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31      From 8th Street, With Thoughts

  Is college life all that? Is after-college life all that grand?

Walking around downtown, I have never seen more students anywhere else but the 8th Street area in Union Square. Besides the good old NYU (New York University), there are The Cooper Union, Parsons, New York Studio School, not to mention other schools such as Kindergarten, Elementary and High Schools.

Up to this day, I still have no idea how the students did it. School loans? Scholarships? Two part-time-after-school jobs? Hand-me-down money?

Therefore a discussion on college education surfaced between me and a friend, an NYU student. The question is how anyone does it.

Being a college student of NYU, my friend has to literally juggle between school work, part-time job and leisure. The problem does not lie so much on the lack of time of doing other things besides school, but it lies mostly on finance. After paying an annual tuition fee of more than 30 grand and boardinghouse that costs over 10 grand yearly, other obligatory expenses such as books, Metro Card, meals and personal expenses. This is, of course, based on local resident’s pricetag. Makes you think how much an international student has to fork out, right?

People say ‘Reality bites’. I will say, ‘College bites harder’. Moreover, if you are dealing with college education in a city with sales tax of 8.625%; when you work, whether part-time or full-time, your pay is still deducted by federal, state and city taxes; when lunch costs you at least US$8 without a drink, it simply gets the hard-earned dough down to the drain pretty easily. How about savings? What savings?

It is good enough if you do not end up being on the streets. It would even be better if you can receive student loan for each of your college years, maybe even a scholarship. Of course this applies to anyone who is in college anywhere, not only in New York City, not only in West Lafayette, not even in J-town. Nobody says that college education comes cheap.

At the end, certain question comes up, such as if all the money spent on college education equals the amount of money we will earn from a future job. It might sound absurd now to put on thousands of dollars on college education each year. It might take years to pay off the school loans. But believe you me, it is worth every single penny.

Education follows you everywhere. It cannot be taken away from you, ever!