Looking Deeper: Finances & College
Updated: Mar 11, 2021
Going to college is a drastic transition in a person’s life. Expenses and finances are a major struggle during college. Many students end up wishing they had done more to better prepare for college.
Jakayly Sealy, a freshmen animal science major, attended West Texas A&M University in the fall of 2019. Due to some unfortunate events, Sealy was left to figure out how she would pay for school on her own. She did everything that she could think of in order to pay for her fall semester including visiting the financial aid and scholarship offices and working long hours at a job. Sealy also started a custom wild rag business that gets her some extra cash. Wild rags are silk scarves, and Sealy custom makes each one. How amazing is that! She would wholesale her wild rags to western wear stores and soon enough many students on campus wanted some made.
“A lot of people had seen me wearing them to class and were asking about them, so I thought why not sell them while I’m here.” Sealy said.
Her friends even helped her advertise her wild rags by giving out business cards and posting on social media. They did everything they could think of to get her name out there. Her business helped Sealy to afford school. Being a freshmen, Sealy decided to leave WTAMU for a while and take her basics online at a more affordable college, until she could come back.
“You kind of gotta look at your situation and evaluate everything and figure out what’s the best plan to reach your end goal,” Sealy said.
Andrew Deluzio, a senior finance major at WTAMU, similarly struggled with expenses. He has to pay for his rent, as well as any other leisure items he might want.
“I wish I would have had the knowledge of what’s to come, so that I would have been more prepared,” Deluzio Said.
Before Deluzio got a job he got creative with ways that he made some extra cash. One of the ways he did this was by selling plasma. Plasma is a part of the blood that transports nutrients, hormones, and protein to body parts that are in need of it. What exactly happens during the donation process? After the blood is drawn, there is a machine that separates the plasma from the blood.
“You could go twice a week and would get paid 50 dollars each time you’d donate,” Deluzio said.
It was an easy way to get some quick cash. While these students used uncommon methods of making money during college such as selling plasma and wild rags seemed to work for Deluzio and Sealy, some students settle for the more traditional ways.
Andria Quick, a junior musical education major, her recent experience with college has been a series of trials and tribulations. She tried financial aid, scholarships, and getting a job, which was hard to do as a musical major because of the grueling hours that it demanded. She tried everything to get help, but it seemed like no one could.
“The way that my schedule is, finding jobs that could accommodate for the time conflicts are rare,” Quick said.
Having to worry about and handle all of these different things on your own with no help in sight can be mentally draining.
“I shouldn’t have to wear myself thin, to attend college,” Quick said.
College comes with its share of challenges but if students keep in mind the goal that they want to achieve, then they can do it.
“Think about the goal you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it,” Quick said.
Students have experienced firsthand the struggles that come with college and have learned to overcome those obstacles. People who have worked for the college for many years also have a unique insight into these struggles and the ways students can financially better themselves for college.
Dayna Schertler, Director of Student Counseling Services at WT, explained that in their offices they see many students where finances are a significant stressor. Whether they are stressed for their parents or themselves.
“Maybe it’s a good idea to take 12 hours and get your basics at a less expensive place, and work some,” Schertler said.
There is a lot of pressure put on students to finish all at once, they should take their time and figure out what works best for them.
“If you don’t know what you want to do it is not necessarily the best thing to just go all in,” Schertler said.
Marian Giesecke, Director of Financial Aid Services at WT, explains that many students come to college and don’t think about all of the expenses that they will have to cover. There are some ways to lower many of the expenses.
“One good way you can lower your expenses is to become an R.A.,” Giesecke said.
She advises that students apply early for scholarships and financial aid, and turn in everything that is requested as soon as possible.
“Find out what you have and start to decide how you are going to pay the difference,” Giesecke said.
The important thing to remember when attending college is that there are always options.