Woes of a broke student

by Christine Whitman, Staff Writer

Many of you may believe this to be a rant about what it’s like to be a broke college student at San Diego State. Let me reassure you, it most definitely is. In college, nothing is cheap.

Rent is high and utility payments need to be paid every month, especially the Internet bill, so that you can access online assignments — and more importantly, Netflix. At the start of every semester, we all pay obscene amounts of money for “required” textbooks that we may never need to use for the class anyway. You realize that you’re in debt from college tuition and loans, and you constantly wonder how long it’s going to take you to pay back all of the money you owe for your education.

When you are no longer a freshman, you leave the magical world of meal plans and enter the not-so-magical world of grocery stores. Buying groceries is expensive and totally overwhelming because there are way too many options of the same product. But of course, you end up buying the knock-off brand because it’s ridiculously cheaper than all of the other products. Many times you try to buy healthy food, but figure that pizza, noodles and coffee fit into all of the required food groups. Sometimes there are weekends when all you live off is junk food because you either don’t want to go to the store, or you have no money to spend at the store. Going to Target is the ultimate struggle because rather than leaving the store with what you need, you buy an array of things you don’t need.

If you ever go out to a restaurant with your friends, you try to make that meal last all day, no matter how small it is. Many times you ask for more chips or bread for your table just so you can shove it into a to-go box for later.

Sometimes you run out of necessities like hand soap and toilet paper so you fill the hand soap up with water, take toilet paper from public restrooms and wonder how you ever became so broke. You know you’ve hit rock bottom when you rip two-ply toilet paper into one-ply so that it will last longer. If you live two hours or less from SDSU, you commonly drive home to do your laundry that’s been piling up over the last month because paying $3 per wash and dry is outlandish. You jump at the opportunity for “free” anything, and hoard dozens of fliers advertising free things.

When you see people on campus giving away free things or fliers for free things, you immediately run in their direction like a small child running excitedly to the end of their front lawn when the ice cream truck comes.

When hanging out with your other college friends, the question is always, “what can we do that’s free?” Usually that question leads to watching a movie, playing cards, or just hanging out and talking because no one wants to drive and use their gas. You must figure out the least amount of money you can spend that gets you from point A to point B without your car dying on the way, because gas is so expensive in California. You walk anywhere you can because walking is free, even though it’s time consuming.

Finding quarters — whether they’re in your car, between your couch cushions, or on the ground — is always a miracle. You begin to realize that you pay for a lot of things, mostly food, with the loose change you’ve scavenged from various places that week.

Being in college causes you to cringe when thinking about your bank balance. When you finally look at it, you cry for a good hour as you stare at your $5 balance. But I mean, life could always be worse, right? Imagine if there were only one flavor of Ramen.