How many possessions is too many?

By on April 5, 2006

How many pairs of jeans does one need? How many hand bags does one need? The answer to these questions is very few if any, the basic needs are food, shelter and clothing. We do not need to have twelve pairs of Seven Brand jeans or five Vera Bradley hand bags or the most expensive car in the lot. How many times a day do you stop to think of all the objects that you have that you are grateful for? Do you truly value and understand the significant amount of money that you and your parents are spending for you to attend Quinnipiac? What is necessary?

I recently traveled to South Carolina with Habitat for Humanity over spring break to help build houses. We were instructed to bring old clothes and shoes in case they were ruined during our work days. I packed several Quinnipiac shirts and old jeans. Along with those I packed my old Nike shocks and an old North Face rain jacket. In my mind those objects were old and had no significance to me anymore. When I walked onto the job site I realized that my year old Nike shocks were not so old and not as worn out as I had thought. I began to value the fact that I had that type of shoe and I had decent clothing. I hit a brick wall, realizing quickly what I had compared to others.

When I returned to the Quinnipiac campus, I felt as though I have learned a new sense of worth and value. Since stepping foot on the Quinnipiac campus I have come to realize and notice that there is no such thing as Kmart or Walmart or Target clothing on campus, no one would be caught dead in apparel from there even if that was all he or she could afford. Some students are here on scholarship and struggle to keep up with the many fads and social stigmas that are present on campus. For many of us another social marker would be our cars. If someone were to walk around our parking lots he or she would not see mini vans passed on from the family, old cars with rust, a model from before 2000; they would see a plethora of Audis, Volvos, Mercedes, Lexis and many more high end cars. I feel as though many of us students do not realize or understand how fortunate we all are.

No matter what our background or financial status, we are all attending a forty thousand dollar university. One of the houses we built over spring break costs fifty thousand, there is perspective for all of us. I feel as though we as a student body do not value many things we have from friendships to possessions to our families. The people in the area around our job site were marvelous people; they were so accommodating and generous. I had never seen such hospitality and gratefulness. I often wish we had more of a community spirit on campus and I wish we valued all aspects of our lives more than we do.

Now I find myself asking questions of necessity not necessarily desire. Life was put into perspective when I realized one Coach hand bag could buy groceries for a month for a family. I realized I do not need forty pairs of shoes, a few are just fine. Now I know some of you may argue “What is wrong with spending money if you have it?” To this I answer: some people are more fortunate than others, it is ok to spend money on yourself, but just consider if we live in excess.

Could your money help someone who may be less fortunate or could you as a person be helping someone? I feel as though everyone should step back and analyze their life. Do you live in excess? I do. Do you often times forget that you may be walking around on a $200 piece of rubber we call Nike shocks or some other name brand sneaker? I do. Take a step back and realize how fortunate you really are, value your possessions and do not take what you have for granted, for many people would die to live in your shoes.


About Meaghan Fortier