I've Learned to Embrace Being a Broke College Kid, and You Should Too.

I’m sure all of us are aware of the phenomenon that most college students have trouble managing their finances. It can be hard to find time to work while attending school full time, and tough to keep a steady job while traveling between home and school. considering that many students begin adulthood with student debt, it's easy to see why finances are such a stressor for students these days. However, I've learned to embrace the broke college kid life, and you should too. Here's why. 

 

At the end of my spring semester of freshman year, I found myself with zero savings left, and barely enough quarters to even do my laundry, or at least that was my excuse. I was stretching each dollar too thin and eventually had to do the inevitable; ask my parents for money (cue scary music). My parents are gracious people, and although they expected me to be mostly economically independent, they were happy to help me out a little. However, I still felt crippling guilt for asking them for money. I decided that this behavior was unacceptable and that I needed to manage my money better during my sophomore year of college. 

 

In act to do better next year, I decided that my summer would be completely devoted to money-making. I told my parents that I wouldn't be going on vacation with them, I got two jobs, and I dug my heels in for three months straight.

 

As you could imagine, I quickly became burnt out from the cycle of work, sleep, repeat. I found myself working 60+ hour weeks, getting shin splints from being on my feet all day, and having absolutely no time for my friends. I would come home all sweaty and smelly from working 12-hour days, only to see all of my friends having lots of fun, living their best lives on Instagram. I was miserable. 

 

As I look back on this summer, I don't feel satisfaction in the fact that I accomplished my goal of making lots of money.. I was working so much that I didn't have time to take care of myself, much less nurture the relationships with the people around me. I didn't sleep, eat, or rest, and it affected the way I acted towards those around me. I was constantly grumpy and began to worry that my friends would think I no longer cared about them. 

 

Learn from my mistakes and don't take your time for granted. Embrace the broke college kid life and prioritize having fun and living well. Go on vacation even if you don't have the money for it and make time for the people that matter to you. College is a special time in life when we have the freedom of adulthood, without all of the responsibility. We get to live with our friends while experimenting with all the different paths in life. It is a wonderful time of endless fun, and it's too short not to enjoy. 

 

 

Photo Credit: cover, 1, 2, 3