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Kansas-based med school grad determined to pay off $200K in student loans herself

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Olivia Ray, 26, of Kansas — a recent medical school graduate — is determined to keep whittling away at her massive student loan debt total of $200,000 until it’s completely paid off. And she doesn’t want government help.

Ray graduated from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine near Detroit, Michigan, a few weeks ago. She’s set to begin a three-year family medicine residency next month in Wichita, Kansas.

Her secret weapon for paying down $30,000 of her debt so far? It’s what she calls her “side hustle.”

Since 2019, Ray has netted nearly $85,000 by selling clothing on Poshmark, Inc., a digital secondhand marketplace.

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The site “also has the ‘cool factor,'” she told Fox News Digital in an email. “It’s where all my friends were selling their clothing — so I wanted to give it a try.”

Poshmark doesn’t verify how much sellers earn annually, but company spokesperson Christine Heerwagen confirmed via e-mail that Olivia Ray’s Poshmark total earnings to date were more than $100K. That doesn’t factor in the cost of goods or the 20 percent that Poshmark makes from each sale, Ray noted.

Olivia Ray, who is based in Kansas, has used a portion of her earnings from her Poshmark selling work to chip away at her student loan debt.
(OliviaRay)

In addition to paying off $30,000 of her student loan debt already, Ray also has put $30,000 toward the purchase of a new home in Kansas, she shared with Fox News Digital; that amount covered the down payment and closing costs. Ella’s Ray and her husband, a commercial airline pilot, were married during her third year of medical school.

“I would like to have one less loan to pay off to better my life and make it easier to live and eventually have a family of my own,” said Ray.

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“My husband and I have a dream of owning lots of land,” she added. “The faster this loan is paid, the faster we can fulfill our long-term goals.”

With years of arduous work and determination behind her — she was inducted into the Delta chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society in 2021 — Ray is not in favor of the Biden administration’s plan to forgive either a portion of student loan debt per borrower or other student loan forgiveness notions.

“If broad loan forgiveness is started, then the value of a degree, even a medical degree, would decrease drastically.”

“If broad loan forgiveness is started, then the value of a degree, even a medical degree, would decrease drastically,” she said.

“It is also offensive to all of the Americans who have worked hard, and perhaps even lived paycheck-to-paycheck to pay off their student loans,” she said candidly.

Why she tried secondhand selling

During her second year of medical school — and the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic — Olivia Ray began secondhand selling.

She turned her fatigue from studying and her boredom at being confined to close quarters to moneymaking after friends encouraged her to give secondhand selling a try.

Ray told Fox News Digital she started her secondhand selling

Ray told Fox News Digital she started her secondhand selling “by going to a thrift store down the street from me.” In very short order, she was hooked.
(OliviaRay)

“I was also tired of living on student loans for housing, food and of course tuition,” she said. “I often felt myself not enjoying my 20s like the rest of my friends who had ‘real’ jobs were … and they weren’t in school their whole life like me.'”

Ray said she knew little about the clothing business early on. She’d spent the last six years of her academic life trying to secure a competitive spot in medical school.

“On Fridays I would rush from my clinical rotations at the hospital to get to a half-off sale at my local thrift store, where I would buy 30+ items a week.”

Though hesitant at first to dip her toes into the selling world, her entrepreneurial acumen soon kicked into gear.

“I started by going to a thrift store right down the street from me,” she said. “I bought my first item, a top, that I purchased for $5 and then sold it for $20.”

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After completing her first transaction at Saint Vincent de Paul Store in Madison Heights, Michigan, Ray said she was hooked. “I started with that flip, and then I ‘re-invested’ my profit into another, then another,” she said.

Why she has a ‘strict routine’

The more Ray sold, the more she began to recognize popular brands to re-sell. She also perfected her listings, photos and descriptions. She said the mobile app is user-friendly and doesn’t require start-up fees or listing limits

“I found unique, vintage items that sold for high-dollar [amounts], took photos of myself wearing them and took mirror selfies to show what the items looked like. As my customer base grew, people started reaching out to me and asking me to sell their items on consignment.”

Olivia Ray sorts through some of the clothing she's selling on Poshmark.  Her plan de ella is to have her student loan paid off entirely by 2026.

Olivia Ray sorts through some of the clothing she’s selling on Poshmark. Her plan de ella is to have her student loan paid off entirely by 2026.
(OliviaRay)

Over time, Ray said her side gig turned into a “strict routine.”

“On Fridays I would rush from my clinical rotations at the hospital to get to a half-off sale at my local thrift store, where I would buy 30+ items a week,” she said.

She also went “garage sailing” — she frequented garage sales. On Sundays, Ray would sift through the massive pile of clothing items she’d accumulated during the week and snap photos of her new wares from her.

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On Mondays, between seeing patients, she listed items on Poshmark. She spent the rest of the week accumulating and packaging sold items. She repeated the strategy each week.

“Our sellers are the heart and soul of the Poshmark community … whether that’s an individual selling in their spare time or a larger brand looking to embrace a circular model,” said Tracy Sun, co-founder and senior vice president of seller experience at Poshmark , in a press release on Oct. 8, 2021.

Olivia Ray completed medical school in May 2022 at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine near Detroit, Michigan.  She's set to begin a three-year family medicine residency in Wichita, Kansas.

Olivia Ray completed medical school in May 2022 at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine near Detroit, Michigan. She’s set to begin a three-year family medicine residency in Wichita, Kansas.
(OliviaRay)

To date, Ray has sold nearly 5,000 items on Poshmark. (Ray is one of 80 million registered users, the site says, from the US, Canada and Australia.)

Why she expects to have her loan paid in full by 2026

“As a physician, I know that my initial investment [toward medical school] will eventually pay off, but it has totally helped that I have worked so very hard to make money of my own,” she told Fox News Digital.

“In 2022, it is a good idea to diversify your income as well as your skillset.”

“Reselling online is something a ton of college students, and even medical students, could start,” she said. “Instead of binge-watching Netflix every night, like a lot of my classmates did, I worked on this business. It was a great source of joy.”

“It has also taught me that in 2022, it is a good idea to diversify your income as well as your skillset,” she said.

With plans to work in a rural farming community in Iowa or Kansas, Ray said she expects to have her loan debt paid in full by 2026.

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She also plans to continue her secondhand selling.

“I love it,” she said. “I put my heart and soul into medicine and reselling. I also work hard for my husband and two dogs — and for my future children.”

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