Find a job? Graduate school? Oh, and what about paying off those student loans? Well, these are just some of the questions that were answered when students played “The Game of Life” Stony Brook edition.
The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services, along with the help from the Faculty Student Association, student accounts, the Finance Society, Island Federal, and many others, created the interactive game based on the popular board game to help answer some of those tough questions.
“The purpose is to provide [students] the opportunity to experience financial-making decisions through a simulation exercise,” said Lyndsay Johnson, coordinator of the event.
The game began with students receiving a monthly salary based on their chosen career.
“We also tried to educate students about what that salary number really meant,” said Joanna Durso, from Stony Brook’s Career Center. “If they chose a job that requires a graduate degree the salary given might be unrealistically high for the first year out of undergrad. Other salaries might have seemed low without taking into consideration the value of the additional benefits a real-life employer would probably provide.”
From there, student went table to table, managing their salary as they completed their list of financial responsibilities including: graduate school, healthcare, taxes, student loans, savings and investments, housing, living expenses, transportation, insurance, food, and credit and debt.
If at any point the player goes bankrupt, needs guidance, or merely some time to think, they were free to go the center of the “board” to do so.
To emulate life as best as possible, event planners added a certain amount of unpredictability to the game, having players pick a card or spin a wheel that would either add an unexpected expense or add to their income by selling old stuff.
“This is the third year the event has run, and I think it keeps getting better,” Durso said. “Every student I talked to afterwards seemed to have found it fun and instructive. The Office of Financial Aid is doing an amazing job running it and providing this type of experience to our students.”
— Jhonatan Bonilla