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What I Did Right During College – Meme

Plonkee’s started a positive meme on our best financial decisions during college. While sharing our negative decisions is a good way to reflect on learning experiences (and know that our blogging friends screw up too), it’s definitely nice to focus on something positive.

My best financial move during college: Studying.

While it’s not specifically financial, studying and doing well in all my classes had two major financial repercussions on my life, one then and one now.

First, studying was what kept me going financially in college. (then)

Without at least a 3.6 GPA (just below an A minus), my main scholarship would have been gone. Then below a B, (3.0) most of the rest would have been gone. Also, I’m not sure whether my parents would have continued to provide the rest of my support if I’d started slacking off. They would have taken me back in at home and possibly helped me go to the local, pretty decent state school. But there’d be no point in helping me go somewhere expensive if I wasn’t taking advantage of it.

I know someone who decided to go with student loans instead of his scholarships so that he’d have more free time. I suppose that would have been an option, but I really don’t like debt and I’m glad I graduated debt free.

Second, studying was the entire point of my being there (well, most of it…) and made me more marketable. (now)

Going to college without actually doing well in class is like paying to live in a really expensive gated community for 8 semesters. Sure, it was fun to make friends, I got involved with lots of student groups (at points, too many), I volunteered at a couple places, I worked on campus, etc. But I also graduated summa cum laude. Employers may not care about that, but they will care that I have a) the degree and b) the various bits of knowledge and experience I picked up by not slacking off.

Becoming more marketable is normally a great financial decision.

So there you go. I think I made a lot of smart choices in college (and a lot of dumb ones and some that were just plain mediocre…not dumb but I’d like a do-over). What about you? I’m not really a meme-tagger, so tag yourself or leave your story in the comments?


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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

My Daily Dollars April 23, 2008 at 1:19 pm

I talked about my financial regrets from college in my post “It’s Only Money.” You’re right though, keeping a high GPA meant that I kept my scholarship all through college. So, I’ll happily chalk that up as something good I did in college!

Cath Lawson April 23, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Hi Mrs M – they were smart decisions. My story is not so good as I’ve made a lot of mistakes and took many wrong turns.

But I do agree that learning as much as possible is important and it definitely helps financially. My next plan is to do an MA when I arrive in Australia. I think it will allow me to have a better paying job if my novel bombs and I decide not to start another business over there.

Dad April 23, 2008 at 6:05 pm

You certainly did a superb job in college. And you got the point that so many miss. College is about learning something that you can use later. Frankly, it is not always easy to connect the two. I found that I had learned a way of thinking that helped me in problem solving on my job.

Susan April 23, 2008 at 7:31 pm

Good for you for studying, as well as enjoying college life. I think it’s not best to go to either extreme.

I was a studier, perhaps a little too much. But I did keep two scholarships, and that certainly helped pay for tuition!

I did have fun too. :) I roomed with my best friend, and there were many late night girl talks, turning on music and dancing crazy until the wee hours, or “borrowing” trays from the cafeteria and going “traying” (sledding) down the nearby hill during the winter – harmless mischief like that. :)

My Small Cents April 24, 2008 at 3:33 am

My best financial move during college was actually going to college. I dropped out of highschool when I was fifteen, took a few courses at a jr college and then worked for eight years. Then I went back to school, and finished in three years, magna cum laude.
This was actually a great path for me- had I stayed in high school and followed my peers to college I would not have goten nearly as much out of the experience as I did.
Not to mention that I also wouldn’t have come to France and met my dear hubby!

plonkee April 25, 2008 at 4:54 pm

I have to admit that I didn’t always study that much at Uni, especially in the first year, but the way that things are worked out in the UK, that wasn’t that important.

On the other hand, in the final year of my course, I worked hard and did some things that were completely out of my comfort zone, and I think that was good for my (general) education. Translating papers on complex analysis from French to English is not something I want to do again, but it certainly gave me a lot of confidence.

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