Monday, July 25, 2011

College & Rabbits -- Hand in hand

A lot of "retiring youth" are forced to sell out of rabbits when they graduate from high school and/or go off to college. During my senior year I tried to downsize as much as possible, but when my family noticed it was taking a toll on me -- my mother decided I could keep a small herd at home. The rabbits (and animals) were the only thing that kept me out of trouble, kept me driven and without the hobby & 4-H I most certainly wouldn't be the young individual I am today. To take care of the rabbits was nothing new to my mom; she's been SO great throughout my youth taking care of the farm while I am off on travels or busy with school & sports. As a youth her and I traveled to so many shows together people practically considered a breeder. We worked it out to keep 10-12 holes open as long as I got Auto-water and came home every few weeks to check up on them.

Going to college was a preposterous idea for youth in my area. Back when I was a high school junior, I always had goals of attending college. I didn’t attend your regular urban college prep school or even a decent high school. The idea of going to college was outrageous, and not many in my graduating class did. As a senior, I worked my ass off and it paid. I received a lot of scholarships, including two repeating ones for all four years. It is that work that has kept me in college, otherwise – simply put, it’s too dang expensive!

My first year, I lived in the dorms and was sheltered from a lot of costs and expenses. After fall tuition was paid, I truly realized how expensive it was to live in the dorms and the only thing it boiled down to was convenience and security. From there I moved into a house with other roommates and we split costs as much as possible.

Monthly costs:

Basic Living expenses :

Rent $300 ($900 split 3 ways)

Electricity $10-20 ($30-60 per month, depending on season)

Internet/Cable $12 ($35 for the basic package)

Groceries; milk/bread/meats/common items $~50 (ranges from month to month)

Parking permit: $15

Books: $50

Additional expenses:

Random: $50 – shampoo, soap, etc.

Car payment $200

Car insurance $75

Phone bill $50

Gas $40 ( average city driving; no trips home)

1 rabbit show per month: $150

Rabbit feed: $80-100

Seasonal costs include: hay/grain, horse & dog medications etc


Note I do not pay tuition because I’m basically on a full ride because of multiple scholarships; otherwise add in about $7K per term. I did not include any other rabbit expenses, such as purchases of animals or equipment. Working 12 hours a week (university limits 20) brings you $400/month. So with that and refunds from scholarships, I basically live off of nothing. There isn’t a lot of wiggle room for accidents or unforeseen costs.

One could easily claim that I would be better off without the rabbits, and in reality I would have a little more money to spend on ... what? The rabbits make me happy, is a nice side project and through thick and thin, years of college later -- they're still here. :)

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