Students can stop the cycle of poverty while in school & debt post-graduation, all it takes is a little work

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Posted Thursday, November 2, 2006 - 12:00am

I'm sure everyone reading this has overheard someone complaining about the old "clunker" they are currently driving or the one they drove in high school. In high school most of us were limited by what our parents were willing or able to buy us, but now that we're in college we can stop blaming all of our financial woes on our parents. If you want a nicer car, furniture, place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear ... just get it!

I think many of us have forgotten that we live in a country where the opportunities to get what we want are endless. I'm not suggesting that you go out and spend thousands of dollars on stuff you can't afford. By afford I don't mean the ability to make the minimum payment on a credit card either. If you want something bad enough you can get it and if you aren't willing to do what it takes to get it shut up. Complaining won't get you any closer to your goals.

Whoever said that college students need to be poor? Just because you go to school doesn't mean you can't have a full time job. Sometimes I wonder what people think is going to happen after they graduate. Is life suddenly going to become easier and less complicated? Maybe it will if you're like the 40 year old virgin who lives with his parents. ( I have never actually seen the movie but that's the kind of person I think of when I hear the title.) Most of the college professors I've heard, encourage students to focus all of their attention on classes. If you can't focus on more than one thing and be successful at both, life is going to be pretty tough.

I think that one of the biggest problems our society faces is laziness. We've grown up having nearly everything we need and want given to us without having to work that hard. That's why immigrants in our country generally prosper. They live in situations where personal and financial advancement are stifled by economic and social problems and when they finally have the opportunity to get ahead they do it. They actually appreciate the chance to work.

It's a good idea to have something to fall back on if for some reason the field that looks so promising right now no longer exists in the future. Who's to say that they won't ship your job to India or China? How would you provide for your family if you suddenly found yourself unemployed? While you're in college you can learn a trade. Maybe it will only be something that will help barely get you by, but that's a whole lot better than just giving up and relying on fate.

It seems like many students dig financial traps for themselves while going to college. Loans for books and tuition, spring break and a new sound system seem to be easier to qualify for than a job that will allow you to pay for stuff without going into debt. It would be nicer to graduate with $30,000 in the bank rather than owing the government the same amount. (More when you pay interest.) While debt is sometimes inevitable, it shouldn't be something you assume without weighing every other option first.

I'll take this time to climb down from my soapbox. I haven't followed my own advice all the time but when I haven't, at least I wasn't ignorant. I'm not independently wealthy either but I'm working on it!

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