Our adult responsibilities

I was texting my little sister yesterday and was surprised to find out she didn’t have school today! I knew today was Election Day but why did that mean they didn’t have school? As I thought it over I realized it’s because it’s Election Day! But not because of how amazing an American right it is and everyone should go out and vote but because in Hawaii many public schools are used as polling places for the various districts. And I think that’s kind of amazing to make it easy for people to vote as many people don’t specifically get time off to vote. I also learned via the internet earlier today that the state of Washington mails in their ballots. That’s really cool because it puts the accountability and the right and power directly into the hands of all their constituents which I can relate to because I completed my mail-in ballot last week. And it’s an interesting process since I’m away, I don’t see the political ads on TV, the radio or people sign-waving on the streets (is that a thing only in Hawaii?). And I think politics are so messy with negative campaigning and fighting to control the power cajoling during the campaigning and not following through during their terms. And that’s something we hope to change, that in college, in life we see how truly valuable hard-working people with good intentions are and being fair. Voting is a right we all, over 18 year olds, have and must use to the fullest, WE decide how our future will be by choosing the ones we believe will do the best to fulfill our county’s, district’s, state’s, and nation’s needs. Here’s a cool video that promotes voting among young people. Everyone has a story and is affected by the daily actions and bill politicians constantly argue over, they are our voice and we need to choose them wisely to help us tackle the issues we want to fix, and there are many as the video shows. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rijpU5yD55I

Voting is also just one of the many adult-like responsibilities being a college student with. It’s a lot to realize how different college is from high school but there are still so many things that we need help figuring out. Money is the first and biggest hurdle to learn and deal with as a college student. It’s crazy to think about how much money it costs to attend higher education now and the multitude of ways we must figure out to afford it. And then there’s spending and living money we college students need to have, but we must learn to budget our money to last the year, going out to Silk Thai or Trapper’s Sushi, Met cookies and more.

Last week I attended a Panhellenic sponsored Finance Talk by Professor Linda Livingston titled Saving, Investments, and Retirement. She brought up a lot of points I didn’t realize that I think are invaluable to know. Saving is short-term, and you should have enough savings to live off of for 8 months without pay! And the best way to save is through credit unions (shoutout to my Mom for signing me up for a credit union)! Credit unions are non-profit federally insured and way better than banks because they have shared branches, higher interest rates than banks and no hidden fees. Linda then goes on to explain savings should NEVER be used in investments. The stock market is volatile, but it’s the only market to invest in and make a gain, you have to be patient and wait for the return driver, you gotta play the game. And in the market, the cheapest one is the BEST one, if you play it safe there’s no way for you to win! Retirement does seem so far off into the future, we’re only in college right now! But it’s never too early to save, to think about paying traditional IRAs, paying taxes at your retirement with a tax deduction now or ROTH IRAs, paying taxes now but not at your retirement. This summary was just that a quick introduction into the many opportunities and pitfalls of dealing with finances, something in the very near future for us. And I think the least we can do now is start saving, we don’t want to be broke college students forever.

Registering for my Future

Everyone told me college wouldn’t be easier, it’s only four more years (well three and a half now) before I’m thrust into the real world to live my life. Yet registering for next semester was way more complicated than I thought it would be. The requirements in college are different from high school, but I actually enjoyed this opportunity for me to see the various classes all the disciplines offered. My advisor gave me some pretty good advice, “Take something that interests you.” So many times the news reports the current industry booming and parents drive their parents towards pursuing a career in those successful industries, but I think it’s up to every student to figure out what they truly love to do and how they can turn that passion into a life. I could take something I never considered before, to see where my other interests may lie. I browsed the system and quickly found a multitude of classes I was interested in and began looking at how they would fit into my schedule and back-up schedule since there was absolutely no guarantee I would be lucky enough to get every class I wanted.

Registering was organized by those with the most credits getting to register first with freshmen registering last. It was saddening to hear others rave about the classes they wanted and see them just as quickly become closed, as my advising group registered in the late afternoon on the second to last day. My registering period opened during my biology lab, and I remember furiously refreshing my account throughout to lab and see the status of all the classes I wanted, the first schedule, back-up schedule, and back-up to the back-up schedule become filled. Luckily my lab finished a couple minutes before registering and I clicked furiously to try and claim the last spot in that open class or quickly get on the waitlist. Two of the classes I wanted were already so far down their waitlist that when I emailed the professors later that afternoon inquiring about my possibilities they thanked me for my interest but suggested I try again next semester. Talking over my choices and options with my mom helped me figure out what I would enjoy the most and help me figure out what my interests truly are.

Registration was an unbelievable stressful and crazy experience. These classes I’m taking are meant to  fill me with the skills and knowledge that I will use in the future. And that thought right there is crazy for me; that my future is here and  I need to do everything I can to make my dreams and passions a reality. But I need to figure out what those dreams and passions are and I strongly think that my spring course load will help me truly figure out who I am as a person and how I want to change the world. The future is definitely closer than it seems, especially closer than how it felt six months ago at graduation.