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Editors picks for surviving SAIC

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Editors’ picks for surviving SAIC

Ania Szremski

If you think school is expensive now, just wait until all those “unexpected” items start to accumulate as the semester goes by. Rent, groceries, phone bill… it’s easy to remember to budget for those things, but I found myself hard-hit by some forgotten expenses. Start saving for the following ASAP, so that you won’t be caught unprepared.

1.) Glasses. You will be reading more blurry, poorly copied pdfs during your tenure at SAIC than you would have ever thought possible. In my first semester, I remember a girl who actually burst the blood vessels in her eyes from straining them so hard. If you don’t need glasses now, chances are you will by the time you leave (especially those of you in three or four-year programs), and they are not cheap. Word to the wise: don’t be lured into buying your glasses at Lenscrafters or other such expensive chain stores. You’ll get the best price at your local Costco!

2.) Doctor. Eye health leads me into the topic of health, in general. The insurance you get through SAIC sucks and if you go to the doctor, your co-pay is almost guaranteed to be ginormous. Also, take note: If you go below 12 credit hours, you are automatically dropped from school insurance, even if you’re still technically full time — and no one will let you know. You may want to take out a credit card to keep on hand only for medical-related expenses.

3.) Photocopies and printing. They’ve taken away free printing from nearly every computer lab on campus. Fortunately you can scan printed materials at the Flaxman and email them to yourself as pdfs, but still, there’s only so much reading you can do on screen (see point number 1 on eye health). A portion of your semester budget should be devoted to your ARTIC card.

4.) Cosi. No matter how hard you try to fight it, you’re going to end up being sucked into the vortex that is Cosi at some point, especially when you’re on a break during a night class and everything else is closed. SAIC students basically keep that place in business. Don’t try to pretend you won’t go; be smart and set aside a portion of your budget for those late night lattes.

5.) Blazers and Buses. You will be presenting a paper at at least one conference during your time at SAIC. I somehow missed the memo before I went to my first conference, but apparently, a blazer is required to sound smart. Imagine my embarrassment when I was the only person who was festooned with neither buttons nor lapels! And after you’ve invested some cash in your presentation blazer, start siphoning off some more funds from your bleeding bank account into a Megabus budget. Yes, I know; the doctoral candidates you meet from other schools get to fly in planes and sleep in hotels, but SAIC is not nearly so generous with the purse strings. If you’re not one of the lucky ones to get a travel grant, you’ll be Megabus-ing it across the country to present your research, and you’ll need to be prepared.

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