ANNA, IL (KFVS) - Students at Anna-Jonesboro Middle School played the game of life Friday.
"Welcome to the real world," is a program that lets students choose a career and then live a day in the life, faced with real life expenses and decisions.
And many learned the value of a single dollar.
First things first, students choose their career.
"Why did you choose a pharmacist?"
"Because they get organized and I like to be organized," says one student.
For Hunter Miller, an Environmental Scientist is his calling, making just under $30,000 a year.
"Now that you saw how much you will be making in a year, what are your thoughts now?"
"I'll be fine with it," he said.
And so the game of life begins
Hunter's first major purchase is a new car. He went for a new truck to avoid the costly down payment.
He walks away with the truck, but also some sticker shock.
"I expected it to be a little lower, but I guess that's what it costs," said Hunter.
Next big life decision, where to live.
And as quickly as he was handed the money, it was gone.
The realization of how fast money is spent is starting to set in with Hunter.
"I didn't have enough for the houses," he said.
Grocery shopping is next.
And any kid wearing a Duck Dynasty shirt trying to pinch a few pennies might ask this question.
"What if I hunt for my own food," he said.
Just half way through the game, Hunter's finances aren't looking so hot.
"$65 and I don't think can pay for insurance utilities, entertainment," he said.
The students make a few other life purchases like clothing and utilities.
And by the end, Hunter and most of the students walk away with a new appreciation of the real world.
"The real world is a lot tougher than I think it was," says one student.
"Choose cheap stuff and have a good job, pick a good job," says another student.
"I wish I would of won the lottery that would of worked out better for me," says Hunter.
The program is operated by the University of Illinois Extension Center, which visits schools in five southern Illinois counties.
This is the second year Anna-Jonesboro has hosted the event.