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A student using a ladder going up to the month of September.
Mark Wang for Money

More than a year into the pandemic, you may have forgotten what it feels like to see your student loan payment leave your bank account each month.

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it's time to refresh your memory.

Most federal borrowers still have four-and-a-half months until their interest-free payment pause — a pandemic relief measure that's been in place since March 2020 — ends. But for borrowers who've been enjoying that break, October may come as a shock to their wallet. That's why you should start preparing now. Here’s what to do.

1. Find out how much you owe

If you haven’t thought much about your student loan debt in the past year, it’s a good idea to take stock of your situation. Start by tracking down your loans so you understand how much you owe and to whom, recommended Rebecca Safier, a certified student loan counselor and student debt expert for Student Loan Hero.