There is not a thing in this world lower or sneakier than a solicitor. 

They are everywhere we turn—calling and harassing us at home, sending piles upon piles of junk mail. The list goes on indefinitely.

It starts with asking for donations, but then it escalates into taking advantage of people (specifically college students) by way of pressuring them into dumping money into organizations’ laps or giving in to a scam.

Many of the school-wide events here at TJC have included one if not more banks trying to con students into signing up for a credit card that seemed like an absolute dream come true. The banks’ representatives weasel their way into the students’ minds and somehow trap them with cheesy charisma and the feeling that they truly have “your best interest in mind.”

Any half-way intelligent schmuck would immediately see a flaming red flag before even coming into breathing distance of these representatives, but somehow college students cannot pass up 0% APR on a Discover card, no matter how “too good to be true” it is. They are much too impatient to read the fine print or the asterisk at the bottom of the page that says they must surrender their left kidney in case of late payment.

Recently, TJC hosted a “Reality Fair” sponsored by Kelly Community Federal Credit Union, which gave students an opportunity to get a true taste of the real world. While the idea seems beneficial, the end result came off as a business tool for many of the companies in attendance. 

The students received papers that outlined their expected monthly income according to their chosen occupation. Their goal was to visit each booth—some of which were sponsored by local companies—and make decisions based on their pretend means. 

Kelley Community even had the audacity to allow students to think that credit cards and student loan debt—while a part of some people’s lives, yes—is OK, even making it a requirement on the list of areas to make room for in their budget.

Whether intentional or not, it made few attendants feel like half-wit teenagers who have no clue how to take care of themselves. And the sad part? The rest of the students in attendance at the fair had zero idea what subliminal messages the businesses were trying to send and went along with it.

When compared with a person who has “been there, done that,” it gave completely unrealistic expectations of the future, including a gross annual salary that some people—including a budding journalist fresh out of college—may rarely or never see in their field.

Take a lesson or two from radio show host and financial guru, Dave Ramsey, who definitely will brainwash you for the better. He has taught thousands of people how to rid years of debt—something this “Reality Fair” almost encouraged.

 Final advice: spend within your means and never, EVER get a credit card.

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