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Meet the 40-Year-Old Who Took up a Second Job as a DoorDash Delivery Driver to Clear Student Loans

Delve Into the Inspiring Journey of A 40-Year-Old Delivering for DoorDash to Pay Off Her $100,000 Student Loan Debt While Navigating Full-Time Career
Cover Image Source: Unsplash|Photo by Toa Heftiba
Cover Image Source: Unsplash|Photo by Toa Heftiba

Education loans are a major financial burden for American students as it may take years for them to pay off debts even after finishing their studies and getting a job. One of them is Shonnita Leslie, who had a massive education loan of $101,000 by the time she had completed her master’s of education in psychology. And just after her graduation was completed, she had to struggle to get a decent job to pay off her loan.

In an interview with CNBC, Leslie said, “Because I graduated during the Great Recession, it was really hard for me to get on my feet and find my first stable job working full-time to make enough to even pay the minimum". 

Finding a good job for survival and paying off the heavy loans is pretty challenging. Image Source: Unsplash|Photo by JESHOOTS.COM
Finding a good job for survival and paying off the heavy loans is pretty challenging. Image Source: Unsplash|Photo by JESHOOTS.COM

Struggle to get debt free

Leslie started her career as a certified school counselor at a public school, but her earnings were not enough to meet her monthly expenses and loan installments.


To pay off the debts sooner she moved to Texas, and joined a university as a program manager with a salary of $65,000. But even with that salary she managed to pay only the installments, and her principal amount remained the same at $101,000. Since she had worked as a school counselor, she was qualified for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and had $60,000 of federal loans forgiven in 2022.

Juggling two jobs

Even after the forgiveness of federal loans, she still had $40,000 in loans from private institutions that she was obliged to pay. In addition to her full-time job at university, she joined DoorDash as a delivery partner to earn extra income. She said in an interview with CNBC “I just wasn’t making enough money to make a dent in my debt and I knew I could do it a lot quicker if I had something like DoorDash to help compensate my full-time earnings". Working as a part-time delivery executive she was able to make $72,000 in just 5 years. To deliver the orders, she picked up another loan to buy a pre-owned car.


She utilized her initial earnings from DoorDash to pay off the car loan, before paying off an education loan. She spent hours on weekends to earn more through DoorDash. At times, she worked 70 hours a week to make the most out of the 2 jobs she was juggling. Thanks to her hard work she had paid off interests and $22,000 of the remaining education loan. Emphasizing the importance of paying off debts sooner than 15 years as per the original plan, Leslie said “It was really important that I got a lot of my student loan debt taken care of because then I was able to dedicate that back into myself and my health and my mental wellness". 

Managing expenses efficiently

Leslie had been quite smart when it came to making financial decisions. She sold off her pre-owner car when its maintenance cost went up. She purchased an electric bike to continue her work as a delivery partner. She was able to get affordable accommodation for a price of $1,408 along with electricity and wi-fi bills.


She spends $622 monthly on health and dental insurance. To secure her future, she even saves $400 towards the 403(B)plan.