By Giovanni Salinas
There comes a time in our adolescence where we decide to become ambitious and goal-oriented. The youth of every generation is filled with dreams and aspirations. However, on the path to their success, they are often faced with challenges that stops them from reaching their peak. High school teachers always said college was a very challenging part of life, but they never really offered a survival guide, a how-to encyclopedia for all the challenges faced at the university level.
Therefore, it’s easy for the average college student to complain, which usually leads to an elderly family member boasting about working three jobs and being a full-time student. Upon further analysis, however, it’s evident that times have changed and so has college. A current college student, Sophia Lewis, and Dr. Patricia Uribe, the Principal of The Texas Academy, agreed to share their journey through college in order to compare college then and now.
The financial aspect of college is definitely the number one obstacle that the average-college student faces. This shouldn’t be the case. Students shouldn’t have to put their dreams on hold because of money. When asked about the biggest struggle as a college student, Uribe stated that it was indeed money.
“My parents didn’t have money to go to college, but I knew I wanted to go,” said Uribe. Uribe didn’t know about student loans and knew that she wouldn’t qualify for financial aid. She also shared that she needed to take out bank loans in order to attend college and purchase books. On the other hand, Lewis stated that she did qualify for partial financial aid but the rest had to be paid out of pocket, “It’s difficult for an 18-year-old to handle all these things without no one ever preparing you for it.” Because money is a tough struggle, college students often turn to a skill that many people lack: resourcefulness.
In the case of Uribe, she turned to investing in a hair clipper and without prior knowledge, she became a self-taught stylist. “I’d do a quick little trim and get three dollars and buy groceries,” she told us.
It’s clear that the cost of living has gone up because for a current college student such as Lewis, she works part-time at a retail store and uses that money for personal groceries and gas only. However, gas is more expensive than it used to be. Therefore, when an elder family member argues that it’s possible to work three jobs and go to school, it’s really not fair because the cost of living now is higher than it was back then.
A struggle not many talk about is the concept of being homesick or missing your family. Both Uribe and Lewis claimed that this is definitely a top issue that you don’t think will affect you until you’re in college. Both went to a school around the same distance from Laredo and when asked about how they would travel from their campus to their home, they each said that they would pitch in gas money to someone who would travel to Laredo with a small group of people, so they both had the same idea. What changed though, was the price of gas. Uribe would pitch in around $5 and Lewis had to pitch in roughly $15.
There’s really no need in saying that times have changed, it’s an overused expression, it’s cliché; however, reality is reality, and the fact of the matter is that it’s not what it used to be. The current college student faces the same struggles as a past college student, give or take. Both students at one point will eventually have to sell a book to have money so they can buy food. Tuition and books were expensive then, and now they are even more. It is what it is. However, this shouldn’t stop a student from reaching success, if you’re in this position, it’s important for you to know that you’re not alone. There’s thousands more like you. Just look to your left or to your right and you might find one of them.