Young and Broke: I’m Paying for My Own Education

    Posted in College, Lifestyle

I’m grateful of my parents for many things: bringing me into this world, my killer sense of humor, taking me to morning band practice in high school at 6a.m., etc. However, there is one thing that I’m grateful for that most people is crazy:

I thank my parents for making me pay for my own college education.

You’d think that any parent with the financial ability would just automatically pay for their child’s education. It’s their duty, right? Well, my parents decided to take a different route. They believe that paying for your own college forces you to do better. To them, if your parents are paying for your college, it doesn’t matter if you fail a class. Mommy and daddy can just pay for you to take it again. They believe that not only will I most likely do better, but that I will appreciate my education more if I pay for it myself.

What I love about this is that in my family, I’m treated like an adult. I may be the youngest of three and to my parents I will always be the baby, but they acknowledge the fact that they raised an independent and mature daughter. My parents were the complete opposite of helicopter parents. They gave me enough space to make my own mistakes, learn from them, and now I’m much more self reliant and stronger. To me, paying for my own college is my parents’ final lesson.

If I can do this, I’m ready for the real world.

There is, like all things, a down side. Like for instance, I’m broke pretty much ALL of the time. I live off of two loans, a grant, and a part time job, which – in the grand scheme of things – isn’t much. I live on a fairly strict budget, and it doesn’t have a whole lot of wiggle room. What really sucks is that most of my friends don’t have to worry about money. I only know a handful of other people whose parents don’t pay for college. I constantly have to tell my friends no whenever they want to go shopping, or go out to eat, or go for drinks. Even more, one of my best friend’s parents not only pay for college, but also pay her rent/utilities and her credit card bill. Am I insanely jealous? Of course I am. However I know that I can’t have everything that I want and have learned to do without. (I’ve also become the master and bargain hunting, but that’s another story for another day.)

With this being the start of my senior year, I’m starting to freak out a bit. I REALLY have to find a job after graduation, otherwise not only will I not be able to pay rent, but I also won’t be able to make my loan payments. What gets me through, though, is knowing that if my parents have enough confidence in me to survive in the real world, then dang it, I can do it.

I made it this far, didn’t I?

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