Author Topic: Mustachian college life???  (Read 4880 times)

sonia

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Mustachian college life???
« on: April 19, 2013, 09:03:27 PM »
Hey, I'm 19 and fairly new to the Mustachian life, but loving it so far.

 I start college this fall, and need to make a decision on whether I will live on campus or not. I have saved some for college and plan on continuing to work on weekends through college, but if I do live on campus I will need to take out a loan of about $5,000-$7,000 per year. However my sister has offered me the option of living with her. I could stay with her rent free in exchange for helping her out with housework and taking care of her kids. If I choose this option, I could save quite a bit of money on rent, food, and campus expenses. I might even be able to make it through college without any debt at all. However I feel like I would be missing out on quite a bit of the college experience by not living on campus. I

 So my question is, is it Mustachian to sacrifice a treasured dream of the ideal college life in the name of future financial freedom? Or should I take out the loan and  just trust I will be able to pay it off after I graduate? By the way my major is social work. Thanks in advance.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2013, 09:18:45 PM by sonia »

icefr

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Re: Mustachian college life???
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2013, 09:42:05 PM »
What some of my friends did was to live on campus the first year and then live off campus in later years to save money. That seemed a reasonable balance between ease of meeting new lots of new people and cost savings.

goldengrove

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Re: Mustachian college life???
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2013, 09:42:55 PM »
First of all, congratulations-starting college is definitely an exciting change!

A couple questions to think about:
What is the size/living culture of your college? Does your college have organizations/activities you can become involved in? I went to a large university where it was typical to live off campus (even freshman year) because there simply wasn't enough room. Another friend went to a private college where it was the norm to stay on campus all four years. For the private college, community/friends were made partly through living on campus; at my university
I made friends through my major(s) and organizations, not through living arrangements. 

How close to campus does your sister live? Transportation is something to consider.

Finally, don't assume that there's one "ideal college life." The college experience is something you create, not something you're entitled to. Not trying to sound like a jerk, but I've seen personally how attempting to live some "ideal college life" has gotten people into a lot of trouble.

In general, if there is such a big cost difference between the two, I would be in favor of living off-campus, as I don't see living on campus as providing enough benefits to warrant borrowing so much money. Or, as icefr suggested, perhaps you can live on-campus one year and then live off-campus the next. Anyways, hope this helps, and best of luck on your new adventure!

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Mustachian college life???
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2013, 09:47:18 PM »
If it were me, it would kind of depend on what the town was like.  I would have real trouble going $20,000 into debt.

Deimyts

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Re: Mustachian college life???
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2013, 10:33:16 PM »
How far away does your sister live? Living on campus is nice, but if your sister is close by I would take that, hands down. I graduated fairly recently, and when I was in school, I lived on campus for 2 years, and off for another 2. My parents were close by, but far enough away that commuting back and forth to school would have been a serious drain on productivity; I don't think that I would have passed my classes, considering all the all-nighters I pulled in the library.

My school required us to live on-campus for the first to years, but the second two, I got a houses and apartments, shared with a bunch of friends. In my opinion, that was far better than the dorms - It was still close to school, so you have the convenience and "college atomosphere," but you don't have to deal with RAs, unreasonable regulations, or as many inflated costs. Plus, most of our dorms didn't have kitchens. It was a joy to finally be able to cook with something other than a microwave. If your sister is close by, I'd take that. If not, live with your sister until you can find some roommates, get a part-time job and move into a house closer to campus.

sonia

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Re: Mustachian college life???
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2013, 10:59:16 PM »
If I live with my sister, I would actually be going to a satellite college of the main one. It would be just a 10 minute drive from my sister's but it's very small and has very little community, organizations, etc. So that's part of my concern. The main college is an hour drive from my sister, but would be much larger and more community minded. Thanks for the advice so far. Thanks especially, goldengrove, for what you said about there not being one ideal college life. Good reality check for me! :)
« Last Edit: April 19, 2013, 11:00:49 PM by sonia »

Deimyts

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Re: Mustachian college life???
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2013, 11:11:37 PM »
Here's something else to consider: College is only going to be a short period of your life. It is a mistake to believe that it will be the best, or something you will miss out on if you don't go into debt.

I did the opposite: I foolishly went to an expensive four-year school, and am now barely keeping afloat. There are many great things that came of it - I met a lot of wonderful people, including my wife, and I learned a great deal. But I'm going to be paying for that for years.

Don't go into debt just for the 'experience.' If you can pay for your living expenses by getting a job, then there's nothing that should stop you from going to the main school. If you can't, go to the satellite and live with your sister. The rest of your life will thank you.

That said, you should also not let the fact of going to the satellite restrict you from having a good time - There are wonderful people everywhere - sometimes it just takes more effort to connect with them.

Nudelkopf

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Re: Mustachian college life???
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2013, 12:37:54 AM »
If you're the kind of person who will make friends at college, you're probably going to make them whether you're living on campus or not. I lived on campus for 3 years, and I don't see any of them any more (2 years later). Perhaps you could join clubs or sports or whatever on the main campus, if you only have to travel there once or twice a week.

mprithibi

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Re: Mustachian college life???
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2013, 10:20:28 PM »
Hey Sonia,

I am a sophomore in college and I am a commuter at my university. I live with my parents and go to college every day. If I lived on campus, I would have paid an additional $16,000 PER YEAR! The numbers just did not make sense to me. I am still in debt because I go to a liberal arts college, but not outrageously. I suggest you think lifestyle. Are you going to college to get a degree that'll earn you money or for a diluted experience? I have friends who are $60,000 in debt and are working at Starbucks after they graduate.

Get a degree that makes sense to you, get decent grades, work every summer, and save save save.

Nords

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Re: Mustachian college life???
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2013, 10:59:42 AM »
However I feel like I would be missing out on quite a bit of the college experience by not living on campus. I
 So my question is, is it Mustachian to sacrifice a treasured dream of the ideal college life in the name of future financial freedom? Or should I take out the loan and  just trust I will be able to pay it off after I graduate? By the way my major is social work. Thanks in advance.
Depends on what kind of "college experience" lifestyle you'll be able to live at your sister's place.

Our daughter lived in the dorm for the first two years.  Her "benefits" included a fifth-floor room with a sketchy elevator and non-secure bicycle storage.  Also included were the drunks, the stoners, the amateur DJs entertaining everyone with their high-volume sound systems, the guys who enjoyed pulling fire alarms at 2 AM Saturday morning (mandatory evacuation), and the various bodily fluids in the stairwells.  One year some guys even emptied a one-gallon gasoline container into what they "thought" was a storm drain, but was actually the building's ventilation inlet plenum.  It was 1 AM Sunday morning.  Luckily there were no sparks and the gasoline smell woke almost everyone up fairly quickly, but it was a mighty cold February for those evacuation hijinks.  Then there were the usual issues of eight young adults sharing a two-toilet suite, and a roommate who was on an almost polar-opposite diurnal sleep cycle.

This is at one of the nation's top-ten universities for engineering, music, and liberal arts, in a large city.

Last year she's lived the "OC" (off-campus) life.  She's in an apartment building two miles from campus and bicycles almost every day.  She has a stash locker on campus for textbooks, gear, snacks, clothing, and whatever else she doesn't want to haul on the bike.  She eats 2-3 meals/weekday at the student dining facility and either has potluck groups over to her place on weekends or eats out.  She generally stays on the campus from 5 AM to 10 PM on weekdays and might crash on a friend's dorm-room floor if necessary.  (Only happened once so far.)  Her apartment building has fences, gates, a parking garage, secure bicycle storage, and a pool.  It has better door locks than the dorm.  They have noise rules.  There are no midwatch fire alarms.  She also has a kitchen, fewer roommates spread out over more square footage, and no spooky stairwells.  They never run out of hot water.  On-campus friends prefer to come over to her place because they can cook and use the fridge and stream videos without having to share the common areas with a couple dozen other dorm rats. 

Unlike the dorm, she doesn't have to move out of her OC apartment during the summer break.  She can live in it during the Christmas break if she wants to.  During those semester breaks, she can come & go on campus without having to worry about whether she's allowed to be "in the dorm".

She lived OC while she was still the student facility manager for her dorm, and her college has active OC groups on the campus network plus on Facebook.  There's even an OC rep on the student government.  She has plenty of social contact and enjoys all the campus activities.  She says she's never goin' back to the dorm life.  She's also learned how to set up an apartment, handle leases and deposits and utilities, run a grocery/cooking operation, handle a budget, and generally how to live a post-college life.

That "on-campus college experience" might be over-rated even if it's free.  It's definitely a bad deal if you have to pay for it.  It's a horrible deal if you have to borrow money to pay for it...
« Last Edit: April 21, 2013, 11:03:19 AM by Nords »

YoungAndWise

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Re: Mustachian college life???
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2013, 11:13:22 AM »
However I feel like I would be missing out on quite a bit of the college experience by not living on campus. I
 So my question is, is it Mustachian to sacrifice a treasured dream of the ideal college life in the name of future financial freedom? Or should I take out the loan and  just trust I will be able to pay it off after I graduate? By the way my major is social work. Thanks in advance.
Depends on what kind of "college experience" lifestyle you'll be able to live at your sister's place.

Our daughter lived in the dorm for the first two years.  Her "benefits" included a fifth-floor room with a sketchy elevator and non-secure bicycle storage.  Also included were the drunks, the stoners, the amateur DJs entertaining everyone with their high-volume sound systems, the guys who enjoyed pulling fire alarms at 2 AM Saturday morning (mandatory evacuation), and the various bodily fluids in the stairwells.  One year some guys even emptied a one-gallon gasoline container into what they "thought" was a storm drain, but was actually the building's ventilation inlet plenum.  It was 1 AM Sunday morning.  Luckily there were no sparks and the gasoline smell woke almost everyone up fairly quickly, but it was a mighty cold February for those evacuation hijinks.  Then there were the usual issues of eight young adults sharing a two-toilet suite, and a roommate who was on an almost polar-opposite diurnal sleep cycle.

This is at one of the nation's top-ten universities for engineering, music, and liberal arts, in a large city.

Last year she's lived the "OC" (off-campus) life.  She's in an apartment building two miles from campus and bicycles almost every day.  She has a stash locker on campus for textbooks, gear, snacks, clothing, and whatever else she doesn't want to haul on the bike.  She eats 2-3 meals/weekday at the student dining facility and either has potluck groups over to her place on weekends or eats out.  She generally stays on the campus from 5 AM to 10 PM on weekdays and might crash on a friend's dorm-room floor if necessary.  (Only happened once so far.)  Her apartment building has fences, gates, a parking garage, secure bicycle storage, and a pool.  It has better door locks than the dorm.  They have noise rules.  There are no midwatch fire alarms.  She also has a kitchen, fewer roommates spread out over more square footage, and no spooky stairwells.  They never run out of hot water.  On-campus friends prefer to come over to her place because they can cook and use the fridge and stream videos without having to share the common areas with a couple dozen other dorm rats. 

Unlike the dorm, she doesn't have to move out of her OC apartment during the summer break.  She can live in it during the Christmas break if she wants to.  During those semester breaks, she can come & go on campus without having to worry about whether she's allowed to be "in the dorm".

She lived OC while she was still the student facility manager for her dorm, and her college has active OC groups on the campus network plus on Facebook.  There's even an OC rep on the student government.  She has plenty of social contact and enjoys all the campus activities.  She says she's never goin' back to the dorm life.  She's also learned how to set up an apartment, handle leases and deposits and utilities, run a grocery/cooking operation, handle a budget, and generally how to live a post-college life.

That "on-campus college experience" might be over-rated even if it's free.  It's definitely a bad deal if you have to pay for it.  It's a horrible deal if you have to borrow money to pay for it...

I know I'm not the OP for this thread but:
This is enlightening information, that is for sure. Hopefully it won't be as bad as that since I am going to a smaller school in a smaller town, in a dorm just for students who are part of the Honors program. Nonetheless, good information on the downside of the dorm life and on-campus experience.

mm1970

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Re: Mustachian college life???
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2013, 11:40:57 AM »
However I feel like I would be missing out on quite a bit of the college experience by not living on campus. I
 So my question is, is it Mustachian to sacrifice a treasured dream of the ideal college life in the name of future financial freedom? Or should I take out the loan and  just trust I will be able to pay it off after I graduate? By the way my major is social work. Thanks in advance.
Depends on what kind of "college experience" lifestyle you'll be able to live at your sister's place.

Our daughter lived in the dorm for the first two years.  Her "benefits" included a fifth-floor room with a sketchy elevator and non-secure bicycle storage.  Also included were the drunks, the stoners, the amateur DJs entertaining everyone with their high-volume sound systems, the guys who enjoyed pulling fire alarms at 2 AM Saturday morning (mandatory evacuation), and the various bodily fluids in the stairwells.  One year some guys even emptied a one-gallon gasoline container into what they "thought" was a storm drain, but was actually the building's ventilation inlet plenum.  It was 1 AM Sunday morning.  Luckily there were no sparks and the gasoline smell woke almost everyone up fairly quickly, but it was a mighty cold February for those evacuation hijinks.  Then there were the usual issues of eight young adults sharing a two-toilet suite, and a roommate who was on an almost polar-opposite diurnal sleep cycle.

This is at one of the nation's top-ten universities for engineering, music, and liberal arts, in a large city.

Last year she's lived the "OC" (off-campus) life.  She's in an apartment building two miles from campus and bicycles almost every day.  She has a stash locker on campus for textbooks, gear, snacks, clothing, and whatever else she doesn't want to haul on the bike.  She eats 2-3 meals/weekday at the student dining facility and either has potluck groups over to her place on weekends or eats out.  She generally stays on the campus from 5 AM to 10 PM on weekdays and might crash on a friend's dorm-room floor if necessary.  (Only happened once so far.)  Her apartment building has fences, gates, a parking garage, secure bicycle storage, and a pool.  It has better door locks than the dorm.  They have noise rules.  There are no midwatch fire alarms.  She also has a kitchen, fewer roommates spread out over more square footage, and no spooky stairwells.  They never run out of hot water.  On-campus friends prefer to come over to her place because they can cook and use the fridge and stream videos without having to share the common areas with a couple dozen other dorm rats. 

Unlike the dorm, she doesn't have to move out of her OC apartment during the summer break.  She can live in it during the Christmas break if she wants to.  During those semester breaks, she can come & go on campus without having to worry about whether she's allowed to be "in the dorm".

She lived OC while she was still the student facility manager for her dorm, and her college has active OC groups on the campus network plus on Facebook.  There's even an OC rep on the student government.  She has plenty of social contact and enjoys all the campus activities.  She says she's never goin' back to the dorm life.  She's also learned how to set up an apartment, handle leases and deposits and utilities, run a grocery/cooking operation, handle a budget, and generally how to live a post-college life.

That "on-campus college experience" might be over-rated even if it's free.  It's definitely a bad deal if you have to pay for it.  It's a horrible deal if you have to borrow money to pay for it...
boy this sounds familiar...she didn't go to Carnegie Mellon did she?  Or maybe colleges are all just the same...

Joel

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Re: Mustachian college life???
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2013, 05:23:27 PM »
Make sure to be outgoing while in college and socialize. Not everyone has to live in the dorms or on-campus, but many students who stay at home and commute to school throughout college miss out on many of the learning opportunities that being out on your own actually offer. In fact, I know in my field (public accounting), it is not always GPA that matters. Most companies require a 3.2-3.4 GPA to even turn your application in, but beyond that hiring is based purely on personality. Be involved in clubs and organizations, specifically organizations for your major or area of study, be an active member, become an officer. Make sure to do something besides just being an excellent college student. Work a part-time job, be an officer in a club, and go to school. Having a unique background that makes your resume stand out will get you the job when you graduate. You have to be able to walk into a career fair and be able to start a conversation with anyone in there. It has to be normal, it can't be rehearsed. Recruiters will see so many students with good GPAs, that you really have to make yourself stand out.

This is my first post here, but I'm a recent college graduate (Bachelors in May 2011, MBA in May 2012) from a California State University. I had a job offer lined up 18 months before graduating because I was involved early and had a unique work experience (wildland firefighter), combined with a good GPA (3.7 range). There were students at my college with better GPAs that did not get better job offers because they had nothing to make them stand out. There were students that were more active that did not get better job offers, because they didn't have the required GPA. I was able to get multiple job offers in my field, and it was because of being forced to interact with people in an uncomfortable environment. Making yourself go out of your comfort zone. My college is also known as a party school with a big campus community - everyone lives there. However, our accounting graduates had no problem getting job offers with a decent GPA (3.0+). They were able to socialize and manage school, and juggle everything together. This is much different than the campus 2 hours away that is primarily a commuter school. The students often live at home and have never had to get outside of their comfort zone. Students at the commuter school with the same GPA struggle to get the same job offers because they can not socialize. Not all of them, but many of them come off as awkward to the recruiters and end up being too rehearsed. Needless to say, college is about learning, going out of your comfort zone, growing up, finding your future passion, and networking. You never know where your classmates will end up. I have classmates at all of the big 4 accounting firms, many regional and small firms, other friends at Google, SAP, etc. You never know where those connections will lead.

Be genuine. Network early. Get involved early. Be outgoing. Meet new college friends. Work part-time and don't waste money. Lastly, enjoy yourself. You will be working for several years after graduating college. Have some fun while you are young. You are likely still leaps and bounds ahead of many of your peers.

Nords

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Re: Mustachian college life???
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2013, 06:19:48 PM »
boy this sounds familiar...she didn't go to Carnegie Mellon did she?  Or maybe colleges are all just the same...
Nah, Rice University in Houston.  But CMU was on the short list.

In 2006, I think CMU was the first campus in the nation to be completely covered with WiFi.  Their laundry machines would also text you when the load was finished.

mm1970

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Re: Mustachian college life???
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2013, 09:21:05 PM »
boy this sounds familiar...she didn't go to Carnegie Mellon did she?  Or maybe colleges are all just the same...
Nah, Rice University in Houston.  But CMU was on the short list.

In 2006, I think CMU was the first campus in the nation to be completely covered with WiFi.  Their laundry machines would also text you when the load was finished.
That's hilarious!  Oh how times have changed (I graduated in 1992, no texting laundry machines then!)