By: Rachael Kroot
Published: January 11, 2013
After a great month off for winter vacation, I’m back in Starkville writing from the same chair in the same room I wrote from last semester. In fact, it feels like I never left. Of course, some things have changed; a new semester means new classes. Over the next few months, I will be writing to you in between my studies of:
Weather Analysis II
Broadcast Practicum II
and a research class with Dr. B
At this mid-point in the academic year, perhaps a lot of you are thinking about finances like me. I am lucky enough to have an assistantship that covers a majority of my tuition. I even get a stipend each month for living expenses (aka rent). It’s a great deal! However, I am still on my own to pay for miscellaneous student fees and any additional activities I invest in over the course of the semester. Last semester I was more concerned about settling into my new life than I was about planning my finances for the next two years. But now that I am four months in, it’s time to get to the nitty gritty.
Here’s what I recommend… First, find out how much money is in your bank account. Second, figure out how much money you have coming in on a monthly (or yearly) basis. Third, estimate how much money you anticipate spending during the course of the rest of your studies. You need to consider things like tuition, rent, gas, travel, food, leisure (movies, restaurants and bars, etc), and your average shopping spree. You can round, but try to leave room for the unexpected. Fourth, do the math and make sure you can survive on what you’ve got!
For me personally, money is tight but not impossible. My main concern at the moment is that I will have to pay rent over the summer even if I don’t live here. I have to plan in advance to have that $1500 saved up, because I will not be getting paid as a graduate assistant over the summer. I am also considering taking a “Storm Chase” summer class with Dr. B that would not be covered in my tuition remission and/or volunteering for a month in Peru (since it’s potentially going to be my last summer without a full time job tying me down).
All of these things cost money. I know I’m going to have to pick and choose what I spend on. I may even have to cut back on things like eating out this semester. To help keep the status quo, however, I am considering getting a part time job near campus. If you want to look for a job as well, try to find something with flexible hours that won’t be too stressful. Remember, as graduate students, our studies and assistantships have to come first. After all, we are here to learn!
Follow Rachael as she applies to graduate school
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