What Would University Life Be Like If Money Was No Issue?

Although it’s an invaluable time in one’s life, university nevertheless has a very real value – for some students, that could be to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. On top of tuition, there is the matter of housing, and on top of that you have to feed yourself, entertain yourself and buy a pirate’s ransom of textbooks. It’s no wonder students worry about post-school student debt, especially given the unreliable job market waiting at the end.

It all begs the hypothetical question: what would your time at UBC be like if money was no issue? Would you be more focused on your studies or less focused? Would you be more primed to succeed, given the massive uptick in living quality, or would you lose interest in success without the pressures of financial failure (and the possibility of wealth)? It’s an interesting question, and one that has very few proper case studies.

Sure, there are students for whom tuition and university-related expenses are fully paid, but those students are still beholden to something (in most cases, the approval of their parents, who spent all that money). A better case study – albeit a much rarer one – would be students who came into a massive fortune all on their own, while at school. How did they react? What did they do? This article will look at a couple students who did the seemingly impossible, and won the lottery while in university. Then let’s speculate (or daydream rather) about what UBC would be like if you suddenly came into millions of dollars.

Consider Sarah Cockings

In an interview for the Guardian, Sarah Cockings, a UK student who won over $5 million in the lottery, admits to losing interest in school after she won the jackpot. She turned her attention to a modeling career, as well as a dog-grooming business because… well, why not? Since she won the jackpot, she’s won more lottery prizes, to the tune of around $65,000, so perhaps what she should be doing is writing a book on tips for winning the lottery – she clearly has a knack for it!

Consider Michael Garcia

Then there’s Michael Garcia, the California student who won over $2 million in the Powerball lottery. It’s actually a pretty heart-warming story, since Garcia only found out about his massive windfall while working his night shift job. He did his best to put the winnings out of his mind and focus on his upcoming exams, stating, “I keep telling my Mom that it’s still not a lot (of money), the way the economy is.” With that attitude, he’ll probably stretch that money pretty far.

How Would You Spend Your UBC Days?

If money was no issue, how would that change your university experience? For one, there wouldn’t be the constant pall of student debt anxiety around you, since you could handily pay your tuition, and still have millions left over. It’s a safe bet that many students, if money was no issue, would go away on the weekends and explore what BC has to offer, taking up surfing in Tofino, or snowboarding your Saturdays away at Whistler. There are a lot of students who would leverage their newfound money to fund passion projects, or go out partying in Vancouver.

Another consideration a lot of students would probably make is whether they would change majors. Those on the track to a very practical degree, like business, might opt to do something they’re more passionate about, like literature. Or those in a literature degree might opt to change their major to a business degree, in the hopes of learning how to manage and grow their finances, and perhaps even start a business. It’s difficult to tell how sudden wealth would affect you, and surely everyone is affected differently.

What would university life be like if money was no issue? Ultimately, it’s probably just one of those hypothetical questions that will have to remain hypothetical. You could get lucky playing the lottery, but you can’t really bank on that happening. It’s worth exploring the questions though: Would you stay in, or drop out? Would you follow your dreams or focus on growing your assets. However you answer, one thing’s for sure – everyone would be paying off their student debts.