College is one of the most expensive decisions a person can make while planning their future. In today’s economy, no matter where you choose to go to school, you’re going to be shelling out a lot of money and probably paying off at least one loan for years to come. But the tuition bills aren’t the end of the expenses students face- there’s money spent on books and supplies, on clothes and entertainment, and on food and dorm supplies for those of us who live on-campus.
We all know that going to college is supposed to be about getting an education so we can (hopefully) have a successful career.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t also an important time for learning about the world around us, gaining life experience, and figuring out how to be an adult. For many of us, these years will be the last time in our lives that we are able to have many freedoms and, other than classes, relatively few responsibilities. We want to make the most of this time! The main thing that stands in our way is, of course, money.
There are countless opportunities for college students to live it up…but most of them are pretty pricey.
Of course, no one’s saying you can’t have a good time hanging out with your friends on campus, participating in clubs and organizations, and going to the occasional party…but who wants to pass up things like study abroad trips, spring break vacations, and other adventures to spend their weekends on the quad?
Study abroad trips are undeniably tempting. Whether you want to experience a different culture, learn a new language, or try out a new kind of night life, hardly anyone can deny that it would be pretty awesome to spend a semester (or two, or three) or even just a few months in another country. Yes, these trips involve taking classes…but that’s earning credits you’d have to take anyway, while being abroad!
I don’t know about you, but I started thinking about studying abroad while I was still in high school. I’ve never been outside of the country before and I’ve wanted to visit the UK since I was ten years old. I thought that, surely, there couldn’t be a better time to go and absorb the land of Shakespeare and The Beatles than while I was at college! So, why haven’t I hopped across the pond yet? If you guessed “money reasons”, you’re right.
The average study abroad trip costs in excess of $10,000 dollars! YIKES!
Now, that’s for a full semester. There are definitely other options. You can go for a few months in the summer, or even just a few weeks at the end of a semester if you take a travel course. These trips will still set you back a few thousand dollars though, and that’s not including any money you want to spend while you’re there!
Too many college kids forget that they’ll want to do things after they graduate too.
It sounds silly and old-fashioned, but trying to find a middle ground between what you want to do and what you should do is the best way to build some life-skills and keep yourself from going broke. No one is seriously expecting you to do nothing but study in college! You can still go on a trip with your friends, but do you really need to spend a week in California? If you want to study abroad, why not get a part-time job around your classes and save some cash in advance?
I may sound like a buzz-kill for saying it, but there is no way that four years of wild, expensive fun is worth decades of wishing you had the money to spare.
How much money do you spend on entertainment? Do you think most college students spend too much money having fun?