As a full-time student at an accredited university, I have the pleasure of taking 18 class credits every semester. 

The usual break down goes like this: 8 credits in the form of STEM courses towards my major, another 8 credits towards my French minor and lastly, a remainder of two credits towards random or supplemental courses like hiking or stress-management. While I’m not required to use all 18 credits to maintain my standing as a full-time student, I generally choose to because I’m paying for them.

This semester, I opted to take a financial literacy class because I’m a legal adult who doesn’t know how to file taxes or take out a loan or budget my money; you get my dilemma. In an effort to combat my fears of adulthood and student debt, I registered for the class at the last minute and forgot about it until the first Thursday of the semester.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the class. 

I thought it would either feature regurgitated knowledge on frivolous spending or a complex algorithm on the most profitable stocks. What I didn’t expect was for my professor to walk in with a resounding, “What’s up party people?!” then assign a project on buying a home. She wasted no time in breaking us into groups and weaving through the ins and outs of mortgage lending, title inspections and real estate fees.

My professor believed that to get ready for such a dramatic step in our lives, we needed the practice to prepare us for the unknowns. That being said, when we chose a home, we had to call the actual realtor associated with the home. When we chose a bank our supposed loan would come from, we had to call them and negotiate rates. We also had to call various companies and repairmen for estimates on ridiculous accidents like having our non-existent children smash all our windows.

By the end of the assignment, my fictional husband (Alex) and I were so excited to move into our newly built 5-bedroom, 6-bathroom home in Omaha, Nebraska. It was complete with a sprawling backyard and conveniently situated in a great school district where our future children could live a non-threatening suburban life. 

And while that seems absurd, the assignment was a great reminder that we have a future past the 4 years of college that are currently consuming our lives.

It was a lesson in realistic goal setting and the relatively small, yet active, steps you can take to achieve your goal. Hypothetically buying myself a home has not only given me the necessary knowledge I would need to purchase a home in the future but it gives me purpose and a sense of empowerment to know that I have this option available to me. So if you or someone you know has an extra 2 credits lying around, use it. Think of it as an investment in your future and take a class that helps to plan out your future.