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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: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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