Student recalls hard lessons learned with credit card

By Chris Escoda

“Procrastination is a lot like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.”    —Writer Christopher Parker

MK-BN883_SBCARD_G_20110727170236[1] It seems now more than ever people are pushing off their responsibilities until the last given second.  While me might be able to get away with procrastinating when it comes to school or work, it is not a good idea to push off paying our credit card bills.

Owning a credit card you have a lot of power, but we all know with great power comes great responsibility. Credit Cards can be helpful when you’re living on your own, but if not used properly can put you into an bottomless pit of debt. This is a true story for many college students around the country. This epidemic is a reality for a freshman who was away at school and couldn’t control his spending habits with his credit card.

“Being a broke college student is such a hard thing. You stress yourself out all week over classes and then the weekend comes and you just want to go out with your friends and have fun,” said Nassau Community College student Nick O’Hara. Many other college students have faced a similar problem, but Nick’s story is pretty unique.
“I applied for a credit right before I went away to school and I promised my parents I was mature enough to handle the responsibility of owning one,” O’Hara said. Nick made an agreement with his parents to only use the card in an emergency, also they warned Nick to not act on the temptations of using it often.

“Living on your own is a lot different than living at home. You really don’t realize how much money you have to spend to get through the day,” O’Hara said. As Nick’s first semester carried on, his funds started to diminish. He also started to take part in the “Greek life” at school and it’s apparent that you need some money to participate. Nick was starting to really enjoy himself , going out with his friends and always meeting new people. Starting out at frat parties, he quickly translated to the bar scene and didn’t look back.

“I spent all the money I had saved pretty quickly into the semester, so it was either don’t go out at all and be miserable or swipe my credit card like I had 30 days to live,” O’Hara said. He said he didn’t really realize how much money he was spending on his card and never built up the courage to tell his parents he was broke. Nick assumed that his parents would understand his spending habits because he’s away at school and they would just pick up the tab. Unfortunately, he was terribly mistaken and when he finally got the bill it was insurmountable. In addition, the huge interest rates that were attached made the bill even more staggering.
“That phone call I had with my parents about the bill was the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever had to do. My parents trusted me and I really let them down, but there was nothing I could do now. I had to man up and own up to my mistake,” O’Hara said. With the overwhelming debt he accumulated during his first semester at school he was forced to drop out and return home. He is currently attending Nassau Community College while working part time to pay of the debt.

“Although I made some really bad decisions, I don’t regret it, if anything the experience humbled me and taught me a valuable lesson”, said, O’Hara. Credit card companies are fully keen and aware of our procrastination and use it to there advantage. Credit card companies also realize that people need them and that they almost necessary for living on your own. At the surface the idea of a credit card sounds great, get what you want now, and worry about it later.  Nick said he fell for their bait and he bit hard.

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