T Nation

Feeling Guilty About College


Caution, long post.

So here is my situation. I am 23 and will be finally completing my 60 units this semester. I will be ready to transfer to a state college(about 30-45 minutes away depending on traffic).

This whole time i have been going to college I have been working and trying to pay for everything myself. My Parents(esp my mom) keeps asking me how much I am spending and she will write me a check. They have made it very clear, on numerous occasions, that I have a college account that they have saved up and will pay for everything. I just don't want to end up like my other two brothers who are basically asking my parents for money every week and both owe them well over 10k for stupid reasons like DUI's. They are both wasting away their college funds and not even going to college.

I just feel like I can't be reliable enough to spend their money. I mean, I dropped out of high school the summer of '99(I am year '00) to go to college early, because I felt like highschool wasn't teaching me anything. So I have been going to college part time since then and have only just now completed 60 units and am working on transferring. In my defense, I checked out a ton of degree choices and took various classes. I just feel like every semester I will start really strong. Get A's on all the tests, then halfway in I will just burn out.

Another reason that I am feeling guilty about the whole thing is that I don't see the sense of accomplishment and responsability that I am supposed to come out with if I continue living at home, and take their money to complete my education. I have many friends that are more tight on money than I am. When they come back from college its rough trying to plan things around their budgets. But it seems to me like they are living a healthier life in a way. Like its building character.

I look at my life right now and I am pushing 24, living at home, working a few nights a week(making roughly 100/week) and struggling to keep my financial situation in check to keep my debt down and grades up.

To make it worse, I keep thinking to myself "how the hell am I supposed to get some, whenever I meet a chick I have to tell her my situation(living with parents/low income/community college)"?

Anyways, I will get to the point. I have been speaking with a friend of mine recently that was similar point in life. We were similar in regards to how well we do in school, jobs, etc. He has just taken out student loans and is living on campus at state, and has hooked up with a study group. Now he is getting a 3.0+ gpa and is doing well for himself. I asked him about his student loans and he basically said that its about 15k year. This includes the on campus apartments, tuition, and books. He is out of the (parent's)house, more comfident, more social, and is getting better grades because he is studying what he wants to study(as opposed to General ED).

It is very tempting to do, but I think my parents would be very much against it. I would save a huge grip of money staying at commuting from home and if i used their money i would come out debt free. It just seems to me that I will have come out of college will all book smarts and no life smarts. No sense of responsibility and accomplishment. Like I was a sheep being herded from one pen to another. From school to job. And worst of all, being that I stayed at home, i will have missed out on the "college experience".

I am just put off by it, because i know when i bring it up my parents will just tell me how much of a bad idea it is and mention how terrible and unreliable my track record is anyways.

What do you guys think? Should I bring it up? Have any of you gotten student loans? What were your experiences?

As a footnote, I hear that if you join the peace corps, they will pay off some of you student loans. Anyone know anything about this?

Thanks for reading.


I haven't lived at home since high school. You sound like you have been sheltered your entire life. There is no way I would have even wanted to stay at home any longer than I did. I think it is past time that you need to get the hell out of the house and learn what life is like on your own.

I was more driven than that because I knew my parents didn't have much and my goal was more. There was no one to support me and there was no "college fund" to help pay for shit. By your age, I had already graduated from college. You left high school early...and you're still in school? For me, it was all about time limits. They gave us a five year plan in high school and since I have had that same mentality. You don't even seem to have that basic motivation. Have you ever been without something? Was there ever a period where your family wasn't sure how they were going to pay for something important...like a car note, or Christmas gifts? Things like that are motivation. That is why your friends who have to pay for everything and who live on their own seem to have more character. They know what will happen if they don't succeed. No one will be there to bail them out.

No one can tell you how to live your life, but you come across like a rich kid who had everything given to him except for the ability to stay driven towards a goal. At 23, I think it's time to tell mommy and daddy goodbye. Perhaps you will find motivation when you figure out how fast bills pile up when you aren't pulling in a decent pay check. For the record, there are many kids who live at home and still stay motivated even through grad school. Perhaps it is all about how you view the world. Everyone doesn't have a trust fund.


Px, You are completely right.

I am quite sheltered and have never had to worry about some of the things others have. Because of that I lack that motivation. Its the truth. Another thing is that I was given the luxory of being able to explore and choose what i wanted to be and I got lost. Most people shoot towards one major and stick with it. I should have known that instead of questioning too much.

I have had the ability to get through school. I am fairly intelligent and have the ability to get A's easily. Just not the motivation. And because of this i just sorta drifted and never figured out that I was being an immature.

I want that to change. I know what I want to do now and am working towards it.

I Guess you answered my quesion pretty bluntly. Get a student loan and cut the cord.

As for my job situation. I have talked to some people who were able to work full time and go to school full time. Yet I just can't function that way.

Is acceptable that I work part time for at crappy job or is that just me being a p*ssy and not putting in enough effort again?


I don't want you to get the wrong opinion completely though.

I did work full time and had moved out previously. I spent too much and money and time on stupid crap and dating my last ex that my bank account dwindled. Then I decided to go to school because working 40 hour at just above minimum wage is a terrible way to go through life.

I realized this a short time after splitting up with my ex, so I moved back home and decided to go to school full time.

Going through school part time is hard. After all those years I only came out with about 40 units.
I came back to my parents house and have been going full time since last semester.

My whole deal with these posts is that I wanted to know the opinion of where the money for school should come from. My parents insist on paying for it and me staying home and getting it done. I believe it would be better to take out loans and take responsability for it.



I'm not old enough to say anything as I'm still in high school but atleast it's admirable you're beginning to understand how much it effects. I feel the exact same way for my parents. My parents have saved up some money, but honestly, I would rather borrow that money from a student loan and pay it off.

I don't want to but a barage of problems on them for debt. As for your brothers, slap some sense in him. That's ridiculous to get DUIs that waste that much cash.

Enter 2 years of State college and work your ass off. Work and Study. Make it above over ANYTHING. Then in two years, trasnfer to a tier one college, they're more generous on fin. aid and because you're at that age, if you choose to live out and be "independent" you'll have more fin. aid.

You'll graduate from a tier one college, have to pay even les s money, and atleast dormed for the last two years of college which hopefully you'll have "gotten some" at whatever college you choose to go.

Immediately, some of you may jump on me saying I'm in high school. I'm one of those high planner individuals that plan out everything. In the other forums I visit, which specialize on College, that's the advice I've constantly seen. This is what I've absorbed from it, and hopefully it may help you.

I fucked up in my first few years of high school; and it's only at that realization that I realize everything is up to your own determination.

So move forward. You're making a step when you realize the situation you're in.

May God Bless, and May you "get some."


It doesn't matter where the money comes from. There are several kids in school that WISH they had someone to help pay for college. It is about your mentality and growth as a person. If you can become a responsible person with their help, so be it. If you are incapable of finding any sort of compass in life without completely disassociating from your parents, then yes, you may need to walk away.

It doesn't make any sense to turn down help because of what anyone else thinks. It is your life, no one else's. The one thing you do need to learn is independence.


Is living in the States so much of an incubator that you need to go living on campus to learn about life?

While Prof X is right in many respects, I am like you in some aspects. I am 24 and my parents offered and payed my way through college and are still paying.

Motivation...how about doing something of your life. I mean Gawd...don't you have any ambition? Hell, your parents have been paying for you all your life and have, as of yet accomplished nothing.

I mean this is pathetic, take the money, bite the freaking bullet for a couple of years and get your degree already, at least the last 5% of the money they will have spent on you will have served a purpose.

By 24 you should either be out of college getting a job or finishing your Master's or something.

Frankly, being a rich(er) kid as opposed to the likes of Prof X who had to bust their ass to get their way, you should be achieving so much more because you don't have to deal with this kinda shit.

You should take the money and if you want motivation to go through college and excel after that, imagine telling your parents you've wasted 50 grand of their money jerking off going to frat parties, boozing and hooking up with chicks.

And while I agree with the Prof on the need for independance issue you should realize the debts are going to follow you for a long time so try getting your bearings right before deciding that you need an independance quest.

Not trying to be as harsh as the post sounds, its just that the usual equation is : My parents are giving X,Y,Z...I want X,Y,Z, therefore I will have to pay for it on day. You'd figure college is the best way to go and the earlier you're through, the better.

My Dad would never have let me work during college semesters with the basic premise behind that would be: You think I'm gonna let my son take the chance to fuck up because he wants to play grown-up...

In exchange, I have had the obligation to go above and beyond the highest expectations. Pretty good deal if you ask me.

It's kinda late to start realizing that you're fucking up, but better late then never.


It doesn't make economic sense to work at a job if it's going to interfere with your academics. You're going to be making more when you graduate, so don't hurt your future prospects because of guilt. If you're facing a situation where it's either take the money or get worse grades, take the money.


I used to kind of live the same lifestyle as you. Right now I'm 23 and I go to the university of Iowa.

I went to community college for 2 years after high school and lived with my parents. They paid for my college, but i still had a job during the time. after graduating there, I went to the university of iowa. They still would pay for my school but I got a job and paid for my partying and clothes, stuff like that.

To make a long story short, I've flunked out of school twice there. I'm going back for the 3rd time and I told them I wanted to pay for everything myself. They told me they have all of this college money saved up, but I finally decided I needed to pay for it on my own. I'm 23 and I'm an adult. I know if I really need money for something I can go to them, but it would have to be an emergency for me to do that.

Granted they have taken care of some basic stuff for me to make things easier. They gave me a car (1987 honda accord) Its not flashy or anything but it runs good and they pay for the insurance on that every 6 monthes.

My advice to you is to take out student loans though. Ive seen way too many people who just work themselves to the bone to pay for all of college out of the pocket. College should be enjoyable. You'll learn more out of the classroom than in it. Take out a loan for your classes, rent, and food, and maybe just a little extra padding. Then get a job for like 20 hours a week and concetntrate on school. My parents don't like the fact that I took out a student loan, but just tell them you need to be accountable for yourself for once.

If you have any questions or need anymore advice just pm me!