It’s a mistake to assume that college students who hold jobs are working to pay tuition — or, for that matter, any college-related expenses.
One full-time student at Wright State complained of working 50 hours a week, but then admitted using much of the money to pay for flying lessons. Others acknowledged spending a substantial chunk of their money on electronic gadgets, or drinks at the bars along nearby Colonel Glenn Highway.
It would be hard to measure which students are taking multiple part-time jobs in order to pay for their portable phones and entertainment, rather than their tuition.
I watched a few episodes of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” this week. I enjoy the concept — a “deserving family” is whisked away on a vacation while a team of designers leads an army of workers to re-design their home, though I rolled my eyes at the efforts to emphasize tension between members of the design team (gruff and aloof designer A borrows a chisel from gruff and aloof designer B without asking; fur flies).
Even watching “free” television brings with it commercials that create new “wants” that can only be satisfied with new purchases. Ultimately, however, I came away from the show realizing that its premise is that families that suffer “deserve” a fancy home, which will magically lessen that family’s suffering. It’s a very materialistic concept, and it’s the same one that undergirds The Sims.
My six-year-old has been trying to teach our two-year-old the difference between “wants” and “needs.” She “needs” love, but she “wants” a cookie. She “needs” a new diaper, but she “wants” this particular toy.
There are two ways you can have all that you “want”: you can try to get enough money to pay for all your wants, or you can discipline yourself to “want” less.
Of course, anybody’s family life would be a little less stressful if there were a little more money to pay the bills. Truth be told, if we did have a little more money, we would have bought a slightly bigger house, and we’d still be watching our pennies — and I’d still get in trouble with my wife for occasionally buying a book that I could have gotten via inter-library loan.