Being a student comes with a cost, and for some people, that cost prevents them from ever earning a college-level education.

When you first come to college, it’s a culture shock. Your mom and dad aren’t there to fix your food, do your laundry or clean up your mess. It all falls on you.

In a dorm room, finding food is tough, especially without a meal plan. You go to McDonald’s and Pal’s every other day, and eventually that starts to show in your appearance.

Yes, the “freshmen 15” is a real thing, and these days your appearance means more than it should.

We are so pressured to look a certain way, and many people go to extreme measures to achieve their “ideal” look.

Some might take that as an opportunity to start working out.

Well, you have to make time for that.

Want to eat better? You could get a job and buy better food, but when do you have the time for that? And if you don’t have a car, how will you get to work?

After having class all day, going to the gym, then to work and getting off at 11 p.m., many of us go home and do homework until 2 a.m., and then start all over again the next morning.

From there we start missing classes and assignments, and often times, stop going to class completely.

College also comes with new relationships, homesickness or struggling to find your niche.

College students are woefully stretched thin, and the habits we form are not ones we need to continue or pass on.

“It’s so rare to see a student who is able to just go to school and that be their main focus, unless you’re wanting to take out a bunch of loans, or if you have financially secure parents that can help you out,” said ETSU student Kendal Groner. “Having a full course load and then working 40 hours a week is crazy.”

On some nights, Groner only gets up to three hours of sleep.

“I would love to fully emerge myself into everything the university has to offer with clubs and other involvement, but I have to work to pay rent, go to classes and study to make grades and deal with everything else being thrown at me,” Groner said.

Stephanie Myers came to Tennessee from Ohio to get into the Equine field, but with out-of-state tuition costs, it’s become almost impossible.

Myers has been here almost a year and still can’t get in-state tuition.

“I can’t get any help from any college because I am not a Tennessean, and I literally can’t survive without working,” Myers said.

“As a 20-year-old it doesn’t seem fair, but really, what is fair? I’m doing the best I can with what I have.”