Money Isn’t Everything | Teen Ink

Money Isn’t Everything MAG

November 6, 2013
By nikiiiZ GOLD, Chicago, Illinois
nikiiiZ GOLD, Chicago, Illinois
12 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Being a senior in high school, I've almost gotten used to talking about college an average of five times a day. Don't get me wrong: I am very invested in my future, and I actually like thinking about where I'll end up next year. But there's one college topic that I never like talking about: money.

I come from a middle-class family of six that functions on one income. Before my sisters and I were born, my parents obviously had more money to spend, although they weren't rich. They had nice cars, went on nice vacations, and bought a bunch of nice stuff. But once my sisters and I arrived, this luxurious lifestyle ended.

Today, I wouldn't say we are struggling to make ends meet, but I'd be lying if I said it's easy. My parents have had to make a lot of sacrifices. They have begun to warn me that I shouldn't “end up in the same place they're in.”

One of their biggest goals is to convince me to go to the college that is the cheapest. Forget going where I feel comfortable; all that matters is the money. This debate was fueled by my desire to attend a university that costs $45,000 per year, rather than one costing $16,500.

To me, it's not about the money; it's about my education and the overall experience. I want to attend a college where I feel comfortable, where I can see myself wandering the campus and laughing with friends, where I can become a successful and independent woman. The cost doesn't matter as much to me. I will be paying for my own education, and while I do understand how much more debt I will have when I graduate, I still prefer the more expensive university.

My parents don't agree with my logic and often call me silly. I understand their practicality. What I don't understand is their obsession with money. To them, money is the only thing that matters – not just regarding college, but in all aspects of life. And while I agree that money is important, I do not believe that it should be the highest priority.

After one of our debates about college, my dad asked me, “Wouldn't you rather go to a cheaper college and buy a nice new car after you graduate?” Of course not! I couldn't care less what kind of car I drive.

I don't understand people who desire the best car, the best house, the best clothes, the best of everything. What about the desire for a wealth of knowledge, or other types of intangible wealth? What about desiring the best education, with the best friends and family members supporting you? Aren't these more important than the kind of car you drive or the brand of clothing you wear?

I'm sick of the idea that money should dictate every aspect of our lives. We spend so much time thinking about how we should or shouldn't spend it when we could be doing more important things. Material wealth should never take precedence over intangible wealth. Why is it that we sometimes rank our many pieces of technology higher than the value of friendship, an education, or a healthy lifestyle?

Perhaps, years from now, when I've graduated with a nursing degree from Valparaiso University or Marquette University, I will be $100,000 in debt. Perhaps my parents will shake their heads and say “I told you so.” Perhaps I'll think twice about what my parents told me. But right now I'd rather focus on the quality of my education, which, while it may be intangible, is surely of great value.

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