The Burden of Being Broke | The Triangle

The Burden of Being Broke

Photograph by Ben Ahrens for The Triangle.

There is a typical stereotype that almost all college students are “broke.” I am here to tell you that this is not just a stereotype and that for some people this is the ominous cloud hovering over their heads while they try their hardest to make college worthwhile.

Being broke while in college is displayed in the media regularly, in movies and on TV commercials; it is a concept used so regularly that many people have just accepted it as fact. However, the term is thrown around very loosely and often undermines the reality that some of us have no money and are still going to school full time.

A college course load is difficult to manage, regardless of major or concentration. What isn’t talked about is the overwhelming pressure that having no money puts on an already stressed young adult.

There are so many college students whose financial aid doesn’t cover full costs, whose parents do not help with tuition, who have to pay their own rent, forcing them to work a full or part-time job, all while having to manage good academic standing.

Drexel is one of the most expensive private universities in Pennsylvania for both in-state and out-of-state tuition. That being said, there is  an overwhelming number of wealthy students who attend school here. For many of those students, paying tuition or rent is never an issue because their parents or grandparents pay, or because it is simply not their problem to worry about.

On the other hand, there is still a percentage of students, myself included, who have to worry about financing school while also focusing on their academics. There is little to no understanding from wealthier students, as they cannot comprehend why others need to work or pay their own bills.

According to Forbes Magazine, the current student loan debt for 2019 is at $1.52 trillion. There are 44.7 million people in this country right now that are unable to afford college outright. Affording college is not something new that students need to be aware of; there are people our parents’ ages still paying back their loans while also trying to live their lives to the fullest. It is a difficult and overbearing part of life, but it is also calming when you are not alone in going through it.

The stress that putting myself through college has taken on me is absurd. Every month, I have to budget my rent, loan payments, car insurance and obviously leave room for food and extra necessary items.

I cannot always afford a night out to eat or a shopping trip to the city, but that doesn’t mean that I am worth any less than my wealthier friends. No one really talks openly about the burden that putting yourself through school can be on your mental and physical state.

In the prime years of our lives, college students should be striving to enjoy themselves and reduce stress. It is important, especially while at Drexel, in an environment designed for fun and excitement, that we give ourselves and each other a break.

Be empathetic and kind to each other. You do not always know another person’s life situation or what they are tackling outside of their class schedule.