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Free loading?! Awful guilt.

GlambamGlambam Registered User Posts: 26 New Member
I'm a Freshman (18 y/o) in college. I live at home to save money so I can graduate without any debt. My parents subsidize my living costs entirely and I do not have a job. I have a merit scholarship which covers all of my tuition and fees, so my parents don't have to put any money towards my actual college-exclusive expenses.

I feel like a free loader. My parents insist that I do not get a job unless it is something like working on campus in the admissions office or tutoring. They think that I should only be focusing on my studies so I can maintain my scholarship and have good prospects for graduate school. They tell me that I have my whole life to work and that I should focus now on just being a student.

I feel awful, awful guilt every time my parents buy me something, especially if it some sort of luxury. My family went Black Friday shopping and my Dad bought me a very expensive pair of riding boots and he also offered multiple times to buy me a fancy tablet too, but I declined. I feel pathetic. My Dad insists that he enjoys buying me things. He says that he works to provide for his family, and give me everything that my siblings and I want. This stems largely from his own background. He grew up in absolute poverty in Africa and went without such simple things as shoes for most of his childhood. He wants to give me and my siblings everything his parents couldn't give him.

I am currently looking into getting an on campus job next semester. On campus employment is open to everyone, not just work study students. My parents do not want me getting an off campus job, they've told me this repeatedly. All of my friends have off campus jobs and an income and I feel absolutely pathetic every time we go out and they're using their own money and I'm spending what is more or less an allowance my Dad has given me.

When I raise the issue with my Dad, he tells me that I am actually saving him so much money, because if I hadn't "worked" (he stresses the word work since I always bring up working in terms of employment) so hard in high school to get my scholarship, he'd be paying 40k+ in tuition a year.

I'm conflicted because I feel awful (the guilt has been getting pretty bad recently, with the holidays coming up) and my parents keep telling me that I shouldn't be feeling this way. I also feel guilty because I know there are kids who have to work because they don't have anyone who can provide for them, and I am complaining about what is to many a privilege. I feel guilty because among my peers, I am essentially a child, entirely dependent on my family. I feel as though the only way I can reconcile these feelings is if I get an on campus job (which I'm trying to do) but if that doesn't work out, I will only feel worse.

I don't know if my feelings are justified or if this is all just nonsense.

Replies to: Free loading?! Awful guilt.

  • GlambamGlambam Registered User Posts: 26 New Member
    Today I woke up really early and remembered how much money my parents spent on me during Black Friday and I cleaned the entire house, including the attic, and prepared lunch for my younger grade-school aged siblings, just to suppress some of the guilt and feel as though I was actually contributing. This has become a habit of mine, cleaning and cooking immediately after my parents buy me something.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 76,061 Senior Member
    What kind of "in kind" services can you do for your parents? Cook dinners once a week? Do the laundry? Shovel snow or mow the lawn? Vacuum the house? Run errands? Put up the holiday decorations (and take them down)? Dust? Change the linens?

    You are only freeloading if you do NOTHING to contribute to the household.

    Can you babysit on the weekends?

    Jobs in admissions are HIGHLY competitive, but there are other less competitve on campus jobs...call center, dining halls, for example. They aren't "glamorous" but they will give you work experience.

    My kiddo worked in the call center at her school for one semester...and it was a great thing to have on her resume when she applied for her job working in the admissions office. Plus she had a recommendation from an on campus boss.

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,633 Senior Member
    edited November 2014
    That scholarship that you earned is far more money than any typical college student job will earn you. Your top priority is to ensure that you keep that scholarship for all four years.

    If the scholarship has a GPA minimum to renew, remember that frosh year is the riskiest time, since you do not have previous high GPA course work to "buffer" against one semester of grades lower than the GPA minimum. Therefore, it may be least risky to fully concentrate on your school work, rather than look for a job this year. You do not want to lose $120,000 (the next three years of a $40,000 per year scholarship) for $2,500 or so of work earnings during the next semester.

    However, the situation may be different in following years, assuming you have built up a GPA buffer. Work experience, particularly if related to your post-graduation goals, is valuable. Depending on your major and post-graduation goals, you may be more likely to get relevant jobs in later years.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,900 Forum Champion
    edited November 2014
    It's sweet that you notice and appreciate what your parents do for you. But since they aren't paying anything for college costs, unless they are poor, then paying for a tablet and boots isn't really a lot (but still be thankful!)

    This about it....if your parents were paying for some of your tuition they likely would be spending at least a few thousand per semester....which likely a lot less than what they spent on Black Friday for you.

    It is very nice that you honored your family by doing those extra chores (can I adopt you?). Respect your parents wishes that they want you to focus on your education and not work. They may have determined that the income from a part-time job is so low that it isn't worth risking the loss of your scholarship - which would end up costing them a LOT more!!!

    Were some of those purchases Christmas gifts (or whatever your family celebrates)?
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 76,061 Senior Member
    Ok...I'll bite. Why did you start a thread called "Distractions of Debt" if you have all of your costs covered?

    Your posting history really isn't making any sense.
  • GlambamGlambam Registered User Posts: 26 New Member
    @thumper1 I was asking about loans because my parents and I had discussed the prospect of me transferring to another school. This had to do with a misconception about undergraduate prestige playing a role in graduate school admissions. (We thought, incorrectly, that undergraduate prestige meant as much as GPA in professional school admissions so the hypothetical debt would be an "investment") We have since kicked that line of thinking and are sticking with my current schooling situation.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 76,061 Senior Member
    Thank you for the explanation.

    I'll agree with others. Help,around the house as much as you can. And keep those grades up to maintain that scholarship.

    Perhaps if your grades are sufficiently high this term, your parents will consent to a 10 hour or so a week job.
  • GlambamGlambam Registered User Posts: 26 New Member
    I usually pick up my siblings from school twice a week and I always do the laundry and vacuuming in the house (I find both pretty enjoyable, lol).

    @mom2collegekids‌ These were quasi-Christmas gifts, yes. I don't really get Christmas gifts on Christmas day. I help my parents pick out and wrap gifts for my siblings who still believe in Santa and everything, to help make the holiday "magical" for them. My Dad wanted to buy me the tablet specifically for school.
  • OspreyCV22OspreyCV22 Registered User Posts: 1,683 Senior Member
    I'm of the opinion that your father would have told you if he needs you to kick in some funds. I agree with others that maintaining the GPA for your scholarship should be the #1 goal. It's paying you $40k per year. You sound like a great daughter. You can always get a job this summer and save your earnings for pocket money during the school year. I know I love it when my children surprise me by doing a chore that was not asked for. It really shows you care about your family. Good luck with school.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,900 Forum Champion
    You wrote the below a few months ago:

    I said that this was a purely hypothetical situation - I myself have been out of school for three years, with no debt.

    So, are you saying that after being out of school for 3 years, you have now returned to school (with tuition merit scholarships) and your parents were concerned that this current school wasn't prestigious enough and they once considered having you transfer, borrow money, and go elsewhere?

    What is your career goal?
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 76,061 Senior Member
    And how have you been out of school for three years but are an 18 year old freshman? Did you leave HS when you were 15?
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,900 Forum Champion

    In one thread, you wrote:

    ""I myself have been out of school for three years, with no debt. ""

    BUT....in this thread you wrote that you are an 18 year old frosh.

    What is the TRUE story?
  • jym626jym626 Registered User Posts: 57,364 Senior Member
    Home for the holidays and bored, so messing with cc parents?
  • GourmetmomGourmetmom Registered User Posts: 2,820 Senior Member
    Your parents surely did a better job of raising you than I did with mine. They're home right now and so far, I have not witnessed a single cleaning frenzy...although I guess I can still hope. Popcorn bowls are still in the family room from last night, and I am avoiding their bedrooms until Monday morning.
This discussion has been closed.