I was the poor kid in college. Having trouble making ends meet every week, I was that kid who found it difficult to get through the week with the little amount of money my parents sent me. I live away from home, so I had to teach myself to find ways to get through the week with a small budget on food. Not to mention the expenses I had for every class I took. I wasn’t ashamed of my background. I wasn’t shy to admit that I came from a poor family. The friends I had in college were understanding of my situation and when they really wanted me to join them, they were kind enough to spend little on me. Luckily, I had my scholarship to depend on when times were really hard and my parents couldn’t send the money I needed.
I was a poor engineering student and I found myself grateful for all the cheap food available on the nearest convenience stores from my dorm room. Thank you noodles for all the times when I needed a warm belly to continue a long night of studying in my dorm room. Thank you 3-in-1 coffees from vending machines in every building in my school for keeping me wide awake during hell week. Thank you instant meals for the times I had to impress a girl who (fortunately) wasn’t choosy at all. Thank you chips for being so cheap that I don’t have a problem bringing something to the table when I wanted to hangout with my buddies. Thank you cheap beers for getting me through the heartbreaks I went through over girls who have chosen rich guys over me.
Special thanks to the small establishments that sold cheap but very delicious meals near my dorm. Who would have thought that there are still places like those in the city? Also, I will always be grateful for the free food offered by different organizations and offices when they have something special going on in their group. Those were good times. And yes, I was cheap like that.
Oh sure, there are days when I can enjoy a decent dinner. But those are the days when my family is around the city to visit me, to check if I am still mentally capable of doing things on my own. (Thankfully, I have never lost my sanity throughout my stay in engineering school.) I also get to decent meals when my parents sent me my allowance at the start of the week.
But for moments that really mattered, I relied on noodles, chips and 3-in-1 coffee to keep me awake during exams and survive engineering school in general. Looking back, I can say that I still had the best time in college despite the lack of money. It wasn’t a healthy lifestyle but it got me through college. My resourcefulness taught me that when times get tough, I could still survive with little money. Now that I’m an engineer, I can afford more expensive food but all the foods that I ate in college will always be special to me.