Meg Loughman / Gavel Media

The Cost of Thriving in College

Living near the great city of Boston as a college student is an amazing experience, but not for my bank account. Easy access to the city makes spending money effortless, often leaving me with only $5.23 to get through until the next payday. Unless you are a wizard who can simultaneously work full time and go to school full time, this is the reality most college students face. I feel incredibly lucky to go to school near Boston and would love to take advantage of all it has to offer, but it definitely comes with a high price tag.

Everything is so readily available because of Boston College’s relative proximity to the city. Unlike students in small college towns, there are countless places in which we can spend a limited amount of money. Between concerts, shopping on Newbury Street, food, and transportation, the expenses add up. The absurdly high price of just about anything in Boston can cause divisions between students.

As a college student, there exists a constant desire to go out and keep up with the crowd. From going out for food with friends when the Mac ‘chicken with two sides’ just isn’t cutting it to the surge priced Uber when travelling into the city, there is always something responsible for draining our bank accounts. We all, at times, become susceptible to the social pressure of fitting in and by doing so we may agree to dinners and shopping sprees that our bank accounts can't handle.

Oh, and don’t forget all the expenses required of us to simply survive—let alone socially thrive—on campus. Meal plans, formals, club dues, textbooks, and—of course—the monumental cost of senior week don’t come without some green out of our pockets. 

It is hard to say ‘no’ for fear of missing out. We want to feel included and not have our lives revolve around school, but the price tag on going out causes problems. Money is a divisive factor in our society, especially in a college setting. College alone is a huge expense, and balancing the cost of social events on top of tuition is no easy task. It is unrealistic to be able to do everything and not be influenced by credit card charges, no matter how much we want to ignore it.

In general, at Boston College, I don't think money is an issue in the classroom setting. Instead, the issue is seen most in the extra activities college students involve themselves in. When it comes to having fun, getting involved, and going out, money becomes an element that divides those who are willing to spend and those who choose to save. 

The decision between saving money and obtaining the luxuries that require spending dough makes many of our social choices no easy task. But sometimes, the ‘chicken with two sides’ option is necessary and that is okay.

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