Most people grow up going to schools where people are of a similar social status. Lower-income people tend to grow up with people in the same situation and affluent people usually grow up around people who are rich, as well.
But things can change dramatically in college. People who are from completely different sides of the socioeconomic spectrum attend class together and sometimes wind up sharing the same dorm room.
One student can be there on a scholarship and have a part-time job to make ends meet. The other may be on a massive allowance from their parents who pay full tuition without batting an eye.
What exacerbates the issue is that many people go through college being dirt poor. If they have a job, it's often low-paying, they can't work many hours and they aren't old enough to have accumulated any wealth.
So seeing someone one of your peers wasting other people's hard-earned money can be downright stupefying.
It can also seem highly immoral for some to have so much and not appreciate it when others are struggling to get by.
College is also a time when people begin to learn about income inequality and why it exists.
Freelance journalist Jake Bittle started a fun conversation on Twitter where people shared stories of some of the insanely rich kids they knew in college. Many of the responses came from people who went to the University of Chicago.
Bittle's story started with seeing a girl open her laptop to revel a ton of money in her bank account while they were taking a class on Marxism. The tweet inspired people to share stories of the insanely rich kids they met in college and how some of them were terribly wasteful with their money.
(Jake has since deleted his original tweet.)
My freshman year roommate got a letter of recommendation from HW Bush who was President at the time. The guy didn't know how to wash clothes so he kept buying new ones and throwing the old ones out.
— Mark 🛰 (@MarkCassidy23) June 12, 2020
one time in college I was telling a guy I didn't have money for shampoo and he bought Instagram followers as I was telling him this. a different time had to explain to a girl what hourly wage was (she didn't comprehend there was something other than salary)
— Erin Taylor (@erinisaway) June 12, 2020
I remember the classmate who told me I should switch to her bank because I'd get free checking just by keeping a $10k balance.
— MisterJayEm (@MisterJayEm) June 12, 2020
I can't tell you how many U of C students told me they couldn't understand why my parents didn't just buy me a condo, or why I didn't buy myself a new car; then there was the girl in my dorm who left $100,000 worth of clothes, many never worn, in her room at the end of the year.
— Paul Christofersen (@truepaxman) June 12, 2020
There was one girl in Blackstone who used to make AMAZING, intricate dishes. One day I saw just how filthy her dorm kitchen was, and she said it was because at home her maid would clean up after her. Anyways I stopped eating her food and never explained why ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
— Sankofa (@akuankansaha) June 12, 2020
My first day at Amherst College my freshman roommate showed me his JP Morgan account on his MacBook and I remembered being mortified when I asked him if that was his account balance and he said that that was how much money he had made that day.
— Sauce Moe Dee (@ShigeoSekito) June 12, 2020
One of my roommates whispered to me that our other roommate was on scholarship. I told her almost everyone she met was on some type of scholarship. Her dad just used to pay it in one go. Her parents used to call her and check on her because she "wasn't spending enough money."
— AnitaWrites (@WritesAnita) June 12, 2020
My friend's dad lectured me on how much harder rich people work than poor people. I was working 50 hours a week at the time and his son had never had a job before. Guess who the rich family was
— Jake Garza (@JakeGar43911060) June 12, 2020
Reminds me of the time in my intro to sociology lecture where I witnessed a girl in front of me casually order a pair of $400 Gucci sunglasses while my prof discussed wealth inequality
— Alex Murra (@alex_murra) June 12, 2020
A friend of mine in the Air Force told me a story about a classmate of his who was the son of some minor Saudi prince. Every summer, once classes were out, the classmate would leave his $90,000 Land Rover (it was always a Land Rover) because he didn't want to ship it back home.
— Joey Beachum (@JoeyBeachum) June 12, 2020
My freshman year roomate (a week after bragging that his family is the 2nd largest purchaser of De Beers in the world...) threw all 20 of his Ralph Lauren wool sweaters into the dryer
— franklin 🚃 ave 🚃 shuttle (@sirptrash) June 12, 2020
In the dorms first week of school my suite mate asked me when the housekeepers come to clean and do laundry. She had no idea what a washing machine looked like.
— Liz Ortiz (@LizOrtizAK) June 12, 2020
I knew someone who, instead of doing laundry, would just buy new clothes to wear. And her sister, after living in Chicago for a few months, didn't know what the CTA was.
— kinanta | ꦏꦶꦤꦤ꧀ꦠ | كيننتا (@kinanta) June 12, 2020
Freshman year, I shared about how much my parents made and got told by another student that I must be mistaken, then they proceeded to argue that the “middle class" starts at $350,000 and surely my parents made at least that ...
— Jen Rey (@Jenny_rey325) June 12, 2020
First day of law school, guy in class pulls out a Tiffany box and removes a gold fountain pen from a velvet bag to take notes.
— Tracy M (@dandelionmama) June 12, 2020
when you're a kid you learn class difference because when you go on a field trip you got $10 and your friend brings a $50 for the gift shop
— 𝚌𝚑𝚊𝚛𝚕𝚒𝚎 𝚔𝚎𝚕𝚕𝚢 (@maybenerea) June 12, 2020
- They raised seven kids while drowning in debt. Here are the lessons ... ›
- The elite college admissions scandal exposes the inequities in our ... ›
- Rainn Wilson gave a commencement speech to rich kids — and he ... ›