My college years were filled with lots and lots of fun. We played pranks on our roommates, ran wild through rainstorms, stayed up late laughing, generally had great roommates, worked hard in school, supported each other in difficulties, took lots of goofy pictures, spent a fortune getting them developed in "under an hour," and made lots of friends. I feel strongly that every child should live away from home and get to be independent in college. The experience can't be duplicated.
But with independence comes a greater measure of responsibility--mostly in the form of paying for it. I put myself through school--tuition, books, housing, life--the whole deal. I think I give myself a lot more pats on the back now than I ever did then. Back then it was just something I did. My parents couldn't afford to help me out--it was my responsibility and I didn't think twice about taking it on. I was having such a good time it was worth it.
That being said I had some lean months. And one such month didn't seem to be getting any better. It was the start of the semester, which meant purchasing books and supplies. I was due to receive a Student Loan, but it hadn't come in yet. Luckily my birthday is in September and my awesome roommates bought me groceries for a birthday present!
I was working, of course, but don't you remember how you got paid a week or two after the end of the 2-week work cycle? Back then 2 weeks was eternity and $25 was a million bucks. Finally on Sunday, my roommates encouraged me to ask the leader of our church congregation for help. Right after the meeting he approached me first and asked if we could talk. "I felt inspired to ask if there was anything I could do for you," he said.
I explained my situation--I was out of money and wouldn't be getting paid for another week. My student loan hadn't come in yet and I needed to pay my share of the apartment bills. I'd used up all my money on books. "How much do you need, he asked? Would $100 cover it?" Even now I want to cry at what $100 meant back then and with gratitude for his generosity.
He came over to my apartment and gave me a $100 bill that evening. Just gave me a high-five and then shook my hand--quickly sliding me the money and leaving. He acted like it was no big deal and never treated me any different.
We've had our opportunities to help others who needed $100 or some other amount just as important to them. And each time I give, I've always thought of when he gave to me. And I'll be forever grateful.