The Voices of Reason


QUESTION: 

I am a first-generation student; my parents do not seem to understand the importance of my education. I have been taking out loans to help pay for my tuition each year to pay for what my scholarship does not cover. I’m already swimming in debt, and my parents think I should just drop out and focus on what is “apparently really important”: taking on the family business. I’ve told my parents multiple times that I’m not interested, but they won’t take no for an answer because, if I don’t drop out, they’re just going to have me manage the business after graduating.

When I’m not at school nor at home, I work to help pay off my loans a little bit at a time.

I’m at my wit’s end. Without having the support of my parents for my education, I am constantly stressed (seeing as I commute from home) because while I need extra time for homework, my parents want me to do other things for the business instead. Sometimes, I just want to move out, but I can’t–not as long as I am attending college.

Please tell me what you think I should do,

Sincerely,

First-Generation Student


ANSWERS

GIRL TALK

First-Generation Student,

First off, since they are student loans that you have gotten, they do not require you to pay until sometime after you graduate (at least that is how mine work). Do not worry about your student loans yet; you will either get your desired career out of college, or, if it comes down to it, working at the family business will help you pay your bills. Maybe, if your parents are stressing you out, you should think about living on campus. If you can’t afford that, maybe you should have a talk with your parents and tell them you need time for homework. Also, since you are a first-generation student, you should look into scholarships that are for first-gen students. Apply for any scholarships you can, if you are that worried about your college debt.

~Mindy Allen


GUY SPEAK

First-Generation Student,

Remember that your life is ultimately your choice. Your parents cannot force you to manage the business. However, keep an open mind. Jobs are hard to secure, so you may want to work for your family to save enough money to start your own path. Try to share your education with your parents. Talk to them about papers and projects you’re writing. If your parents are stopping you from finishing homework, stay on campus a little longer and do your homework in one of the lounges or computer labs. For your living situation, look at apartments near the campus. If you can’t afford this type of housing, remember graduation will come and you can find your own place then. In the meantime, try staying overnight at a friend’s house occasionally to finish homework and escape for a little while.

-Chris Streetman