4 Economics Lessons You Must Learn In College (even if you don't take Econ)

Not everyone takes and Economics class in their college career-- however, everyone learns a lot about economics, whether they want to or not. These economic lessons are really life lessons, so the quicker you catch on, the better.

1 - Opportunity Cost
Opportunity Cost was taught to all of us at some point as what we forgo when we make a decision. If you could have had apples or oranges and you pick apples, oranges are the opportunity cost. At least, this is how it was explained to me in 3rd grade. What opportunity cost really is is the next best option to what you chose. That means that if you are looking at five different clubs, but only have time for one, whatever your choice may be, you're not giving up four clubs, you're only giving up one other club since it's not like by not choosing club A you'd be able to join clubs B, C, and D. Understanding this helps you put your choices into perspective, and in my experience, not freaking out about the decision is important in making the right choice.

2 - Timing Matters
Supply and demand shift over time so timing can be a big factor in what opportunities you get or miss. You'll notice this everywhere from your experiences trying to apply for internships to attempting to get a decent meal at a dining hall. This is a huge life lesson and college is one of the first times you'll feel like you're competing with many people for the same things all at once, whether it's the last parking space, the last spot in a class, to the last bratwurst. Being conscious of your timing is a big part of success.

3 - You can't have everything
If you didn't know this before you will understand it now. If you did understand it before, you may likely find yourself challenged by it in new ways. Less space, less money, and less time is the general trend. Resources are scarce, and even if you've got all the money in the world (which you don't) you don't have unlimited amounts of time or health etc. Remind yourself that you can't get everything you want-- even that class you've been pining for like a middle-schooler over a teen pop star.

4 - You can't do everything
In economics, there is a model known as the production possibility frontier which basically shows what a firm can produce working at maximum efficiency. Anything on the PPF line is a situation in which a firm is allocating its resources for the most output. You can't go outside that line-- the resources just don't exist. Don't over-extend yourself and be realistic-- writing essays, doing sports, joining clubs, and studying will eventually compete with your sanity. Don't let it get to that point.

This is no substitute for a real Economics class, but economics is real life and the better you understand how life works the better you understand how to make good choices on your life.
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