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College Isn't Just the Education

When considering the cost of college, we need to consider the experience as a whole, and that must include life outside the classroom.

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I am currently a senior at the University of Texas at Austin. As I reflect on my collegiate experience, the most rewarding part of it all has taken place outside of the classroom. I have been fortunate enough to only work during the summers. This has allowed me to have time to be able to join some great organizations and meet lifelong friends. The best part of school has been living with roommates, going out to eat, taking road trips, going to Longhorn games, and whatever we else we want to do on the weekends. 

These things cost money. We shouldn't be able to just spend whatever we want all the time, but part of college is getting to have some of these experiences when we get the chance. I am lucky enough to not have to be working to pay off every immediate expense. I have help from my parents and money from the summer internships. Sometimes, I go through stretches of getting to do a lot of fun things, and other times, I cook at home and don't go out in order to save up for something I want to do. I budget in a way that allows me to cut costs when I can in order to spend money on an experience in the future. My costs include:

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Food/Drink
  • Weekend Entertainment
  • Sporting Events
  • Gas Money
  • Books/School Supplies
  • Car/House Maintenance
  • Clothes

These are huge parts of the cost of college. While tuition may be a major focus, as it should be, I encourage this community to think of ways that don't just cut tuition or encourage people to work more during the year, but ways that people still have time and money for fun. I realize that I am quite lucky to have the opportunity to enjoy college and that that isn't the case for everyone, so let's give people the chance to save up to also do some things they'll remember the rest of their lives during their time at school. 

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

If the old saying, "It isn't about what you know, it's who you know," is true, then we need to devise a solution, if possible, that allows students to also spend time and money getting to know the people they go to school with rather than balancing two or three jobs with all of the homework they have.

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Photo of Azeem

Wow Dylan, this is a very interesting point that you have brought up. It would be great for students to be able to live the ideal college experience as well as gain their higher education with a lower tuition cost. Also really like the old saying that you brought up, "It isn't about what you know, it's who you know."

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