Reality U

I don’t want to grow up, I don’t want to have to worry about financial problems and whether or not I can buy a house or car on my own. I just want to enjoy life.

Most teens they have no idea what they will be doing this weekend, let alone what they will be doing when they are older. Reality U is a program aimed toward sophomores in high school to show them where they will be when they are 25 years old and to show them what income their planned career would realistically get them. They look at your current grades, what you want your career to be, and whether a student plans on being married or having kids. With this information, they calculate the amount of money the student will earn every month. It helps them realize that while they do have enough money to buy what they need, they need to be wise with their money.

During English class sophomores were sent to the gym to participate in Reality U where you go around to different booths buying the basic things we need to live, like housing, lighting and water, a car, child care, clothes, health insurance, groceries, and hobbies. They even have a chance booth that can either give you money or lose it, depending on your luck.

My paper said that I was single, living with zero kids, and had a career in journalism. I earned about $2,500.00 a month. I was overwhelmed. How am I supposed to know how to correctly spend my money? What if I go into debt? I jumped right in and went for it.

After I went through all the booths and bought everything I needed, I was left with only $250.

I was one of the lucky ones. Some other sophomores were in debt after buying everything, and some were even divorced with multiple kids to take care of.

This was my first “real-world” experience and I learned a lot from it. It made me realize that it’s not that bad being an adult (from a financial point of view, that is). It showed me that as long as you make good money decisions, you can live your life however you want. And it also showed me that I have plenty of time to grow up, so I might as well enjoy being a kid while I can.