“ANYONE ON THE OUTSIDE WOULD’VE THOUGHT IT WAS CRAZY”

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In this series, Mike sits down with one of the other interns on the SALT team to get their take on financing college and living on a student budget. In this edition, he talks with Jenn Modica—a BC senior who will graduate with no student loans.

Jenn Modica, BC senior and SALT Marketing intern

MIKE

Alright Jenn, tell the fine readers about yourself.

JENN

My name is Jenn Modica, I’m going to be a senior at BC this fall. I’m originally from Medford, so I’ve always been close to Boston. I major in Communications, work in BC’s admissions office as a tour guide, and love being a Marketing intern here at SALT.

MIKE

It’s the good life, right? And I know the first day I met you, you told me something about yourself that really piqued my interest. Your parents have you totally covered for college: true or false?

JENN

True. When my Mom was in college at BC, she was a finance major. She worked her butt off because her parents had always struggled financially, so when it came time to pick a major, she chose finance because she just wanted to finally understand how money works. She worked until I was 11 at Fleet Bank, and kept her job through all of the mergers that followed. She worked all the time; I barely saw her when I was little. She kept us financially stable, but I barely got to see her because she worked so much and was exhausted and didn’t like what she was doing. When I was 11, she decided to leave the bank and got a job at BC working as a career counselor for business students, mainly graduate students looking to get their MBAs.

MIKE

Wow, that worked out pretty conveniently for you!

JENN

Not as conveniently as you’d think. In the back of her mind, my Mom was always thinking about my sister and I. If she did take this job at BC, and her girls did well enough in high school to get accepted to the school, she knew there’d be a lot of tuition benefits involved. She took an enormous pay cut going from the banks to BC, but her plan worked out because both my sister and I ended up going there. We only pay a small fraction of the sticker price, so there are no loans involved for us! Anyone on the outside looking in probably would’ve thought it was crazy at the time, but it ended up working out and we’ve been so grateful for it ever since.

MIKE

It really does seem like the best gift ever. You’re practically off the hook!

JENN

Well, almost. I’ve had to do my share of unpaid internships just like everyone else, and my personal spending habits are 100% my responsibility. I’m not going to come out of college filthy rich, but at least I’ll break even when I’m ready to start my career. Can’t complain about that.

MIKE

Definitely not. Has it influenced your spending habits while you were in school at all? Did you kind of find that since you didn’t have to worry about any loans, you were spending tons more money on other things?

JENN

I think my parents have always made sure that I know the importance of saving my money, and of starting out in a better financial situation than they were in. But, the only real issue is that it’s just an uncomfortable social thing when you’re friends have a bigger budget than you and you don’t want to miss out on things, but you don’t want to spend the money either.  Overall though, I’d say I’ve always been pretty good at saving.

MIKE

Was there a specific time that you can remember when you had to make one of those decisions with a friend?

JENN

Yeah, there’s the day-to-day like going out to get dinner, or a movie, or shopping. If they want to go shopping on Newbury St on a Saturday I’m not going to spend money just for the sake of going shopping. Also, on bigger things like spring break and going away, I remember freshman year my friends and I were planning on going to Spring Break to a friend’s house in Florida. My parents said that if I could buy my own plane ticket they were totally fine with that. Except there was this ski trip in January to Montreal that everyone wanted to go on, and I couldn’t manage two trips in three months. I obviously just did one over the other, but it was frustrating to have some friends be like “why aren’t you coming, it’s going to be so much fun!” But I would much rather have a more realistic idea of money than be someone who has no sense of reality.

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