On Life and College

Sometimes I feel that all I do is study and partake in placements. I’m only 18 so where is the fun in my life? Many people have told me that when I go to college that the fun will start. But as I will be going to one of the more elite ones, I have a feeling that my life will carry on in a similar pattern there, just that the workload will be more focused on my major.

I have been reading a lot recently about how college is a waste of money and you’d be better off if you just took the loan, then went off to the Philippines or Mexico for a few years and worked on your own business as an entrepreneur. Apparently, it costs about $600 to $1000 to live in these countries, and most people who do it are already ‘paying for themselves’ by earning this amount of money after 5 or 6 months. So it would pretty much cost about $3,000 to $6000 for your living costs, and another $1,000 or so for a flight. I have got to admit, that while I have been applying for a place at college that I have been reading up on the ‘entrepreneur abroad’ lifestyle on many blogs, you get a very good idea of costs by reading the nomadic list. I think that I’d rather live in Eastern Europe than in Mexico to be honest; seems it should be about $1,200 a month.

I find it interesting, how all of these guys and gals really hate the idea of going to college. I’m not sure that I totally agree, though I like the idea of living abroad, I’d rather do it as an ex-pat working for an NGO or something, get to really live in a place, instead of being on the outskirts of the society you are temporary staying in (most of these ‘digital nomads’ tend to only stay in a place for two or three months). And to get one of these positions I think it is better to network through going to a good college, than turning up in some good forsaken country and ‘so-called’ volunteering at a place for a few months, and trying to work yourself up.

Further to this, I winder what the success rate of ‘digital nomads’ really is? I’m guessing you don’t hear many of the bad experiences! I have read many stories of people down to their last couple of hundred dollars and then finding success. There must be many many more who were down to their last $200, and err, spent it, going under. What must that be like, having no money for food, getting on the phone and begging your friends and family for some money to get a flight home, and by the way do you mind sending a couple of dollars so that I can afford to buy a KFC! That must be dreadful. I’d hope that I’d return home, and swallow my pride, well before I got to that stage, but I guess people are willing to take a chance, or are perhaps too ashamed to return home to a gossiping community “Oh yeah, that’s the girl who didn’t go to college, and is now living with her parents”, “yeah, that’s right, she is working at Wal-Mart’s”, “LOL, she was so sure of herself, the stuck-up little so and so!”.

I personally feel, all things weighed up, that the best course option for someone like myself is to attend a good college, get a good degree (in a subject with job opportunities), and then think about living abroad in the future. I may even be able to partake in a study abroad scheme at university too, I think it would be nice to spend a semester (or two) in Italy or Spain. And one final point, I am expecting (hoping) to get a full scholarship covering all of the costs of my studies, so I won’t be one of these people who leave college with a $100,000 plus of debt. I think if I was in a situation where I was likely to build up a large amount od debt during my studies, that I too, would be thinking more about working from a tropical island somewhere (or perhaps in Budapest).

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Choosing my Dream School

As you all know, it is my dream to attend a prestigious school, preferably an Ivy, but I’d be more than happy to attend other places such as Chicago, Stanford, and the like. I have studied like mad, and I’m a pretty good person, so I am very hopeful that I will fulfill my dreams despite the fact that no body in my family has ever studied at an elite establishments. Although, I have heard it is beneficial at some places, I’m looking at you Columbia, to have had your parent’s be alumi, I am confident that I can let my personality shine through :-)

Anyways, I have three interviews lined up in the next month, Cornell, Yale, and NorthWestern. I would be happy to be accepted into any of them, though I probably have a preference for Cornell, as I’d prefer to live in/near a college town; New Haven is a little bigger than what I’d prefer (though I do like the idea of being near the sea).

I think that it is going to be very important that I receive some sort of financial help; these are all private institutions so the state won’t help out that much, but the good news is that they all have quite large endowments, so should offer some form of scholarship/work-deal for someone with my family background.

Just to give you an idea of why I favor Cornell, here is a video of Ithaca and Cayuga lake that I found on good old youtube:

Beautiful isn’t it. I’d love to go a flight over the lake! I go for my interview there on thursday, so I’ll be sure to keep you up to date with how things go; wish me luck.

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