Danielle Stobb and Maggie Polsean are students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. They came up with the idea of 2 Broke Interns as a way to share Milwaukee from a student’s perspective. Follow the blog each week for stories, recommendations and advice for successfully exploring Milwaukee on a budget.
I’m a broke intern and come May, when I earn my journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, I’ll be an even more broke college graduate. It took me three years to graduate, even with a change in my major. My parents are proud and my bank account is thankful.
My hometown is Green Lake. It’s a don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it tourist town with an even smaller school. My graduating class was 20 students, most of which I knew from kindergarten. Growing up in Green Lake is one of the reasons I chose to attend college in Wisconsin’s biggest city. Milwaukee has so many places to go, things to see, people to meet … living in Green Lake was a mundane routine I was ready to break.
I have a type-A personality through and through. My desk is filled with post-it reminders and to-do lists. A Keurig sits nearby to brew my favorite chai. I click the refresh button on my email consistently.
Over the past three years of living in Milwaukee I’ve learned a few tricks that have helped me save money. I quickly realized my idea of purchasing groceries from Whole Foods (although so good) costs more, so I instead became a frequent visitor to Trader Joe's. I also learned that using public transportation is a great alternative to expensive parking on campus. It also means is engaging in small talk with the overly friendly riders. And as for dining out? I tend to order something I know will supply leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. If it’s good enough to eat once, I’ll eat it twice!
I also save money in a rare way that most college students couldn’t fathom: I don’t party. In fact, I’m the one that breaks up college parties. Go ahead and boo me. For two years I’ve been a Resident Assistant in Sandburg Residence Halls. You won’t believe what happens behind closed college doors, but confronting outrageous situations is worth the compensation.
My upcoming graduation is exciting for a number of reasons. If I had to create a list, hot showers would be at the top. Cold showers help wake me up in the morning, but day after day of icy water is no longer refreshing. Next is having a kitchen. My Pinterest account is filled with recipes I’m excited to try.
Entering the real world as an adult, paying taxes, insurance and rent is a little lower on the list. I plan to put the real world off a little longer by attending graduate school. And yes, I will stay in Milwaukee while earning my Masters. There’s just something about this city that keeps me on my toes, ready for more. As long as I have a few dollars in my pocket I can keep exploring the city I love.
My name is Maggie Polsean, I am studying journalism and I am the epitome of a broke college student.
Now, let me break down this for you.
My dad, being the thoughtful man he is, decided that the name Maggie would be perfect for his baby girl, after having a waitress in a pub named Maggie. Was this way of deciding my name fate or just serendipitous? The world may never know.
Yet, people always tell me that story explains so much about me. They say it explains why I am unique, creative, and passionate. Even more insane, I think everyone who has ever told me that is right.
Growing up, I always knew I wanted to go far, do unforgettable things, and make a difference. There was just something inside of me that always said, "you’re original, own it." Being named after some random, pub waitress is unique, unforgettable and it truly embodies who I am and what I want to accomplish in my life.
As I got older, writing became a way for me to express that spirit of originality I had inside me. I discovered that the more I wrote, the more I started to develop my voice, get more creative, and become more innovative. This discovery is what lead me to journalism.
Writing about life, experiences, and ideas is what I found I am passionate about and want my journalism career to be focused on -- writing about these topics in a fresh and positive light. The world needs some sparkle, and I want to be the one who bedazzles it.
But, my discovery and new found passion for journalism has also lead me to my broke-college-student life.
As many know, journalism is not a lucrative field to work in. Most days I would accept food as payment for my stories. But becoming a journalist is not about the money, it’s about the passion and drive to produce something astonishing. Due to this fact, we all have to make sacrifices.
I eat ramen noodles at least twice a week, spend about $30 on groceries every two weeks, sew and repair my clothes instead of getting new ones, attend campus events and club meetings for free food, buy appetizers instead of entrees, use Febreeze on everything in an effort to wash bedding and clothing less, dumpster-dive behind thrift stores, buy day old bread from Jimmy John’s, and cut open lotion and toothpaste bottles to scoop out literally every last drop.
Am I cheap? I would venture to say I mildly am. But that’s what happens when you decide to study journalism. You devise new and creative ways to stretch your budget; that is exactly what I have already started learning how to do.
Whether I make any money doing what I love or not, I am 100 percent okay with being broke to do it. My name is Maggie Polsean, I am studying journalism and I am the epitome of a broke college student.