My dream school, Reed College, marked an end to a very long college search that I was eager to see finished. The Early Decision deadline was days away, yet I had come to a roadblock. Reed is the most expensive school in the state of Oregon, and affording it would be a challenge. The goal I set out to complete in these two days was to figure out a plan in which I could avoid a huge amount of debt, and manage to be financially stable going into my adult life.
My first step was to talk to the people around me about their experiences with college, debt, and holding up a budget, but all of whom looked at the amount of debt I would take on as something it would be ideal for me to avoid. This made me take time to stop and look at what I had been doing, rushing into a decision I had made based partially on wanting to be done with my college search.
I stopped and evaluated the cost of Reed, as well as all of my top colleges, and then compared them to the colleges that were not as favorable to me, yet would allow me to leave college with money left over for grad school. I realized I would strongly prefer not to go into a large amount of debt, and to be able to spend the next 4 or 5 years being able to travel during breaks and not have to work.
The college that got the most of my attention was Evergreen College in Olympia Washington. I spent a lot of my time looking at apartments in Washington in order to be able to reside there, a plan that excited me a lot, since it would also allow me to learn about self-sufficiency.
Throughout the day I learned a lot about budgeting, google sheets, and what I thought would really be worth it and make me happy in life. The two days felt like the best mix of learning and getting my life together.