These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of 407apartments.com or any of our advertising partners.
If you're like most college students enjoying life at The University of Central Florida, comfort is king; but it comes at a premium. A premium you might not have when you're heading off to college to your first UCF apartment. While it's tempting to want to portray that we're living in the lap of luxury, I'm going to make the argument in the other direction.
There's never a cool time to be broke - except for college. You're young, just starting out, and no one reasonably expects you to have any sort of wealth. Congratulations! You're a poor college student taking on Orlando and it's awesome. No really, hear me out. I'm going to beak down the top 3 reasons why you should get excited about empty pockets and ramen packets.
- Experiences vs. things: You're in college to meet people and learn stuff. If you do those two things right, you're going to be successful. Then you'll have the rest of your life to gather material wealth and creature comforts.
Life now is all about learning how to hustle and making do with what you have at hand. Hunt for opportunities for free food around campus and at events hosted by your UCF apartment, find free entertainment around town (go explore a museum that you can get into for free with your student ID or join an intramural team at UCF), get good at finding solutions to problems you used to solve with money. Learning those skills now will set you up for a lifetime of confidence in your ability to weather the lean times – and we all go through those.
Take advantage of all that is free for students at UCF. Use your student ID to take free public transportation, get into events on campus, and to hit the on-campus gym that is probably better than any gym you'll become a member of for the rest of your life. Choose an apartment near UCF with amenities you'll actually love and take advantage. Invite friends over to grill hot dogs by the pool on a Saturday afternoon or host a study session for friends in the study rooms. We promise, you're not going to remember if your apartment near UCF had granite countertops or stainless steel appliances, but you will remember the best friends you will make because roommate matching can be awesome.
- Friends vs. Acquaintances: The biggest change between high school and college is famously that no one cares in college. There are 50,000 of you now. You've just spent four years keeping up with the Joneses and crafting a reputation only to see it jettisoned into space. Congrats! You're free!
Celebrate being broke and bond over that experience! Some people will take out credit cards to maintain the illusion they're well off in order to impress others. They're not attracting friends, they're attracting acquaintances; and while those are fine, they're not worth going into debt over. Being broke with a friend means finding the angles and creating lasting memories.
Twenty years later my BFF and I still reminisce over some of the crazy things we did to secure a free lunch. That's the type of bond you'll never have with anyone else as you age.
- Taking on student Debt: Every dollar you spend now has to be paid back. Tuition rates are insane and students are now graduating with more than $30k in debt which takes the rest of their 20's to pay back. In five years, you may not care that you lived at the "fancier" place two blocks down from the more practical choice, especially when you figure that it cost you an extra $600-$1000 per year which you're now paying back with interest. It may not sound like much on its own, but multiply that by four and we're that much further away from being able to buy a house when you'd like to.
Even with family and scholarship assistance the best way to avoid getting into too much debt during school is to embrace your brokenness. Steer into it. Accept it with all of your heart. Own too much stuff and it winds up owning you. Besides maximizing your savings, it will set you on a path for life of properly prioritizing your spending which is worth nearly as much as that degree you're working toward at The University of Central Florida.