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.