Don't get an Elise in college
I was fortunate to have financially supportive parents in college and graduate school. I drove a series of nice, modified VW GTI's. They worked out well because they were utilitarian and were fast.
I had roommates who had an M3, an early C5 Corvette, and a parent's E320 Mercedes. All three cars were vandalized in one way or another (and I went to a good college in a decent area), and generally were destroyed. Moreover, even in our fraternity, there was constant animosity over the cars.
In college, get something reliable and fun -- but avoid flashy and delicate like the plague.
Also, I can tell you that the Lotus is a handful. I have driven manual transmission cars since 1998, when I turned 16. I have driven everything from a bargain-basement Civic to a modified Porsche Turbo with a stick. And I can tell you that the Lotus is the hardest car to drive manual that I have ever driven, bar none. It's a combination of the lack of power steering (making steering more of a chore), the terrible linkage, the terrible low-end torque of the motor, and the general "go-kart" feel of the car.
Moreover, the car I owned before the Lotus was a 400hp+ turbocharged BMW 1-Series. I felt confident that I could handle the "little" 189hp Lotus.
Boy was I wrong. I haven't even pushed this car hard, but I have come very close to swapping ends a couple of times. I plan to do some HPDE events this Summer to get me better acquainted with the RR configuration.
At any rate. Save the Lotus for after college. Get a GTI. Or Ford Focus ST. Or something utlilitarian, fun, and that doesn't draw a ton of attention.