If you have ever attended or are planning to attend college or university, chances are you’ve heard the phrase “broke student life”. I for one have become extremely frustrated with the glamorization of millions of students all over the world spending years of their lives living in what can only be equated to poverty. In fact, these students aren’t just living on a low income; they’re living on a negative income as a result of the thousands of dollars of debt that they collect over the course of their education. Yet, this phase of life is so infuriatingly glamorized as a rite of passage that every young adult should have to go through.
Statistically speaking, post-secondary education is the second largest investment that a person will make in their lifetime next to buying a house. Not surprisingly, this means that upon graduation students have so much debt that they are unable to buy a home or have any substantial financial security for 10+ years. What is so glamorous about that?
Recently, I’ve had to take a bit of a hiatus from posting regular content here on my blog simply because I’ve been spending so much time writing essays for scholarship applications. But even this is an extremely frustrating process. University financial aid offices will tell you “there are millions of dollars of unclaimed scholarships out there! All you have to do is apply!” And yet, I’ve spent weeks searching online and I’ve been disheartened to learn that most scholarships have very specific criteria. In fact, the criteria is often so specific that it’s no wonder there are so many awards going unclaimed!
Regardless, I’ve been doing my best to search and apply for as many scholarships as I can over the summer in the hopes that I might receive some financial aid. Unfortunately, one of the downsides to attending a prestigious university is that the tuition costs are higher than those at other universities and there are fewer internal awards available because the university does not need to rely on scholarships to attract students. With that being said, I am going to be attending my dream school so I will absolutely find a way to make this work financially, even if that means being a ball of stress for the next two years of my life.
Speaking of which, stress is another thing that tends to be glamorized when it comes to college/university student lives. Stress is understandably a normal experience throughout post-secondary studies; however, there is a point at which you cross the line from “normal” stress levels to too much stress. It’s hard to say what counts as too much stress, but it’s important to be self-aware and recognize when you might be pushing your limits a bit too far. The reality of the situation is that stress can cause tremendous strain on your mental and physical well-being. In fact, stress is often the root of suicide among post-secondary students. There really isn’t anything glamorous about it. Stress is dangerous and should not be taken lightly.
I have completed a four year undergraduate degree and I will be entering a two year master’s program in the fall, so I think it’s safe to say I know a thing or two about living the student lifestyle. As a result, I know how difficult it can be to face financial strain as well as the overwhelming stress that can creep up on you over the course of the semesters. While university can be a wonderful period of time, it’s important to realize that it isn’t all sunshine and daisies. Everyone goes through hard times and you should know that even if you feel as though you are alone in your struggles, there are plenty of other students in your position dealing with similar stresses and pressures. If you feel like you need help, don’t be afraid to reach out! I honestly believe that getting help for my mental health in university saved my life.
I hope that this post helps students out there realize that they are not the only ones frustrated with the normalization of financial struggles and stress during university/college. Let me know in the comments below if you have any additional thoughts to share!