Penniless in PR

Welcome to college, please leave all your cash at the door

Welcome back to Ferris. I hope you stashed away some money this summer.

When it comes to college life, the constant scramble for cash is mainstay. It’s right up there with consuming large amounts of caffeine and procrastinating like it’s your job. In the pursuit of the extra dollar, or in the effort to keep it from slipping away, students scramble for jobs, live on ramen and peanut butter sandwiches, and pitifully beg their parents for cash.

Even before the school year is underway, school costs are busting into our sparse bank vaults. We have to cough up a few hundred to do homework for the classes we’ve paid for, after all. Textbooks and software must be purchased, often before the refunds from grants, scholarships, and those wonderful loans have arrived. There’s a book advance, but that doesn’t cover the absurd bookstore prices. Besides, some people just may have used that money to pay rent.

Even after that refund finally arrives – just a few days now, hang in there – students will be heard lamenting their lack of funds. Some may have earned their empty pockets – they didn’t really need to order pizza every night – but others will simply have run out of cash. As the semester drags on and the numbers on bank statements continue to dwindle, the chorus of “wow, I really need to get a (different) job” will swell ever more loudly.

Sadly, there is no money tree, nor is there a quick solution waiting to be ingeniously stumbled upon. Some can and will get jobs; others will not, whether that’s due to lack of effort, lack of time, or lack of luck. The cost of education isn’t likely to change soon, either; I hope everyone saw that Congress allowed a hike in student loan interest rates to be passed over the summer.

Whether a job or sympathetic parent can be found or not, there’s one thing to which we can hold fast: solidarity. We’re there for each other to make half-jokes about dumpster diving and moving back in with parents after college, spoken with hollow smiles and heavy hearts. There’s no money to spare for the consumers bill, but I have no shortage of comforting pats on the back. Hang in there, folks. Oh, and could someone loan me a Professional Selling book? We have a quiz tomorrow, and I won’t have money for the book until Friday.