First Person

Student Survival Stories


Lessons in Frugality

La Resa Sanders Darrington, ’87, Dillon, Mont.

After graduating from Ricks College, I attended BYU for two years on Pell Grants. I also had to take out small student loans to pay for everything else I needed. I budgeted everything down to the last penny for each week and each month. I didn’t want to borrow any more than I had to, so I went without a lot of things. My biggest extravagance was a new backpack, and I spent $24 on it because it needed to last. It had a 1984 football national championship logo on it, and my children still use it today. I lived on salad and sandwiches and whatever was on sale at the little grocery store next to Heritage Halls. I didn’t have a car until my last semester, so I had to shop at a place nearby.

I now look back on my two years of budgeting and am grateful. Because of that experience, I have been able to do it again as I have raised my four kids while my husband has gone back to school for the last three years and we have lived on a shoestring budget.

“Balancing” a Diet

Peter M. Steimle, ’90, Lawrence, Kans.

As a college student I didn’t find shopping and cooking for myself difficult. Growing up in a good Latter-day Saint home and serving a mission were pretty good preparation for the responsibilities of independent living. And once I realized that grains, fruits, and dairy are all represented in ice cream and cookies, I saved a lot of time shopping and preparing meals. Since a significant factor in our health and well-being is psychosomatic, I was a happy, healthy camper! I didn’t own a car, though, so biking and walking did add “balance” to my eating habits.

Strategies of the Sleep Deprived

Jed R. Weyland, ’98, McMinnville, Ore.

Two of my neighbors in Helaman Halls, roommates from Boise, Idaho, were determined to succeed on minimal sleep. They had remarkable ambition to complete new demands of homework, work, and socializing, but the ambition melted when they saw their beds. One ended up placing deer antlers on his bed to complicate napping.

The other’s dual nature, on the other hand, required more complicated strategies. He would set his alarm and go to bed as Ambition Man. Sleepy Man took over in the night, however, so when his alarm went off, he would turn off the alarm, and go back to sleep, foiling Ambition Man’s earnest plans. So he came up with a plan to thwart Sleepy Man, who luckily wasn’t too bright. He discovered that if he moved the alarm clock to a different place in the room, he could confuse Sleepy Man. When the alarm went off, Sleepy Man would walk around searching for it long enough to make the transition back to Ambition Man. The problem was, if he hid it in the same place more than once, Sleepy Man would remember where it was and turn it off before Ambition Man could awaken. My favorite episode in this struggle came one evening when I saw him putting sticky tack on the legs of his alarm clock and attaching it to the ceiling.

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