Student life and debt go hand in hand. The day-to-day life of a student is something of a daily miracle, considering our constant losing battle with finances. I don’t know how we manage to go on this way, but we do and we survive.
There may not be too many ways to improve the financial strain of student life, but there are a few things one can do to better appreciate the experience. Being broke isn’t fun and university isn’t easy, especially for the introverted ones of us.
As a bit of an anti-socialist with limited funds, I learned how to find the silver lining in my situation. There were two main bonuses that I held onto in order to keep my optimism and keep moving forward.
If you enjoy your own company and don’t need to go out as often as your peers, being broke can be your saving grace. You no longer have to make excuses not to go out because you always have a genuine reason not to. It’s always best to stay home and not spend money that you don’t have.
I Could Finally Diet.
Dieting suddenly became super easy when I was broke because one can’t overeat when there’s no food. Not only do you not always have the money to cook but also you may not even have the time or the will to do so. Cheap instant meals were the staple but they often made me lose my appetite for food altogether so hunger became a foreign concept to me for a while. I lived on coffee and the occasional pack of Oreos, which may not be very healthy but it kept me happy and focused. I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world.
University is a great time for second chances. For instance, if you weren’t great at mathematics in high school, you don’t have to worry much because counting your every penny in university will turn you into Goodwill Hunting. I can now calculate exactly how many meals and trips it will take to bleed me dry without even glancing at my calculator app. If that lesson wasn’t valuable, I also learned how to minimize my costs through some basic practices.
Take advantage of free stuff.
Anything that your university gives you free access to must be milked for everything it is worth. Free food at campus clubs (if you don’t mind socializing), free wi-fi, gym facilities etc. Don’t hesitate to take full advantage because you aren’t likely to find them for free anywhere else after university.
Don’t succumb to peer pressure.
Trying to keep up with your peers can bleed you dry. They may have resources that you don’t so don’t feel the need to do everything that they do. Know your financial limits.
Get a part time job.
Studies can take up all your energy and give you sleepless nights, but if you can make time for a social life then you can maybe do a few hours of work a week to reduce your debt. It’s not fun but it helps to reduce your financial load and it builds on your resume.
This is a struggle that builds character. Once you’ve taken in all the life lessons that come with scraping through student life, there are some things you can take away from it.
by Zani Tsabedze