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Why students need to earn money during college

By Will Wetzel
On February 14, 2017

College is a busy four years. We have to succeed in completing all of our assigned work in classes, build connections with other students and individuals and gain professional development skills to help ease us during the transition from graduation to the real world. At the same time, we want to take advantage of all the opportunities that college has to offer for us because we know that many of these opportunities disappear once we graduate.

However, the opportunities that universities provide for their students—whether it be social functions, study abroad opportunities or other cultural trips—all cost money. In order to take advantage of the full college experience, students need the funds in order to do so. This is why it is imperative that college students need to find a way to earn significant money during their collegiate years.

I have first-hand experience with this. During my freshman and sophomore years, I did not work. My savings account suffered, and I was not able to take advantage of opportunities as they arose. I missed out on going into Philadelphia with friends. I was not able to do a Service & Justice Experience during my first semester at Villanova. And I was not able to take advantage of CAT trips that appealed to me. These are experiences that I wished I had but was financially unable to participate in.

Being on financial aid like many students who come to Villanova, we learn early on how expensive Villanova is. We understand the value of the dollar and that money does not grow on trees. Even though we may prefer to hang with friends while we are not in class, it is important that college students learn now that having fun requires money. The most important thing that students can learn in college is how to be financially responsible. Once we get out of college, we are going to have more costs than we do now. Six months after we graduate, the majority of us will start to see the student loan payments come in. Depending on where we work, we may be living in an apartment or house. There are costs associated with this. We will have to juggle utility and rent expenses, not to mention furniture and other necessary household appliances. 

And that is only the beginning of our expenses. We then have to think about our costs associated with getting to work or graduate school, whether we utilize public transportation or drive. Regardless of whether it is gas money or train fare, there is a cost associated with this. We need to understand that money makes the world go round. As a result, it becomes imperative that students find a way to earn money. Money is a tool that enables us to get the things we want in life, whether it is a new television, an engagement ring or simply a house payment. 

Eventually, we have to realize that we are legal adults and our parents are no longer responsible for us. That responsibility is ours. As a result, we can no longer expect our parents to cover our nights out, trips with friends, car insurance, transportation costs, trips to international and domestic destinations and other personal expenses. College is a time where young adults become responsible adults. Financial responsibility is a cornerstone of becoming a responsible adult, and this is only taught through experience. Therefore, students need to gain work experience throughout their collegiate years so it allows them to see what they can expect in their future. Life is not always about parties and hanging out. But in order to maximize these fun activities, we can start by finding a constructive way to fund them.

Enjoying college is similar to a meritocracy. The power to enjoy college life is vested in those on their ability to fund these experiences that enhance the collegiate experience. Fun-filled memories are not something to which college students are entitled. In order to enjoy college, we need to find a way to earn money, as it can be used to supply us with wonderful experiences that our time at Villanova may bring. 

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