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What I Learned From the Privilege Meme - Mo's Journal
January 3rd, 2008
11:42 am

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What I Learned From the Privilege Meme

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From:mofic
Date:January 4th, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
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This was interesting to read, and really shows how there are so many differences among families not captured by a quiz like this.

On the parents paying for college thing: as I said elsewhere, I don't think it's really feasible now for kids to fund their college educations themselves without significant debt. And an undergraduate degree is considered the entry point to work in many fields where previously a high school diploma was sufficient. So if parents can't pay for college, kids are left with either having that huge debt or going to college slowly while working, or not going. I would like my kids to have a college experience if they want it, and I'd like them to be able to do so residentially and I don't want them to graduate with huge debt. So that's why I'm trying to come up with enough money to fund their college. It doesn't mean they won't work - Doran is working now on break and needs to get a summer job, too - but I just don't think it's feasible for them to put themselves through college like I did. The money they earn should cover spending money, incidentals, etc. but with a public university education here costing $20k a year (and I think it's a fine education and still much less than private) I don't think I can expect a kid to fund a significant part of it him/herself.
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From:vanessa_musing
Date:January 4th, 2008 03:42 pm (UTC)
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I graduated college in 1997, a 4-year State college. My parents didn't have the resources to help, and on principal my Dad wouldn't have helped anyway (self-made and all that). I worked when I was in high school to save money for college. I joined the Air National Guard for GI bill assistance that wouldn't delay my college years (that would be different now, for sure). I worked as a restaurant server 25-35 hours per week my entire college career. I also had a small merit scholarship my first 3 semesters, but lost that when my GPA fell below 3.5 (3.47, yes I was upset!). I tried very hard to avoid debt and it was a difficult road sometimes. 2nd semester of my junior year, I ended up borrowing $5000.

Also, I made the personal decision to move out on my own during school. I could have stayed home and that would have made it easier financially. I also could have taken more of my courses at the local community college and saved tuition costs. I did consciously choose an engineering degree partly for the reason that I could get a good paying job with just a 4 year degree. I never saw graduate school as a viable option, getting a 4 year degree was huge enough for me.

This stuff is so variable and expectations can be so different between families. The fact that I chose to go to college was my responsibility, considering I was the first in our entire family to attend right out of high school (my Dad attended as an adult, graduating while I was in high school)
So I think it can be done.
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From:mofic
Date:January 4th, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC)
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So I think it can be done.

Well, as I said, I did it on my own and I think in some places and at some times it's possible. But for my kids here and now I don't think it is, without large loans or delaying graduation or living at home during college, none of which I want for them to be stuck with. It is just not feasible - here and now - for an 18- or 19-year-old to earn the $20k (after taxes) needed each year with part-time work and summers.

And even when it is possible, I don't think it's necessarily a *good* way to go to college. I was able to manage with 15-20 hours of work a week during they year and 60 during the summer but I lived in *constant fear,* because I was living totally hand-to-mouth and anything that stopped my income - even temporarily - would mean I was sunk. I worked sick, including with high fevers, because I couldn't afford to take a day off. I was in terror of slipping on the ice in the long winters and breaking my leg. I don't want that for my kids.
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