Can I opt out of the fancy gym membership?

Last month, I shared an article that encouraged us to have a plan for dealing with student debt. I think this topic resonated with a lot of people because, let’s face it, many of us are looking for ways to manage our money better and save for the future.

Today I’m sharing a funny, yet revealing, Forbes article entitled Oh, So That’s Why College is So Expensive. As you can probably infer from the title, it cleverly exposes where all of our well earned money is going when students gleefully receive their offers of admission at their colleges or universities of choice and parents begrudgingly pick up the pen to sign their lives away.

The article helps to explain, in a humorous way, why tuition costs are skyrocketing, leading to more and more students having to penny pinch in order to avoid mounting debt.

A quick tour around a modern campus these days and you’ll see state of the art facilities, new buildings popping up at every corner, and all the amenities of a trendy little village.  We are accustomed to having these modern conveniences around us, and campuses are bound to evolve with the times. Especially if these upgrades make the campus look more appealing to wide-eyed students taking their first tour of college life.

But at what cost?

Recruitment is competitive and, as consumers of education, we need to think about the investment we’re making. Unfortunately we may not always be able to opt out of all of the fancy features and facilities (I discovered that the University of Missouri, featured in this photo, boasts a ‘lazy river’ and spa in their aquatics center!) But it can’t hurt to look into it if you see some offered that you don’t want to subscribe to.

Rather, I’m simply trying to reinforce, through the humor in this article, the importance of “the plan.” That is, the career plan and the financial plan to go along with it. With a sound plan in place, not only will you avoid accumulating the extra debt that inevitably accompanies chronic indecision and/or innocent misdirection, but you will likely save precious time and avoid wasting years of your life doing something you don’t want to do. Oh, and of course, start making money and getting on with your career.

I understand that not all 19 year olds are spending their free time planning and thinking about their career plan and main priorities in life. They’re likely trying to skillfully juggle their time in order to figure out how to go out on Thursday night and not flunk their midterm on Friday morning.

And that’s just fine. Just make sure you keep an eye on your future while you’re at it.

p.s. it’s OK if you’re still deciding whether college/university is for you. Our career assessment, the JCE, suggests top jobs aligned with your interests at several different training and education levels. You can explore them all and make a decision based on what you feel fits you best.

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3 thoughts on “Can I opt out of the fancy gym membership?

  1. Sharon says:

    That’s so cool that you can get a text when your wash is done!

  2. Andrea says:

    I liked the article but didn’t agree with some of the things the author in the Forbes magazine said. Ask any student who’s been living in a dorm for more than 3 months and they will usually agree that they don’t get steak for supper every night and that the cafeteria food isn’t the greatest. Maybe it’s because we are Canadian but in order to use the gym facilities here, you must pay an additional fee. The reason for more majors is because there are a lot more specialized jobs now then there were before. For example in the old days Psychology was just psychology but now there is I/O Psychology, Clinical Psychology, etc.

  3. Thanks for your comments! Andrea, I tend to disagree with you but this is why this topic is so interesting…I, personally, had some great food options when I attended university. We had all sorts of chain restaurants within a 5 minute walk and our cafeteria boasted a panini press and full salad bar and food stations with weekly make-your-own (fill in the blank) days featuring pastas, stirfries, pizza, and perogies to name a few. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I also had access to a gym as part of my tuition payment, although I wouldn’t have called it state-of-the-art and you did have to pay more to get into the newer facilities. I will admit that I would have personally found it a tough call on whether or not I would have opted out of some of these luxuries if I could have…my hunch is that I probably would have opted out of more and more things during each passing year as funds evaporated and more money went toward rent and activities off-campus. I’d love to hear others’ thoughts on this…do we need all of these luxuries at college? Would we pay less to get access to fewer luxuries?

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