five Cents Please”
Being the Saddle shoe-wearing lone wolf that she is, Lucy opens her own practice in her hometown but finds that her clientele does not appreciate her blunt, subjectively demeaning, psychoanalytical analyses. She counts her diminished patronage as an unfortunate “sign of the times.” In order to entice new patients she reduces her rate to her childhood charge of $.05 per visit, with visits lasting about five minutes.
Total Money earned in 8-hour work day w/o lunch break: $4.80
Monthly Salary (22 work days/ month): $105.60
Total Student Loan Debt: $69,036
X Student Loan Interest Rate: %5.4
= Monthly Student Loan Interest: $310.66
Mandated Monthly Student Loan Payment: $350
– Monthly Salary of $105.60
= Remaining Monthly Payment: $244.40
Good grief! It would be monetarily impossible for Lucy van Pelt to pay off her student loan debt while charging her normal rate of only $.05 a visit. But, with a %5.4 interest rate and minimum monthly payments of $350 it would take Lucy 40 years and 7months to pay off her loan. So she is forced to take on a second job …
On the weekends, Lucy works as a hostess for her childhood friend Peppermint Patty, who opened up a TGI Fridays franchise with her life partner, Marcie. Though she is averse to the number of novelty buttons her uniform negates, Lucy gets to eat her fill of mozzarella sticks and jalapeno poppers.
Average Minimum Wage: $8.00
X Hours Worked per Weekend: 16
=Total Monthly Earnings: $512
– Remaining Monthly Payment: $244.
=Expendable Income: $267.60
The Little Things in Life
Lucy saves money on rent by living with her parents– two professional trombone players– and wearing the same blue dress on the daily. Her remaining income usually goes to Match.com, along with her yearly SeaWorld membership. Surprisingly, Lucy has many prospective marriage proposals, but she is still hung up on her childhood crush, Schroeder, who is now the leader of a youth choir in Chicago and moonlights as the keyboardist for an indie-folk band called “The Walnuts.” It’s all very meta.
Featured image via.