College as a Long-Term Investment
One of the pitfalls that some college students face is that they start to treat their refund check as a second (or only) source of income. It is extremely important to be financially literate and understand that the misuse of a refund check can put you in a dangerous situation. To combat the tempting impulse of spending your refund check on non-college related items, think of your refund checks as a means to a greater end. The ultimate prize is not a check every semester; rather, it is a degree from the university you are attending.
Unless you are the next star athlete or a singing sensation, one of the best ways to position yourself for gainful employment is to obtain a college degree. Doing so takes time and effort, and only the motivated and dedicated students earn a college degree. Those students realize that college is an investment. You have to spend or borrow a lot of money upfront in hopes of large paydays later on in life. If you spend and/or borrow wisely, however, you can make sure you are getting the best return on your investment as possible.
Being financially and academically responsible early on in your college experience is paramount to capitalizing on this extremely important investment. Once you get into college, there really are no “do-overs.” If you spend an entire refund check on a new wardrobe, or decide to not complete your essays for a semester, it can have adverse effects on the rest of your life. If you are responsible and determined to work as hard as possible, you will have a much better chance of seeing returns on your investment in college.
There is no real profound advice to provide students on how to be financially and academically successful. You have to find it within yourself to spend your refund check on college related expenses only, to aspire to complete your school work fully and to the best of your ability, and to recognize and appreciate that college is a long-term investment. Doing those three things will provide you with the right mindset to succeed in college, as well life as after college.
By Ryan Laspina
Compliance and Default Prevention Specialist at American Public University System