I hail from a small town in Ohio where kids mostly have sheltered lives. The mall is a few miles away, so we stick to the local establishments instead of trying to go elsewhere. We did not need to work early either, considering activities like cheerleading, football, and basketball were there to keep us occupied.
However, in my senior year, I realized how expensive a college could be. I was over the moon when I got my acceptance letter from NYU, but it came with the info that the tuition was more than $53,000 this year. The said amount did not include lodging, books, and other miscellaneous expenses.
While my parents were not poor, they were not rich either. Thus, I looked for ways to help my family as they helped me go to college.
Get A Part-Time Job
The first thing I did was look for a part-time job. Almost every business accepts part-timers these days, especially if you are a student who wants to make your dreams come true. You can work for 20 hours a week, so it won’t interfere with your other activities.
One advice that I can give you is that you should get a job in an industry that you want to enter someday. The reason is that various companies offer scholarships to employees who wish to study and get a better position afterward. Whether it’s Starbucks or others, you have better chances of getting a scholarship if you apply in your dream company.
Avoid Shopping Sprees
Being a shopaholic is ideal for people who roll in money. For mere mortals like us, it is unacceptable to buy as many bags, shoes, and clothes as we want while still in college. You cannot say, “Oh, I worked hard this month, so I should splurge at the mall.”
To avoid shopping sprees, you need to stay away from department stores. Try to uninstall your apps for online shops, too. That’s the only way to stop getting tempted by the discounts that they provide. No matter how many percent they deduct from the original price, you can still save money if you don’t buy anything.
Try Not To Go Out Too Much
As a regular teenager, I used to love hanging out with my friends almost every day of the week, including Saturdays and Sundays. On weekdays, we would have dinner at a local diner or hang out at a friend’s basement with $20 worth of snacks. On weekends, we were regulars at the bowling alley and skating rink and always got all-day passes, which cost $30 each. The only time you could find me at home was after 10 o’clock at night.
Once I got into college, though, I thought of calculating how much money I spent in the last year alone. I was stunned after seeing the numbers on my calculator: $10,000. It was a quarter of my tuition! If I saved that amount, I did not need to get a part-time job for at least a semester. Hence, I decided to stop going out too much so that I would not make the same mistake again.
Look For A Roommate Or Two
Since my parents wanted to ensure my comfortability, they refused to let me stay in the dorms. Mom said, “I know what goes down in those dorms because I lived in one before. How can you study when you are surrounded by kids who go to college with nothing but having fun in their minds?” So, I found myself living in a studio-type apartment near the campus.
In truth, the unit was a great sanctuary for me for a couple of months. I loved the peace more than anything. And whenever I came home from work or school, I could walk around naked. However, since the apartment was in a prime lot, the rent was steep. Despite my parents’ insistence that they could pay for it, I asked my two best friends to live with me so that we could split the bills into three. This decision reduced our financial worries significantly, so Mom and Dad did not argue anymore.
Make Sure That You Will Graduate
All the efforts you and your parents have made will go in vain if you don’t make sure that you can march and get your diploma. More often than not, that’s the only payback that your loved ones ask for. When they see you graduate, it can wash away their hardships and let them feel a sense of accomplishment.
Whatever you do, therefore, you should try to get good (or passable) grades every semester. It may seem challenging when you have a part-time job and all, but many other students have done it. Just get your priorities straight, and you can do the same, too.
I still have three years to go before graduation, but I am positive that I can get through it with the love and support of my family.