The cost of graduating
April 1, 2008, 6:54 pm
Filed under: 20something, About me, College

This post was included in the April 7th Carnvial of Twenty Something Finances over at The Baglady.

…because all of that student loan debt isn’t enough! 

While I did receive my college diploma this past summer, I have yet to walk in a graduation ceremony. My alma mater is quite small and only has a yearly commencement in May. I’ve been collecting all of the papers my school has diligently sent me over the past couple of months regarding commencement. This morning, I finally sat down with all of them and took care of the preparations.

Before I even spent time with the documents though, I needed to consider if I were even going to attend the ceremony. I mean, the whole thing will be pretty anticlimactic as I’ve been a college graduate for almost 9 months now. Plus, there’s something about a college graduation that isn’t as universally poignant as a high school graduation. Regardless, I knew that I would regret it if I didn’t attend my commencement. To miss seeing my college friends one last time, in all of our academic splendor, would indeed be a shame. My family would also be disappointed if I cut off one of their last chances for them to be a public cheerleader for me.

All signs pointed to yes. I picked up the order forms for the regalia and announcements. My eyes went buggy when I read the price list. $68 for a gown I’ll only wear once?! $62 for notecards and envelopes?! Am I really sure I want to do this??

I took a deep breath and considered my situation. My graduation day is going to and will mean a good deal to me. To shell out a small-ish wad of cash for a memory I’ll have for the rest of my life doesn’t seem like such a bad trade off. No matter how great it would be though, I wouldn’t have that much money to spend on anything that isn’t a necessity if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve been making enough extra money lately to cover the additional expenses.

I’ve picked up 4 figure modeling jobs over the last couple of months, netting me $144. I also picked up a few extra hours at the library this week, giving me 80 more dollars than usual. That gives me $224 to spend towards my graduation.

With taxes and shipping added to my regalia and announcements, my credit card was charged a grand total of $147.20.  But, those announcements aren’t going to mail themselves. To send out all 25 of them will cost me $10.25 in stamps (the only reason I bothered with announcements is because of the possibility that I will get some of the money back from any congratulatory checks that will be sent my way from family and friends). I decided against buying honor cords for an organization that I was a member of, but wasn’t actively involved in. Why pay for something that never meant that much to me? I will need to drive to my alma mater to attend the rehearsal and ceremony. Luckily, I only live an hour away from campus. I plan on driving up the morning before commencement to attend the rehearsal and convocation. I will crash at one of my friends’ apartments that night to save on gas and any hotel expenses. The trip there and back usually uses up a half a tank of gas. If gas prices stay around the same price they are now, I’m looking at about $20 in gas. I already own a nice dress (that hopefully doesn’t need to be dry cleaned…) and shoes that I can wear with my gown. That leaves me $46.55 to spend on any meals I may need to buy while I’m in town.

I think the few extra hours I’ve worked to make my attendance possible at my graduation are well worth this opportunity in the long run. After all, I would much rather spend my money on memorable events than on material things that only wind up being replaced by other useless things. Permanent wins over temporary any day in my book.

3 Comments so far
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Good Blog. I will continue reading it in the future. Nice layout too.

Aaron Wakling

Comment by Aaron Wakling

[…] presents The cost of graduating where she discusses how expensive a diploma really is! I never got my diploma because I was too […]

Pingback by Carnival of Twenty Something Finances - April 7th Edition — The Baglady

I sent out announcements to family members (I only got them since it was included in the package which included a few things I wanted for less money) and I was pleasantly surprised to get gifts from several family members. Only one family member gave my sister a graduation gift, so I think the gifts I received from the others were definitely a result of the announcements.

Comment by calgirlfinance

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