Feeling Guilty

<p>On the Parents Forum last month was a thread about parents owing their children an education. Curmudgeon posted a story about his dad who never attended college making sure all his children did. Curmudgeon's dad sounded just like mine. The tone of the entire thread really stuck with me.</p>

<p>I've followed all the advice I've read here on CC and my GC helped a lot too when coming up with a college list. I've applied to reaches, matches, safeties and financial safeties. I have a good EA acceptance and a couple rolling acceptances. My parents and I talked a lot this past summer about how much to borrow and how we might be able to pay for college. I have twin sisters 2 years younger so I know things will be tight and sacrifices will be made by everybody. </p>

<p>Our family EFC is about $18K. My dad never finished college but he and my mom both have good middle income jobs. He works a 10 hr. day 4 days a week and he's talked about his getting a second and maybe third job to work during his off days. My mom jokes she's getting a job at a department store so we can take advantage of the discount. I work part time and already have a full time job lined up this summer.</p>

<p>The family budget we've been talking about requires both my mom and dad taking second jobs along with all my work study and summer earnings and the Stafford loans.</p>

<p>My dad has told me over and over he wants me to go to the college I feel is best for me without regard to money. He said as long as I used all my earnings and took the full student loans they'd find the money somewhere. I know my going to a good college is important to him. It's something he wishes he had done.</p>

<p>When I came down for breakfast this morning I saw my dad going through the Sunday classifieds and circling help wanted job ads. The reality of it all seemed to hit me. This won't be something they'll have to do for a couple months. This is a lifestyle they'll be living for at least 6 years. So now I'm feeling very very guilty. </p>

<p>I've read a lot of posts by parents mentioning skipping vacations and not getting new cars. I've not read any about parents working multiple jobs. Most of the student posters here are over achievers and I think maybe most of the parents are too. So I'm not too sure many of you can identify with our situation. </p>

<p>Are there other families out there who'll be working this hard during college?</p>

<p>nu409, i know how you feel.</p>

<p>my parents don't work two jobs, but my mom lost her job during my soph. year of college. when she got another job, she was only working like 30 hours a week, for less money per hour than her old job. </p>

<p>i would sit down and talk to your parents about it. i would say contribute as much as you can and talk about loans and stuff, hopefully they wont have to contribute too much.</p>

Are there other families out there who'll be working this hard during college?


<p>yes. ~berurah</p>

<p>Sure, there are plenty of families that will be working that hard and that have worked that hard so that their kids could make it. For instance, my great grandmom, who had a blind husband and herself probably lacked more than a 6th grade education, worked as a hospital laundress to send three of her 4 kids to college. The older ones also helped the ones coming behind them. This included helping a sib go to dental school.</p>

<p>If you feel guilty, then help your parents out by taking out loans, applying for outside scholarships, working a job during the summer and during the school year, and by giving them some monetary gifts after you eventually enter your profession.</p>

<p>You are fortunate to be able to have opportunities that your parents did not. I am sure that your parents are thrilled that you will be able to do things they could not. Still, because of your parents' sacrifices, you'll probably be better off economically than your parents, so will be in a position to help them out financially some day.</p>

<p>Depending on how much younger your sibs are, you may also be able to help with their college expenses. What goes around comes around. :)</p>

<p>I understand you feeling guilty - but understand that they WANT you to be able to go to a good college. If they want to make this "sacrifice" it is their's to make. Also, you don't have all your acceptances and Financial Aid offers in hand yet, so you don't yet know what amount of money your parents will have to pay. You may get a great FA package, or some merit money! (I've got my fingers crossed for you!) The time to make a good fiscal and educational decision is when ALL the acceptances and FA packages are on the table. It may be that you decide to accept an offer to a lesser-known school that offers you a better FA package, or maybe you will decide to go for a better-known or higher-priced one. But you can't make these decisions before you have the facts. April will be here soon!
There are also cost-cutting measures you can use once in school - and I'm sure you've heard them before. Become a "resident assistant" or live as cheaply as possible off-campus. Eat cheap, be frugal, etc. etc. Good luck, and I hope you get some great FA packages in April.</p>

<p>I work with recent immigrants, many of whom work 80 hours/wk to provide for their families. They are happy and proud to do this for the next generation to have opportunities. Do your part and thank your parents for their willingness to do what they can. Work hard and make their retirement years easier!</p>

<p>Dear nu408 --</p>

<p>I feel for your condition. But please consider the possibility that there is nothing else in the world that will give your father (and your mother?) greater pleasure than sending you to the college of your choice. From his perspective, it might not be a sacrifice at all, but a profound expression of his love for you, and a gift. HE will wear that gift with pride for the rest of his life. </p>

<p>Yes, you should sit down with them (after all the acceptances and aid offers are in) and ask what is both "reasonable" and what they are truly prepared to do (it may be "unreasonable" to you, but don't deprive them of pleasure of providing you with the best possible education.) With multiple acceptances, you may be able to go back to the school you really would like to attend and see whether they can up the financial aid package - really, it happens all the time.</p>

<p>And, if you really want to repay your parents? That's simple. DO WELL - make them proud. (and make yourself proud, too.)</p>

<p>You are lucky to have such a wonderfully supportive family. Many, many people work more than 40 hours a week, and if your father is doing it of his own free will, thank him by doing well in school, getting jobs, being frugal, etc. Best of luck to you!</p>

<p>One last thing: Not only do well and help out, but let your parents know that you appreciate them and are proud of them. There's nothing sadder than seeing a college grad who is ashamed of their uneducated parents who sacrificed to get their beloved child higher education.</p>

<p>Northstarmom took the words right out of my mouth! You've got a great set of parents NU409, but it's also clear that they got a wonderful, caring, and loving child in you. The best of luck to you as the acceptances and FinAid packages come rolling in.</p>

<p>NU409: We're in a similar situation here. My husband's hours were recently cut (less than 40 hours per week) and since his schedule is now quite irregular, I am strongly considering getting a second (part-time) job. My daughter (junior) keeps begging me to let her get a job, but it would mean eliminating some of her extra-curriculars...voice lessons, theatre involvement, church activities...and those are sacrifices that I'm unwilling to see her make. Her activities contribute to her growth and beauty as a person, and that is ultimately more important than a few extra bucks in the bank.</p>

<p>Does she feel guilty? Yes, I'm sure she does. BUT my feeling is that there will be enough times in her life when she will have to make tough choices, and I see no point in hastening that point, particularly since I'm more than capable of working an extra 10-20 hours per week. We committed ourselves years ago to providing her with an undergraduate education, and nothing...not even the vagaries of the job market...are going to change that commitment. </p>

<p>We do expect her to get a part-time job either this summer or the next (or both), so that she can contribute to her college living expenses. And she's well aware that when the time comes, a college acceptance may go in the "no" pile because the cost is out of our range. But it's our job as her parents to fulfill the promise we made to her (and ourselves) long ago...and it's a job that we accept willingly because it's ultimately a concrete expression of our love for her and our faith in her.</p>

<p>Don't feel guilty. It may be hard for you to realize but your parents WANT to do this, no matter the sacrifice to do so. Paying for college is a hardship for us too but we want our kids to go whereever they wish and it makes us happy. What you can do is to continue to act appreciative of what they are doing for you. Plus, you can work in summers to earn spending money for college. It is great that you recognize that your parents are going to bat to make this happen for you and that you do not take it for granted. Show your thanks....OFTEN. And now go out and continue to make them proud and afford yourself of these opportunities that they have afforded for you.</p>


<p>Funny how parents with 3x higher EFC refuse to pay for private colleges, while other people, like your parents, will do whatever it takes... </p>

<p>There is one more thing you can do to honor your parents: pay it forward; help your own children when they get to this point.</p>

<p>I agree with all the other posters. It IS that important to your parents. Now just make sure that it is that important.....to you.</p>

<p>Funny that ROTC isn't one of the topics here. Parents will have to work second jobs but student hasn't even considered ROTC. OK for parents to sacrifice?? ROTC scholarships will pay for your tuition and other expenses, keep your parents out of debt and actually help the student contribute to the strength and defense of our country. Immediately upon arrival at college you'll also have a built in "team" that you are a part of. Commitment is four years of active duty - most college grads don't have a clue what they want to do when they graduate. Military will give you a lot more responsibility than a private company and you'll have a leg up in finding a job when you've finished your active duty commitment. And those who don't really want to defend our country or be in harms way , can always go Navy or Air Force ROTC - very small chance of ever seeing real combat. (Marines, of course, are out there putting themselves on the line for us)</p>

<p>I'm not in the military now - but my son - ON HIS OWN - decided that ROTC was the way to go for him. Fortunately I make a good living and he's not doing it for the money - but because he understands that we all have a responsiblity to the country that gives us so much - and the town we live in overlooks the New York skyline - much changed since 9.11. Our next door neighbor never came home that day, and three of my good friends - known to my son - also didn't survive. A little sacrifice and a lot less selfishness would go a long way on this thread.</p>

<p>I consider education to be a top priority - locally, nationally, globally, and within my family. Yes, I will gladly do whatever needs to be done to get children into the best college for them - I started working again this year after taking a 13-year break to stay at home. And I do expect them to do their share to help (apply for scholarships, summer jobs, even consider ROTC).</p>

<p>Oy, oib. That's a bit harsh.</p>

<p>Nu, consider your feelings of guilt. Will they go away? Mine didn't.</p>

<p>Can you live with those feelings for six years? Is your dad in good health? Can he take on another job without jeopordizing his health or the emotional health of the rest of the family? Are you willing to live with that pressure?</p>

<p>To avoid those guilt feelings, perhaps you should do what I did and strive to pay a bigger proportion of the tuition. Choose the best fin aid package for undergrad--with some doable loans--knowing you'll get a great education at any of the schools on your list. Get a part-time job during the school year. Work two jobs during summers. Then, sign up for residential advising. It is an easy job that pays for your dorm room and partial board junior and senior year.</p>

<p>oib1 that is a bit harsh.</p>

<p>have you ever considered that some parents do NOT want their kids in the military? i've felt the same way as nu409 which is mostly why i applied for an nrotc scholarship to help pay for college, but frankly, i don't want my life controlled by the military. and its not like i have no respect for or experience w/ the military. my dad fought in vietnam as a marine and retired from the airforce, my grandpa was a fighter pilot for the marines in WWII, so I have a TON of respect for the people who serve our country. but does this mean that the military is right for me or for everyone? no.</p>

<p>what people don't tell you about rotc scholarships is that only 40 people get permission to apply to graduate school and you have to complete grad school in 18 months. call me selfish for wanting to go to law school or medical school after undergrad (they only allow 25 rotc students across the nation apply for medical school), but this is what i want to do in my life and i'm damn lucky to have parents who support me in this endeavor. </p>

<p>now i'm not trying to bad mouth the rotc program because i do believe that it is the best option for some people. however, considering the reality of war that we live in today, my mom does not want me to be in the military. (my close friend's brother was killed in iraq a month ago. why did he enlist? to earn money for college.) on the other hand, my dad wishes that i would have applied for the marine rotc scholarship instead of the navy, lol. i would have accepted the rotc scholarship right away if it wasn't for their grad. school policy, but this DOES NOT mean that i don't support my country or that i am selfish. there are other ways to support the u.s. so please refrain from putting a guilt trip on the people who don't want to do rotc.</p>

<p>nu409, a lot of people feel the same guilt you feel, including myself, but i have realized that maybe the best way to handle the whole paying for college problem is by compromising. i absolutely love boston college and it has been my number 1 for a long time, but unfortunately, good ol' bc costs about $44000. i've received my conditional award from bc, which is about $9000 for the 05-06 school year. now i'm receiving some good incentives at my state school, the University of Washington, which is quite cheaper than BC and in my case, would give me the same great education if not better. i'm a firm believer that college and life in general is what you make out of it, so even though i've always considered UW a safety, its a great school and would work very well for me so i would not regret choosing UW and passing up BC.
(oh, and by the way, that rotc scholarship was for Boston College... go figure.) :-)</p>

<p>good luck w/ whatever you decide to do nu409 and i guess my final advice is to live life w/ no regrets!</p>

<p>Oib1, not everybody is cut out for military service. And specifically concerning the war in Iraq, I think a majority of Americans feel conflicted at best. For others, who feel the way you do, ROTC or one of the service academies may well indeed be a very good way of paying for college. My own D applied for both ROTC and The Air Force Academy, but was medically disqualified. Given the current conflict, I can't say as I'm disappointed about that outcome. </p>

<p>Bty, I'm so very sorry to hear about the lose of your neighbor and friends during the WTC bombing. Even after four years, that still has to have tremendous impact on you and your family. I can't imagine how I would have dealth with such lose.</p>

You are so lucky...with parents who are so loving. And, they are lucky to have such a wonderful son who cares about them in return. Coming from another parent, a little guilt is a "good thing!" My advice is to go forward and make them proud. ;)</p>

<p>And, yes, there are many of us sacrificing families on CC. H & I have been discussing how we just need to get through the next 3 yrs...with D in 1st yr of college and 2 siblings to follow. When there is a will, there is a way. Best of luck to you!</p>