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#31 I’m No Trust Fund Baby (Part 1): To Pay or Not To Pay?

July 21, 2008

College is the one place where you see the extremes of the intellectual strata of society clashing into one another. The beauty queen and the wallflower, the muscular and the corpulent, the Dean List-er and the Barely-Made-It-To-College, and of course, the Paris Hilton and the Cinderella (without the Happily-Ever-After part, yet).

I have to admit, I’m here in college, incurring debt every single day. But I’m still here, because I want/need/have to attain my higher education to survive in the working world today. I’m no trust fund baby, so that means when I do graduate, I’ll have to pay off every single cent of my tuition fees? Or should I? DO I?

Many people I’ve met are truly blessed, with either parents who have spoiled them senseless or with parents who themselves are spoiled AND senseless.

However the thing is, it seemed like a given to these kids that their parents are supposed to pay their way through college, the way they have raised us from a baby till…well, as long as you still live under their roof. I am not judging– most, if not all, of us need our parents to help us with the tuition fees right now, how else are we going to pay for it unless we never sleep and clock 20 hours a week scooping icecream everyday? –but somehow I don’t see why they owe it to us this way. I’m not talking about people who are lucky/smart enough to go through college without having to pay a single cent either through scholarships or some mysterious trust funds, but the run-of-the-mill student like you and me.

We buy textbooks, laptops, shiny stationery; some of us drive to school; some stay in dorms…everyone of these things are racking up a huge bill. But has it crossed many students’ minds that eventually, someday, they have to work and pay them off themselves? I suppose for me I do, and I freaked out everytime I think about graduation.

I believe good intention is the first step towards action. I want to be independent, self-sufficient, and I don’t wish to be that kid who walks off into the horizon, gets married, migrates to the another continent and conveniently forget about the sacrifices our parents made.

Sure, you can start your life immediately by saving up for your first house and car from your first paycheck onwards, but can you live with that? Is it a moral obligation for us to pay back our parents, or is it their obligation to fund us through college as our parents? It’s up to you, but I sure as hell will try to reduce the dent, with my own means, as much as possible. (And you will eventually thank yourself for doing so, for your children will have to do the same too with your own experience as living proof that it IS possible.)

I believe we can do this, as the new generation of college students facing escalating college debts in a global economy sliding into recession. We can lift our heads up high, square our shoulders and be proud of the fact that we did it our own way. Before things like mortgage and monthly instalments start creeping into our post-college lives, let’s treat worrying about college debt as OUR prerogative, and celebrate with the fact that we are afterall, very independent indeed.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Page permalink
    September 9, 2008 12:50 AM

    “Is it a moral obligation for us to pay back our parents, or is it their obligation to fund us through college as our parents?”

    I think it depends on the family and their unique financial and personal situations. If the family is financially unstable, the child will probably have to take out the loan and pay it back themselves. If the parents have more than the necessary means to pay for the education, then I think that they should at least help their child with the expenses – provided the child learns something about financial responsibilities. My parents and I have a negotiable “deal” that swings in my favor if I stay on the Dean’s List – meaning I have to independently work hard at earning those grades, and in return, the money.

    Ha, I dunno. My two cents.

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