Why I’m happy to be financially independent

By Jared Talbot | gargoyle@flagler.edu

Every college student has a different financial situation. There are the students who don’t even think about money. They have wealthy families with enough money to send them off to college with. Money isn’t even a stress on their mind.

There are also the students who stress about money every day of their lives at school. They work a job—maybe more than one—to pay for rent, tuition, books, and food. The sad part is food should obviously be extremely important, but there is a reason the classic cliché of the college student eating Ramen noodles and that is because many students find themselves broke.

Now the obvious advice to the latter would be to simply “get a job.” Yet it is not that simple for every student out there. Students who pay for their own college, rent and other financial responsibilities work all summer long just to get to college. For the students who are taking maximum course loads, volunteering, involved in clubs and attempting to have some sort of social life in between, it can be difficult.

There are only so many hours in a day and students come to college, obviously, to focus on getting a degree. Yet the truth is, many students don’t have a choice. They either get a job on top of an already-hectic schedule, or they can’t support themselves.

Those students then have to sacrifice sleep, healthy eating, exercise and social lives just to get by. Things a normal person would think as far too important to sacrifice, are things that must be sacrificed to just get by.

According to studentloanhero.com, approximately 71 percent of college students graduate with debt. This means the majority of college students will be dealing with the added stress of money on top of all the other stresses of college. You might say these people have it a lot worse than the people who can call mom or dad and ask them for money.

I am thankful for having to be financially responsible.  My summers may not be as fun as the person who isn’t financially responsible, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy them. Would I have a lot more money if I didn’t have to pay for my own college, rent, groceries and so on? Of course, but I wouldn’t be the same person. Not to take away from the people who don’t have too many financial responsibilities, but I am thankful that may have learned valuable lessons early that maybe others have not.

I have learned the value of a dollar, the values of hard work, keeping a positive attitude in a negative situation and most importantly, appreciating my college experience because I know how hard I worked to get here. My parents are the best and raised me to be thankful for everything I have and not be upset about the things I don’t.

I used to be angry that other kids are getting more help from their parents, but it was all but a phase. I am lucky because my parents still have helped me as much as they can. On top of having four other kids back home, my parents do try to send money once in a while. They do pay for plane tickets and help me in plenty of other ways as do various other family members. I could have it much worse than I do. We all should be thankful for our situation rather than look at all the negative parts.

When talking about my situation with my stepfather, I remember he used to tell me, I will be “thankful later on in life” and I will “be far more ready for the real world” due to the fact that I know what it is like to be financially responsible.

At the time, I remember thinking  I would rather have more financial help than learning some morals and lessons that may help me in the future. Looking back at it, I couldn’t be happier. I am the person I am today due to the lessons I have learned, and I would not have learned a variety of lessons if I wasn’t financially responsible for so many things in my life. Being thankful for your situation leads to happier days and a happier life.

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