I am currently a Sophomore in college and am enrolled in 15 credit hours this semester. Like most semesters, I have been quite busy with schoolwork since the second week of school. Unlike my past two semesters of college, this year seems to be more difficult in more ways than I can comprehend.
Academically, I have not missed any classes and seem to understand the material confidently on most days. Socially, I am very involved in a few clubs and have been to all mandatory meetings that I have been required to attend so far. Where's the struggle you ask? Not once since school starting have I not stayed up working on class notes or other homework nor have I slept in past 9:00 am, including weekends. I have a meal plan, but get one real meal a day if I'm lucky. The meal plan is only helpful when I'm on campus and I have time to stop and eat.
Financially, my school apartment and school bill are all paid for, but I have no spare money for groceries or laundry supplies. A logical solution would be to find a job, but I simply do not have the time. If I am not in class, then I am doing homework and studying, if I am not working on schoolwork then I am at a club event (which add up to maybe a few hours a week), after all of that I take breaks to fulfill my survival needs which include taking showers and sleeping.
My family does the best they can, but it's not their responsibility to completely provide for me any longer. With the recent boom in discussions about self-care and mental health, I know it's important to look after oneself, but with everything contributing to my day to day life, it is also difficult not to feel miserable, especially when there is simply no time for food or fun.
I did not write this article for the audience to feel bad or pity me, but only to take the "broke college student" stereotype more seriously and realize the real costs of college, especially in the upperclassmen years when living near campus food is less accessible and real money is hard to find.