Friday, March 23, 2018

One invitation is all it took

It wasn't supposed to end up this way. I had my mind set on attending a different state school. My mom and I even bought matching sweatshirts. I really thought I had it all figured out after visiting different schools in both city and rural settings.

My best friend attended Bloomsburg University and invited me to come visit him one weekend during my senior year of high school. At the time, Bloomsburg was a school I had no interest in, but little did I know that invitation would change my life forever.

Here I am, a BU senior (#BUClass2018) with only seven weeks of college left. Looking back, I can’t even imagine what life would be like if I hadn’t attended BU. I wouldn’t have the education I do now, the mentors who have prepared me for my future, or the unbreakable friendships that shaped me and supported me these past four years. Yes, I might have gotten all of these experiences if I did attend another school, but I honestly wouldn’t trade my time as a Bloomsburg student for a second.

When arriving to Bloomsburg to visit my friend, I made him give me a personal tour. After being there for less than an hour, I could just feel that this was going to be my home, a feeling I did not have with any other school I toured. I returned home and researched my major, and BU offered the perfect track for my career interests.

I applied right away and soon enough I was accepted into the program. I mentioned this to my parents, for they still thought I was planning to attend the other school. We planned an official tour and just like that, they saw it as my home as well.

On Husky Decision Day, it finally became real!

With only a handful of months left being a high school student, I had to prepare myself for a huge change. On Decision Day, I met up with my future roommate, who is now a lifelong friend. This was the last time I would be at BU before becoming an official student in the fall of 2014.

As I prepare to graduate, I reflect on what I’ve been taught many times now. We plan our futures around what we think is best for us, but life always finds a way of guiding us in the direction we are truly meant to go. Life guided me right into BU’s arms, and I couldn’t be more thankful. This experience has led me to trust the process and believe life always has a way of working out.

— Megan Hawbecker, senior mass communications major #HuskyLife

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Saving money, investing in good habits

One thing I will admit to anyone who asks is that I’m not great with money. Sure, I have a little in my savings account right now, but that wasn’t always the case.

Take this past fall for example; in September alone I spent almost $600. Looking at that bank statement broke me to tears. How in the WORLD had I spent that much money? What could I possibly have spent it on? The answer: complete and utter nonsense.

Having a budget is a great way to keep yourself from wasting money and makes you feel a little guilty when you do. Through a lot of trial and error, I've created a simple way to chart my spending and even save some of the money I’m making.

Here’s how it works

Start by looking at your bank statement from the last month. Categorize your spending and write down how much money you spent in each category.

Create as many or as little categories as you want, don’t be afraid to be specific. Don’t forget to include any money you receive from your parents, working a job or taking out of your savings. I suggest making a chart that looks something like this:
  • Gas: $30 
  • Groceries: $50 
  • Going Out: $25 
  • Takeout: $15 
  • Coffee: $10 
  • Necessities (books, utilities etc.): $100 
  • Total money spent $230 
  • Total money received $250
Next, estimate how much money you will receive in a certain amount of time, whether it be monthly or bi-weekly. Add this amount to the bottom of your chart so you can keep track of the money you have leftover at the end of your set time period:
    Total money made: $250
Look at the list of categories from last month. Condense, remove and adjust these categories so they’re realistic to what you can afford. Do you really need to budget in a Marshalls trip every week? Probably not. Do you need groceries? Definitely.

Taking into account the money you’ve spent in these categories in the past, set a dollar limit that you’ll allow yourself to spend in each category. For example, if you spent $50 on groceries, it’s probably a good idea to give yourself a little cushion, so set your limit to $70.

At the end of the time period, your chart should look something like this:
  • Gas: $15/$30 
  • Groceries: $70/$60 
  • Going Out: $10/$15 
  • Takeout: $5/$15 
  • Necessities: $100/$100 
  • Total money made $250 
  • Total money spent $200 
  • Total money leftover $75
With this budget in place, you should be able to save money and start good habits for when you graduate and have bills (and student loans) to pay. Get started early! If I could do one thing in my college career differently, it would be this.

— Danielle Backowski, senior mass communications major #HuskyLife