The student debt crisis is going nowhere fast, but at least one young woman has figured out how to keep it from getting in the way of her dreams.
And it helps that her dreams are a bit unusual.
After graduating from University of Louisiana in 2010 and moving to New York City, Alida Taylor hoped to become a fashion designer for Broadway shows, CBS News reports. She landed her first job as an assistant, spent the next several years working her way up and eventually was hired at Ralph Lauren, according to her LinkedIn profile.
"When I moved to the city, I had all these desires," she told CBS.
Eventually, however, her ambitions began to shift from the glamorous world of fashion design to something entirely different: Taylor decided she wanted to become a nun.
After going on several retreats with the Sisters of Life, a convent on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Taylor decided to enter a discernment house — a place where aspiring nuns or priests go to figure out if a life serving the church is right for them.
In June, Taylor heard that her application to join the Sisters of Life had been accepted, and she could fulfill her dream of becoming a nun.
There was just one problem: her $12,000 in student loan debt.
While individual congregations may have different policies, Sisters of Life requires that entering nuns must be debt-free. Sister Mariae Agnus Dei from Sisters of Life explained to CBS that paying off all debt would allow Taylor to "freely enter into her vocation."
So Taylor did what a number of millennials are doing when faced with insurmountable costs: She crowdfunded.
In just 11 days, her GoFundMe surpassed its $12,000 goal, thanks to supportive Catholics from around the country.
While there were a couple of negative comments, the response to Taylor's campaign was overwhelmingly positive. The donations are still pouring in as of Friday, and Taylor wrote on her page that she plans to use any excess funds to help other aspiring nuns pay off their debts so they can enter vocation.
It's not just nuns who are subject to rules about debt, said Gregory Stark, a graduate student at Yale Divinity school who has spent time living at a monastery.
"In traditional monastic communities, it's pretty normal to have to resolve any outstanding debt before entering the community," Stark wrote in a message to Mic. "My diocese is pretty keen on attending to debt (student loans, car, house, credit card) because of how it can burden one's ministry later (i.e., what kind of parish you can serve and where you can go)."
Taylor and the Sisters of Life did not return Mic's requests for comment by press time.