Being in debt isn't necessarily a terrible thing. Most people are, between mortgages and car loans and credit cards and student loans. Being debt-free should always be a goal, but you should focus on the management of it, not the presence of it. It'll likely be there for most of your life, and if you handle it wisely, it won't feel so much like an albatross around your neck.
There are myriad important numbers in your financial world, but few as critical as your credit (FICO®) score. This FICO® number, ranging from 300-850, can affect your ability to buy a house or car, get a credit card or other loan, or even get a job sometimes. Your FICO® score also affects the interest rates on loans.