This is the only term from the two semesters of Economics in college. But the word is more relevant to me as a parent. My aspie courageously took the big leap to a four-year college over five thousand miles away. He, no undoubtedly, had bumps along the way. I left him alone in his world; to make mistakes and hopefully learn from them. And I didn't want to be a helicopter parent. It was a big gamble, an expensive gamble. After three semesters, during his winter break, we sat down to talk. I knew he wasn't happy where he was and I had to say what I knew he wanted to admit. He wanted to come home.
December 17, 2014. Yes, I remember the date because, the very next day was a very long drive to his school to bring the rest of his things back home. There wasn't much talking on our 7-hour drive to his school. When we got to the big empty campus, the reasons for his wanting to leave was very apparent. I don't know why I did not notice before. I could see how he could feel isolated in an enormous campus. He packed his things and withdrew from the school. My only thoughts at this point were that I didn't see any of his friends. I walked with him to the bookstore to meet his friend.
I decided to go back to the hotel because I was afraid he was being stood up and I didn't want to feel his embarrassment. I cried thinking, he must have been alone all this time and he wasn't telling me. I waited for him and hoped he would be late and he was. His "friends" were too busy to meet him before he left, he said. But when he got back, he was absolutely thrilled. His friend showed up to meet him. His friend came along with a dozen more turned up to send him off. I cried (inside) for different reasons. We drove back feeling relieved and for very different reasons.
Sunk cost according businessdictionary.com is money already spent and permanently lost. They are past opportunity costs that are partially irretrievable and, therefore, should be considered irrelevant to the future decision-making. The cost of 3 semesters of out of state tuition, room & board, books, travel cost, and time is irretrievable. But I can't say all is lost. The life lessons he learned and the connections he made (on his own) was definitely worth every penny.