College has been hard. Not only has it been difficult academically, but also financially. I was fortunate enough to live rent-free for a little over two years of my academic career, but the other two years, I had to fend for myself. It was important to my parents that I learn responsibility and independence. I’ve paid for most of my bills myself, including tuition and other expenses. Fortunately, I had several EE bonds that assisted me in paying for my tuition. I had to work hard for the rest of the money, though.

I hope that this history of my financial journey will better assist you in yours.

I made the decision to go to community college for my first two years to save money. I think that was the best decision that I could have made for myself. I saved money by attending there, my schedule was a lot more flexible to meet my work schedule, and the commute wasn’t too bad. The problem for me was transferring to a university where tuition was about 6 times as much money as I was paying at community college. I was forced to move back in with my parents and to commute to school. Although it’s been difficult, I’m here at the end, preparing to graduate with my undergrad degree. Obviously no two situations are alike, but I’m here to tell you that it’s possible. There are many grant, fellowship, and scholarship opportunities. I was privileged to have access to a lot of resources.

As I look back on what I’ve accomplished, paying for my education and other expenses has been extremely rewarding. Yes, it took a lot of discipline and I wasn’t always happy, but it’s also made me who I am today, very independent and money-conscious. Hopefully, those are skills that I’ll be able to use in the future.

I wrote this entry as a beginning of a series of entries on why it’s important to start early to think of your career pathway. I hope my story inspires you to share your own story and to give feedback. As I said earlier, no two journeys are alike, but I hope to give you the confidence to achieve your goals.