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Grad Guide 2015: The great gift

Most of us start college with no idea what we’d like to spend our time doing once we get out. Many of us leave under the same train of thought.

You can take as many Scandinavian film and juggling classes as you want, but they all end up falling in the, “Well, that was interesting” basket, rather than the, “Epiphany! I’ll spend my life as a circus performer!” basket.

But behind every dropped ball and Ingmar Bergman film, there are some dollar signs.

Thanks to the good, old fashioned American education system (emphasis on the old fashioned), we’re spending thousands of dollars every year to finance this supremely indecisive period of our lives, whether we know what we’re using it for or not. If we were all Swedish, we could be doctors at the mere cost of our time and energy. But alas, Northern Europe is about 5,000 miles away – so we’re all broke.

Though many brave souls are trudging solo through the financial crisis that is higher education (to those deep in debt at 22, Godspeed), many of us are here on the shoulders of an investor – most often our parents. Those lovely birth-givers who sometimes think ahead and put some paychecks away so the next generation can get one of those all-powerful degrees. Through thick and thin, the bank transfers have arrived. Whether you had the toughest hangover of all time or you failed a test after hours of studying – at least it’s paid for.

Which raises the question – how do you repay that debt?

It may seem strange to consider, but graduation is another gateway to further independence, particularly if your parents have been supporting you financially. It’s an enormous change, for both parties. You might be tempted to say their financial relief switching to a post-graduation child is thanks enough for the support they’ve provided.

But that’s a pretty cheap copout for such a huge favor. Then again, it doesn’t seem like something a Hallmark card would cover too well, either.

So how do you repay the priceless gift (approximately $80,000) of education?

You get a job.

Yeah, that’s probably on the planner for most college graduates regardless. But maybe you haven’t considered what it symbolizes to the ones who raised you.

We spend so much time in classrooms here that we may forget about the practical applications of what we’re working for. That our parents aren’t just supporting our education, they’re supporting our future. They’re giving us the foot in the door we need in today’s job market so that we can be successful.

I don’t see a better way to thank our parents for the gift they’ve given us than to show that we know how to use it. Whether you’re aiming to be a CEO or a dancer, there’s no better return on investment than self-sufficiency.





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Cooper Green

Cooper Green

Cooper Green is the Editor in Chief at the Emerald. He is from Sweden. Kind of.