Monday, May 20, 2013
College and Your Parents
I am now that mother of a college graduate and I am really not sure how I feel about it. Part of me is elated that one of my children took the step of continuing their education and now stands a better chance of earning a nice income. The other side of me is panicking and not just about the cost I incurred to send her, but also about her future.
When my oldest daughter (now 22 years old) announced she had found the college she wanted to attend, her father (my ex...for good reason) told her that he was withdrawing his offer of helping with tuition because "that place is too expensive". The real reason, in my opinion, was the fact she was not interested in going to a college in Florida near where he lived. I found my daughter in tears and she told me that he had stated she "was not allowed to attend that school".
Now there are a few things that people who know me will tell you. First, I am very generous, sometimes to a fault. Second, you either like me or hate me. There really isn't a gray area though people that dislike me generally do because I am too open-minded and not judgmental. Lastly, one of the best ways to tick me off is to "forbid" me to do something. I don't take kindly to being forbidden. I didn't like it when I was 5 and I don't like it at 40. So when he forbade her from going to College of Wooster, I took it as a challenge. I would send her there, with or without him.
She was able to get her Bachelor's Degree in four years. This is not something people can say anymore. Most colleges are overcrowded so completing all your required classes can take 5-6 years. Add to that cost and the fact most people have to work and go to school (which really kills your GPA)...you are easily adding time.
My daughter managed to rack up scholarships and grants. We were able to take her $200,000 (for 4 years) college and cut it down to $70,000. That's a pretty awesome discount. Of course this also means I will be paying for this "fancy" education for the next 20 years or so and it is a huge expense, especially when I am looking at my 15 year old, 6 year old and 2 year old still needing to go to college. However, I felt it was worth it to give her the best education I could and the college she worked so hard to get into. My ex's daughter is going to attend a state school, that will cost nearly $21,000 a year if she doesn't get any free money and I will bet it takes her longer than 4 years. So in the long run, he will probably pay as mush or more than I did, negating his reasons for not helping with our daughter's education like he promised.
Granted, she feels awful about the cost but there is something all you kids need to remember, we parents are willing to do this for you. We want you to have a better start at life than we did. We want you to live better than we did. We are willing to make sacrifices in the hopes that the next generation has it better than we did. No I am not talking about recycling and conservation, I am talking about starting "adulthood". Being an adult is hard enough but it is made more difficult when you are not prepared for it. An education is one of those steps you can take to make adulthood a little easier.
Now graduates, go forth and do great things. I know you aren't sure what your next step is exactly. Many of you are not sure if you want to go to grad school or find jobs. I know that jobs are tough and the great, wide world is a scary place but just try to remember, you have wonderful parents that are standing behind you, acting as that stable force, rooting for you and ready to cushion your fall if they need to. They are willing to do all this because they love you and are proud of you. They took on the expense of raising you so that you could become a better person than they themselves are. Now smile...and take on the world.