Last year my best friend went to Washington State University (WSU). This year she came back a full-fledged Cougar. Well, maybe “full-fledged” is an understatement. How about full grown, claws out, fangs bared, mid-leap? Yeah, that sounds more accurate. Pennants, sweatshirts, even her fingernails were painted red and gray.
More and more, I am beginning to realize just how passionate some students can get about their schools. Sure, WSU and the University of Washington (UW) have always been rivals, resulting in heated debates between fans, but spending $100 bucks for pennants, sweatshirts and coffee mugs? That seems a little over the top. I understand if you are one of the athletes, or just a huge fan of the sport, but coffee mugs? Key chains? Stickers? Really? As insignificant as the $5 bucks may seem at the moment, 20 different items will add up over time.
I’m transferring in the fall, so I totally understand school spirit and wanting to represent well. I have school pride, too. I’m excited to jump into a four-year college in September. I’m planning on saving my money rather than spending it on trinkets. I’ve spent enough money on college as it is!
If I do spend my cash, I plan to spend it on my camera. I want to get experiences at college, not a bunch of random stuff. Instead of buying a bunch of stickers, I’ll use that money to go see a football game with friends. Go for experiences rather than stuff. As a very good friend of mine used to say, “You can sleep when you’re dead.” What she meant by that rather gruesome phrase is to seize the moment, whatever it is, and do it! If you have the chance to do something you’ve never done before, then try it. Stay up late. Hang out with friends. You can sleep in on the weekends. The point is to embrace the moment and remember the awesome things that happened. Of course, if the school jacket is really cute, then buy it! But use your time at college to gather memories, not knick-knacks.
One way to decide on whether a school spirit item is worth buying is asking yourself, “Am I going to want this in 10 years?” I’ve asked myself that question many times, and now I can’t even remember the things that I answered “no” to. Some things are fun, spur-of-the-moment purchases that you’ll enjoy, but others might just be a waste of money. College students gather a lot of worthless junk at college (yes, I just called all that useless crap ‘junk’). If you’ve lived in a dorm or roomed with someone before, you might realize halfway through the year that the room that seemed so neat and tidy before is now overflowing with stuff. It’s not just because it’s hard to keep a place clean. It might also be that you’ve accumulated a bunch of stuff over the last few months and haven’t gotten rid of anything.
Another question I’ve had to ask myself is “Is there something else I should be saving my money for?” Unfortunately, there is usually always something else that I should be saving my money for, whether it is my sister’s birthday coming up or next quarter’s parking permit. Regardless of what it is, it is better to wait and save up rather than spend everything on whims. Waiting can help you decide if you really want it or not.
In conclusion, I’ve realized that while school spirit is good and commendable, it really doesn’t help the students trying to save money. It’s going to take serious self-control in order not to go crazy on school stuff. Maybe I’ll just stick to painting my fingernails.