In the Fall semester of this last school year, I wrote this post after a frustrating seminar class and shared it on my facebook. As it is still relevant to me, I figured I’d share it here.
Today in my seminar class we were discussing Dante’s Purgatorio. Since it is close to thanksgiving, the question of telling your parents what you were learning in school came up. And it’s an interesting question, how would you explain Dante to someone who hasn’t read it?
Yet what bugged me about the conversation was this. A comment, from the president of the college, was made about the investment in this college, if reading Dante was worth what your parents were paying for you to come here, stuff like that. And while I knew it was mostly a joke, at this point I felt very out place in the conversation because my parents aren’t paying for my college education, I am.
But that’s okay with me. This is my investment, my future, and I’m willing to pay for it. Sure, I’ll be paying out thousands in loans for years, but this is the best opportunity and best time of my life. I’m okay with having to get loans for college, but I’m not okay with people assuming that I’m not struggling like I am.
The point of this was, I just thought it was interesting that it was assumed that everyone had parents who were able to pay for them to go here. Which is great for those who are lucky enough to get that. It just made me feel out of place because that was the assumption for everyone and it’s not. It’s general, yes, but not for everyone. We need to remember those who aren’t in the norm.
Also, I know a close friend of mine in the class also felt out of place. While her story is not mine to tell, I know it’s not her mom helping her out in school, but rather her grandfather. She struggles with money even more than I do. It’s interesting that the class assumed that everyone was going home to parents to tell these things to, when really there could be many other wonderful people helping you out with your education.
Overall, I’m not mad about anything, just wanting to express my feelings. I feel like both of these issues, assuming someone’s paying for your college, and that it’s your parents, is the “norm,” but that’s not what it’s like for everyone, and more people need to realize this. It almost diminishes the hard work that I, and many others, have to go through.
I’m working my butt off every day. I worked a full-time job over the summer to afford this semester’s bill. I’m working two jobs here on campus, and trying to get high enough grades to stay in the honors program while battling my mental health issues. College isn’t a walk in the park for me, and I’m so thankful to be here, but I’m also struggling to stay here. I know many people who like myself struggle every day with having to pay for this school or other basic needs. I know higher education is a privilege, but I worked my ass off to get here and I am working my ass off to stay here, and it’s hard when people who are getting college paid for them to say “oh, well C’s get degrees!” and just not care at all.
**Photo from theinstitute.ieee.org