At a school like Boston University, there is a socioeconomic melting pot of all different situations. With such a diverse mix of thousands of students, each with unique backgrounds, it’s interesting to see how people interact with one another when they’re thrown into the social hurricane that is college. I know people who deeply rely on their scholarships and grants and would not be able to attend without economic help. On the other end of the spectrum, I know people who are paying full tuition without any problem at all.
Most of the time, these economic stances don’t come up in conversation because it’s a personal topic. However, sometimes it’s impossible to ignore just based on what you see. The amount of luxurious objects, such as bags, jewelry and clothing that you see just walking down Commonwealth Avenue, is sometimes overwhelming for those who have never experienced it before. There is such a clear separation of wealth on campus, and most of the time, it isn’t discussed, even though it surrounds us everywhere.
This is an issue faced everywhere in America, with people of all ages, but I think people overlook how it affects life on a college campus with a notoriously high tuition and room and board rate. Living in an expensive city, such as Boston, affects the gap as well. Sometimes, people with similar economic status group together in an attempt to keep up a lifestyle filled with fancy cars, shopping or going out to eat often.
However, for most people at college, this cannot be a reality without going broke. Being not completely economically self-sufficient, but being on the cusp of it, is pretty bizarre. You see some kids who work 20 or 30 hours a week to pay for expenses while many rely purely on their parents’ money.
This separation creates clear privilege, especially on college campuses, and most people who have it don’t even realize. This causes people to sometimes say offensive or pretentious statements toward people with “lesser” standing without thinking. This isn’t necessarily their fault. They were raised in a certain way and haven’t been surrounded by people with different or worse economic lifestyles than themselves. Granted, if we are attending any college, we are all coming from a place of privilege, and it’s extremely important to recognize that privilege. Everyone needs to consider the people around them before coming up with expectations on how they do or should live their lives and treat their money.
There should be no judgment based on how much money one has, or doesn’t have. People who base their opinions of others purely on that are shallow. The fact that better opportunities are seemingly offered to those with larger amounts of money is unsettling, especially because that’s the way it’s always been. Turning a blind eye to people who aren’t as well off as you causes purposeful ignorance, and you might be missing out on some really great people just because you’re judging them purely on their socioeconomic standing. The superiority complex regarding wealth is growing, and no one is doing anything to stop it.
People who shame others for the amount of money they have or how they choose to spend it are out of line. There is not one way to economically live your life. Some people’s goals aren’t to make the most money or to live the most lavish lifestyle. But if that is your goal, that’s OK too, as long as you recognize that their lives, possessions and goals are just as valid as yours.
These differences and issues are clearly preparing us for what we’ll face in the “real world.” Economic stance should not affect how people treat you socially, but in our world, that’s the norm.
Having more money doesn’t make you better, but in our society that is so focused on money, it can be a big part in making relationships. It can also be a big part of determining a social ladder or the amount of power it seems like a person has. This fact is a little bit scary to me, especially because I’m considering going into a career that isn’t completely financially stable. This isn’t such a problem yet, considering we’re still in college and making relationships, but it will undoubtedly be an issue in the future.
I’d like to say that people are capable of looking past the amount of money you have to see your worth, but sometimes dollar worth is all that matters.