Money Matters: Recession Confessions

Everywhere you turn, there is someone talking about the economy. Whether it’s the latest government bailout, dipping magazine revenues or blowout sales at the big department stores, ominous talk of The Recession lurks at every turn.

But in college, it can be hard to tell. For this brief moment in time, we are the lucky ones— the ones whose job it is to sit and learn, whose credit cards very likely bear our parents’ names… hell, we’re the ones for whom there is never, ever a lack of cheap food because, let’s face it, there is no such thing as a campus event without free food.

So what does the College Student’s Recession look like? I’d venture to say it appears in the form of unpaid internships, low babysitting wages, competition for those minimum-wage campus jobs (card swiping, anyone?) and, of course, crowded dining halls as people take advantage of those pre-paid meal plans. Most importantly, while we may not be salaried workers, impending graduations in the next year or two or three means the job hunt will be on, and no where is the recession more present than in the search for employment.

So what can we do? A few basic tips:

Save money. Use that meal plan, hit up those events with free food (especially those that feature somethingother than pizza), buy your books online instead of at the campus bookstore, and for God sakes, rein in the Starbucks habit!

Make money. Professors have kids— they need babysitters. Also, there are probably tons of jobs on campus, like swiping cards at the gym, working in a department office, doing summer research, or working as a campus tour guide. Sure it’s minimum wage, but even $30 a week makes a difference.

Plan ahead. I truly believe internships are the number one way to prepare yourself for the post-college job hunt. Some of these are paid, but increasingly, most are not. While for some this may make a summer internship prohibitive, there are other ways: check if your school has grants available (usually through your Career Development office) or seek outside scholarships. Search online by industry to see what available. (For example, if you’re looking to work at a magazine, consider applying for the Ed2010 Trust Fund scholarship, which gives a student with a mag internship $1,000!)

And remember, when you feel the money pressures growing: we college students are the lucky ones. Now doesn’t that put going to class in a different light?

Hey—do you like reading our Chicsters’ thoughts and advice about college life? Then you’ll want to check out U Chic: The College Girl’s Guide to Everything, available on Amazon and at your local bookstores!

Head on over to 1,000 Dreams Fund to learn how to get funding for your dreams!