Applicant #13: Brittany Oliver

Brittany Oliver is a 21-year-old from Jefferson.

Brittany's video application:

Brittany online:

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Brittany's current situation:

As you will read in my blog I am a student with a job and living at home. Definitely not typical of a lot of people my age. You can usually find me on the road. I live and work in Mid-coast Maine, learn in Southern Maine, and play in Central Maine! I live with my parents and work at a local financial institution in the Lincoln County area to pay for my education. I go to school in South Portland, with some classes in Bath as well. I volunteer at a radio station in Augusta (for the record-hearing your voice on the radio is the weirdest thing ever!) and I volunteer at my church by being a youth leader to some awesome young people. When I get a minute to relax I spend it with my boyfriend of one year. Anyone else think dating is expensive? I have two words for you: GIFT CARDS! But of course that can be blogged about at a later time ;)

When I heard about this job I thought it was too good to be true! I never thought my love for everything communications and my job as a teller could come together in such a perfect way. It really is my dream job and I am so excited to see where this might go!

Brittany's blog post:

Ok by a show of digital hands, how many of you readers are struggling to afford...well...anything?

Yeah?...I thought so!

But no worries-I'd like to use this blog to tell you about some of my personal experiences with finances and maybe give you some tips on how to save while being a student! I graduated high school with honors in 2008 and guess what...I DIDN'T GO STRAIGHT TO COLLEGE! Shocker, right? Many were surprised that I wasn't shipping off as I had already been accepted to college but it didn't seem right to me at the time, and the thought of big student loans scared me to death! So even in the terrible economy I decided I needed find a job and save. I found that job at a local financial institution as a teller and I worked there for a year and a half before I decided it was time to start college. Even though I was accepted into a few state universities I realized something; the average cost of a credit hour at a Maine state university is around $250 and for community college it's only $84! Um...can you say WOW?! That's about 3 times less than a university! I felt like I had found out a huge secret the educational system was keeping from us. To me it was a no brainer, I had to go to community college. I'd be saving 2/3 of my hard earned money! I enrolled in the communications/new media program and I have been loving every minute of it, though it hasn't been easy. My first semester I lived at home half the week (to be closer to my job) and in my dorm room the other half! If I wasn't in one place I was in the other! After that semester I felt that being in the dorms wasn't worth the price (my required meal plan cost more than my classes...WHAT?!) so now I'm a commuter! Even though I have such a long commute I'm saving thousands of dollars by living at home.

So let me break things down for you:

-Don't be afraid of going to a community college! The quality of your education isn't worse, it's just cheaper! Quick example: one of my teachers also teaches at a very expensive private college. He doesn't teach any better there vs. at my school. I just pay less to sit in his class.

-You're young. You can work. Yes I know the job market is tough but there is NO shame in bagging groceries or flipping burgers on the weekends. More money now means less debt/stress later. Plus you can have some extra cash for a movie now and then!

-Don't be afraid to commute! Living in the dorms is expensive! Plus, who actually likes those dorm beds, cafeteria food, and small concrete rooms anyway?

Remember: There's being young and buried in debt then there's being young AND FREE! And that means taking control of your financial situation and owning it!