The struggle is real, but at Westmont College, it’s quirky to struggle. Many students are unaware of the difference between how they talk about money and how they interact with it. We should be more aware of how we talk about money and recognize our privileges. If you are really a broke college student, “thrifting” at Cross Roads (a consignment store) every other weekend doesn’t seem like a viable option, considering that their prices are just as high as leading brands. A more budget-friendly option is Goodwill; how often do you hear about students going there? Now, how often do you see students walking around campus with Hydro Flasks or some article of clothing from Patagonia or Lulu or Northface? These brands are all over campus, though hardly acknowledged. The ability to own these items is a blessing that should not be taken for granted.
There are students on this campus who rely on hand-me-downs, Goodwills, flea markets, and sales for their clothing. That Kombucha you drink every day isn’t a necessity, and neither is that chicken bowl from Hana Kitchen that you have whenever you don’t want to go to the DC. There are students on this campus that experience financial freedom, who don’t have to think twice where their money comes from; not everybody at Westmont has that. That is financial freedom; that is a blessing. Of course, it should be noted that there are varying degrees of financial stability. Let us not forget, though, the students attending Westmont on a semester by semester basis because they don’t know if they’ll be able to manage the payments. Suggesting that these students just apply for more scholarships and/or talk to financial aid, as if it’s ever that easy, downplays the validity of their situation. There isn’t an understanding of how stressful financial situations can be and how difficult it is to find the means to buy textbooks, school supplies, and attend this college, let alone get Starbucks or a new pair of Lulus on a whim. It’s not a bad thing if you grew up in a household where money was never a concern. It’s not a bad thing that you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll be able to pay for your college education. By all means, buy that Northface or Lulu! They have quality merchandise. It is harmful when a person’s struggle is made into something trendy and downplayed (thrifting, for example). Just some food for thought.