Riverside Secondary’s graduating students of 2019 are concerned about post-secondary realities. The stress about finally leaving school, and starting their own lives in an exciting, yet terrifying feeling. The cost of university and living in BC is almost impossibly out of reach for young people today. The sudden reality check of paying bill and saving for life expenses have many grade 12 students making decisions that previous graduates did not have to make.

Grade 12 Riverside student, Tyler Lange, will continue living with his parents during his university years. “I am going to keep living with my parents because the high housing and rent prices everywhere at the moment; it is way too expensive for anyone our age to afford living independently while attending university,” said Lange.

Along with living with his parents, grade 12 Riverside student, Ryan Raposo preparing himself for the realities of the high cost of living. “I’m definitely planning on having a part time job, so it’s something I can rely on to make money while doing what I need to do at school. Even thought I plan on living with my parents, they’ll be charging me rent because I need to know what paying my bills are like,” said Raposo.

As mentioned before, financial stability for graduated students is almost impossible. The average cost of rent in the lower mainland for a one-bedroom apartment is at least $1500. Along with paying rent, other expenses need to be budgeted as well, such as transportation (transit or gas), food, phone bills, utilities, tuition, textbooks etc. The average amount spent on food for one person per month is around $200 – a low estimate. Raposo mentions how he feels about all of the expenses that need to be paid. “I did have a sudden reality check because when I was younger, I thought the cost of living was much cheaper. But it turns out that it’s much more than I thought it would be and it’s stressful because we have other things we need to pay off, so I am grateful that I am going to continue living with my parents while going to university,” said Raposo.

The cost of living on campus has had a major increase throughout the years. When Riverside Secondary staff member, Ms. Bree Mireau, attended UBC, the rent prices were much cheaper. “The rent I was paying was manageable because I had a decent job and I was a decent server, and the tips I received were enough for me to afford my own place. However, I wasn’t able to pay too much on my student loan, and I had to rely on the loan for my tuition,” said Mireau. Mireau added that sacrifices have to made when one is a student, such as sharing accommodations with people. “I paid around $600 every month and I had a roommate living with me in a two-bedroom apartment.”

The expectations vs the reality of living on their own, however, is much more difficult than many graduates realize. Riverside Secondary staff member, Mr. Jeremy Brown, mentions that young people need to distinguish between what is a need, and what is a want. “It is difficult to balance everything especially now since housing everywhere is so expensive; however it’s the decision you make whether or not your purchase is important or not. They won’t be able to eat out every night and they won’t be buying Starbucks everyday,” said Brown. “Making the decision to go to school takes some sacrifices.”

When grade 12 Riverside student, Andrew Edgecombe, was younger, his perspective on graduating was much different. “I didn’t think too much of graduating when I was younger, I just thought of it as moving on in life and basically the start of my adulthood. However, I am not looking forward to looking after myself and not having the same amount of guidance from my parents,” said Edgecombe.

While living costs are relative to the times a person lives in, the costs young people bear today definitely seem much more prohibitive.