A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.
By Nicole Lepa
Tuition, books, supplies, gas, bills, rent, should I go on? Insurance (health and auto), prescriptions, children, and that pesky nourishment issue called food constitute a student’s financial plight and even that of the majority of the faculty and staff. At the end of the month, what is left? A couple of bucks for a hot dog and a small soda; now that’s livin’! Many people find it discouraging to try to excel at school or their career with a constant “money monkey” on their back. Well, where this a will there’s a way to get what you deserve. It’s not a happy road, this road to free stuff. It’s long, tedious, annoying, and sometimes not worth it. However, it’s there. “I got free stuff from online surveys,” Katie Ramirez, 23, informed me about her latest laptop acquisition. “my friend got 50 free DVDs.” Amazed at how companies just give away merchandise for answering a few simple questions, I decided to give it a go. I googled “How to get free stuff for college students” and immediately, I was greeted with an offer of a $500 gas card… if I answered a few questions, of course. Three hours later, my index finger was frozen into a claw-like position from clicking either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ about a million times, and I was bounced back and forth between the surveys like an internet tennis ball. Besides the gas card, supposedly I’m also receiving a Toshiba laptop, an iPod nano, tickets to Universal Studios, scholarship and student loan information, and dozens of coupons for products ranging from alcohol to weight loss programs. So far, I have accumulated marketing paraphernalia in my email account, but the merchandise should take about six to eight weeks. I’m not holding my breath. other than those phenomenally brilliant advertising wizards, whom else can society turn to for a break? The government, of course! According to Matthew Lesko, there are over 4,000 programs operated by the government to give citizens free stuff. I purchased his book at Barnes & Noble for the rate of $40. According to Lesko’s literature, any person can search websites such as http://www.commutercheck.com, http://www.bottomlesscloset.org, http://www.adea.org, http://www.aoa.org, to get $100 a month to drive to and from work, find the free, proper, attire for a job interview, and receive discounted dental and visual help. This infomercial icon is not the only source for the financially challenged. The “St. Pete Times” and The “Tampa Tribune” offer a “free” section amidst their classifieds. The bargain shopper can find furniture, pets, appliances, and other various donations from neighbors. So, good luck exploring the sea of newsprint for that true treasure you are searching for.