A College Student's War with Money
By: Jailyn Duong
The price of a private university in the heart of Boston with amazing networking opportunities, stellar extracurricular activities, and impeccable, state-of-the-art, prison-like dorms is approximately $72,000. To be able to afford such a school sometimes I’d have to sacrifice nights on a bender for nights on shift, sustainable clothing brands for fast fashion, and dinner with friends for leftovers from the dining hall. The price of a private university in the heart of Boston can be a competition with time, money, and pride.
This year I started working two jobs at the same time. One of them—lucky for me—is an office job that allows me to do my homework and still get paid. The other—not so lucky for me—requires me to be present and working as long as I’m on the clock. They both steal chunks of time from my week and leave me feeling like I’m juggling one too many things for my small hands to hold onto. And as I work to keep myself afloat, I fail to let go of any of the extras that clutter my schedule because they keep me sane even after the long work days. My war with time is finding enough of it to do the things I love while still keeping some of it aside for making money.
Money’s purpose is to enable us; to give us a way to survive and a way to live. Knowing the control money has on my world, I’ve gotten into the habit of saving it. And after my parents found out I have two jobs, they started to help me out less with money, making my habit all the better. But as I’ve become reliant on my work to help me survive, I now live week by week patiently waiting for the direct deposit to show up in my bank account. The thing that’s supposed to be the ticket to living is now a haunting entity that puts me at odds with what I want and what I need. My war with money is learning to distinguish it as a means of survival from a means of joy.
As a senior, I can say I finally found the people that I can call home. Some of my friends I relate to because we have the same passions. With others it’s music. With a select few it’s past traumas. And for many it’s pure personality compatibility. Yet the number of friends I can truly depend on can be counted off with one hand. Often times, the thing that can get in the way of a friendship is money. When I try to keep up with the material things my friends have, my wallet suffers. When I’m a little too quick to jump at the sight of free food and don’t hesitate to ask for a to-go box, my reputation suffers. And when I can’t afford to go out as much as some of my friends, my pride suffers. My war with pride is trying to uphold it while being constantly reminded that my money separates me from the people I surround myself with.
The price of a private university in the heart of Boston puts me at war with my time, money, and pride. I’ve grown to be proud of where money has gotten me in this world, yet I fail to have a positive relationship with it. Money is an object that dictates my actions and an ideal that creates distance. As a college student, my greatest war is with the thing that constantly tows the line of serving me and inhibiting me.