I don’t really know where to begin. Basically I am in a sour financial position. I’m sitting here in Starbucks applying for jobs, looking at my excel spreadsheet…
BACKGROUND: How I got into this lemon.
I graduated from college in May of this year from the College of Charleston with my Bachelor’s in French and a minor in Business Administration. Given the state of the current economy in the United States coupled with my exhaustion from working a stressful internship-turned-job during my senior year I believed graduate school was the best post graduation option.
“I paid for undergrad, you’re in charge of graduate,” said my mother. Enter the University of Florida, the public ivy of the South. Being a Florida resident made graduate school even more appealing, as the tuition would be significantly less. I applied to two Master’s programs, one in Management and one in Entrepreneurship. I was accepted to both programs and decided on the Masters of Science in Entrepreneurship. I immediately completed my 2010-2011 FAFSA and notified my financial aid advisor/liaison specifically asking if there was any additional paperwork I needed to complete…four days later and no answer… Meanwhile I drove down south from Charleston to Gainesville for a quick weekend of apartment hunting. I needed to find an apartment for the 2010-2011 academic year as well as a place for the summer as my program began June 28.
I signed a lease with Trimark Property Management. At $820.00 a month with absolutely everything (except cable) included I thought the apartment was a steal. In Charleston I was paying $950 a month not including utilities. The leasing agent informed me that apartments go quickly, so I signed immediately. I would be matched with a roommate for the Fall. I even secured a sublease for $809.00 per month. I based my aid requirements off of this rent.
Well I continue to email my financial aid liaison, no word about when I’ll receive my summer disbursement of financial aid. Then an email pops into my inbox, telling me my aid won’t come through until after the drop/add for the fall semester. WHAT!? I email the director of my program, come to find that I needed to fill out two FAFSA’s in order to receive aid for my summer classes. Frustrated, as the deadline is about two weeks away, I fill out the FAFSA and thanks to some finagling by the University I am approved in less than 48 hours. Thank you God. I receive confirmation that my aid will be disbursed by July 2 or 48 hours after. “Good,” I think to myself, “my rent is due by July 5.” Then I go to work setting a budget. Books, tuition, rent… “Wow, this is cutting it all really close.” My boyfriend went to UF and graduated over a year ago from the same program. We log into his UF account. He only received roughly $25,000.00. So I do the math…
Summer B Disbursement: $3,948.00
– Tuition (1,579.36)
– Rent for July, Aug (1,629.00)
– Books, Supplies (150.00)
– Groceries July, Aug (200.00)
– Ireland Trip Deposit (400.00)
By August 6 I’ll be in the red. Oh no. So I contact my leasing agent. Well, my two options are to “downgrade” to a less expensive unit or to cancel the lease. Well, I prefer the first option. However, what my leasing agent tells me next is not so likable. “They will charge you the full amount of the lease if you cancel,” she tells me. “The lease agreement says it ‘may be up to the full amount’– basically its up to the landlord’s discretion,” I say. “I’m just telling you they will.” “Okay, well what about changing to a less expensive unit?” I ask. “You can ask,” she says, while telling me how to electronically contact the management team. “What are the chances of them allowing me to downgrade?” I ask. “It doesn’t hurt to ask.” She replies. Bordering on frustrated, but trying to remain cordial I ask for a straight answer: “In all honesty and in your experience, has it ever happened?” “No.” she says.
I email the management team anyway. I’ll save you the emails back and forth. I get a “No” and a “Hell no”.
I go back to my Excel budget spreadsheet. I’ll be completely dry by October if I do not get a job or sublease my apartment. So I have the following options:
#1: Sublease My Apartment- I’ve posted the apartment on craiglist. I’m annoyed that I have to pay Trimark $200 in order to sublease my apartment. I may even discount the rent if worse comes to worse. Even a $100 decrease in my current rent would make a substantial difference. This of course entails finding an apartment for the fall and moving.
#2: Find a job- If my rent stays the same and I make at the very least $600 a month, it could work. I started applying for work yesterday, started the online search today and will continue pounding the pavement in a few.
#3: Find out how to get more money- the Ireland trip (mandatory for the Entrepreneurship program) is what is really throwing my budget off. I’ll have more than I need in the Spring semester. I’ve emailed my financial advisor and hope to find out if this is possible.
#4: Drop out completely- if I cannot find a job by the end of summer/beginning of Fall this may become my option. I of course will still have to pay back my full lease amount ($9,840) and the amount I borrowed from the government for my summer classes ($3,498) for a whopping amount of $13,338. Can you say living at home and working very, very hard?
At this point, a job is my best option. So if you’re an employer for some reason reading this blog and in need of an excellent, hardworking and hilarious employee, please contact me. I have a substantial resume and some amazing references. If you’re a generous person and would like to graciously give me some cash, I would more than appreciate it.