I remember the day it first dawned on me that my parents would not be paying me through college. I grew up seeing it as a standard on TV shows, movies, and even among some of my closest friends: parents put their kids through college. Not us, not me. It didn’t dawn on me at 16 when my school put me into a state-assisted job for children in poor families. The depths of it didn’t even dawn on me at 18, working graveyard in a Walmart after my application to a favored (by my church, at the time) private Christian college did not take financial aid (not-accredited) and I was unable to go.
It crept upon me like a sickness.
I scraped by in my first 4 years of college, somehow, without it taking me. I was living in a ministry-based “dorm” in nyc with a minimal (>$500) rent fee. I had high hopes, dreams and aspirations.
Until a divorce, a fall out of faith, and very upset parents left me with no support. I couldn’t live at home, I couldn’t live in a Christian establishment, I had no other option than to devote myself to an entry level job and put a roof over my head. I withdrew from school after bottoming out, and 2 months later got pinned with a bill.
These past 4 years since that time, I’ve waited tables to feed my stomach, keep a roof over my head, and piddle away at my debts.
Fast forward through those years, I’m here with my work (and charity of those close to me) paying off. I have a B.A. to show for it now, officially, but I feel I have lost my mind.
I fast forwarded through those 4 years in this blog for a reason, nothing happened. I worked, sometimes two jobs, just to make ends meet. I lived with my current husband’s family for a little less than half of that. Sure, I’ve done some recreational reading, some (very little) volunteer work, but nothing that is academically pertinent.
Nothing to push me closer to what was my dream and aspiration: teach and research.
After 4 years of manual labor, I can think of nothing else in life than make money, pay bills, have babies, pay more bills, and die hopefully leaving money to my next generation. My mind feels dull, the thirst for information has dried.
How does one rise above the restrictions, woes, and weight of a poverty upbringing and soar into higher education? Engage in higher thinking? Become the philosopher kings?