A Wake Up Call: The Ultimate Investment

There’s no doubt that college students have varying motives. Many challenge themselves every day by pushing their boundaries while others are content with following the tide and performing at less-than-optimal. The latter tend to slack by not getting involved, sleeping in constantly, routinely skipping class, and delaying/half-assing/not completing schoolwork.

An attribute all college students share — yet to various extents — is unused potential. Potential is very much like an asymptote; we can try our hardest to fully unlock it, but we will never reach the 100% mark — and that’s fine because we’re human.

Still, there is much we can do to substantially improve our productivity, and it all begins with perspective.

We must think of ourselves as an investment for the long run. It costs roughly $30,000/year to attend a public university with in-state tuition. This comes out to $120 per day. To consider private universities, where students pay approximately $70,000/year (given no scholarship/aid), that figure shoots up to a staggering $250 per day. Let me repeat that: 250 dollars every day.

I chose the word “invested” very carefully.

People pay for a product or service, but people invest in entities that will grow and produce favorable results. Therefore, we are not merely paying $250 for every day, but investing $250 in each and every day.

Now imagine this: you fall out of bed, throw on some wrinkled clothes, hurl your backpack on, and head towards your door. To your surprise, the door doesn’t unlock and — instead — prompts you to enter $250 to open. You look at your watch: 1:12 PM. Disappointed at the lost time, you reluctantly take out your wallet, grab two crisp Benjamins among other bills, and enter it in your door just to walk out that day.

Would you still be waking up at 1 PM everyday? Would you have stayed up until 3 AM watching Netflix the night before? Would you continue ditching class to watch the Cavaliers play? I don’t think so.

This is a fundamental visualization we must not only comprehend, but also internalize in order to truly take advantage of every opportunity. This story is not a fantasy; it’s a reality.

Just because we’re not physically reaching into our wallets every day to walk out the door doesn’t mean we aren’t paying the price.

This perspective isn’t meant to discourage. Rather, it’s a perspective of realization; we’re paying for every day whether or not we think this way, so we might as well make the best of it.

Wake up at 8AM for that early morning workout. Dress to impress. Go out of your way to speak to someone new. Pay attention in class. Attend club meetings. Apply what you learn. And most importantly: do it all with a smile — even if you have to fake it.

Right before falling asleep, reflect on your entire day, thinking “was today worth $250?” If not, come to understand what you could improve on and make that your goal for the next day. Repeat this cycle and one day you’ll surprise yourself with the greatest answer: a resounding “yes.”


Still working towards getting that “yes” one day
Like what you read? Give Daniel Newman a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.