Being a student on the border of poverty
I was sitting across from a lady at the bank, begging for a loan that I had no chance of getting when it occurred to me, somehow without me knowing it, without any random lightning, or at least an orchestral cue, I had become one of those people.
One of the people of the privileged student class that no one likes to talk about. The ones pushed to the fringe when the world starts talking about all the good things students have nowadays, with no true knowledge of what it’s like to be a student.
Right now, I’m on the border between true poverty and getting by, mostly by virtue of a part time job with too few hours and friends that let me crash on their couches. The woman looked at me across an almost empty desk and smiled sympathetically.
“We’ll put this application through, but the only way you can get a loan is with a cosigner.”
I know that I’m not the only one in this position, but at the same time I feel like I’m the only one in the world who has to deal with this. I suppose that’s how everyone feels when things stop going their way.
That is hardly a comforting thought when all the money in your bank is put aside in fear that you won’t be able to go to school next semester. St. Thomas’ emergency bursaries aren’t for tuition, so I may end up having to drop out my very last year.
It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? When you walk around campus any day, you probably come across any number of people who can’t afford the things that most take for granted. Too prideful to go to the food bank; too poor to eat every meal for every day of the week. Wondering if their shoes can take another winter. Dealing with horrible landlords because the apartment is cheaper than one with a decent landlord.
All for the sake of a degree that may or may not be worth it in the end. To drive yourself to an ulcer, which I’m sure is forming in my stomach as we speak, worrying over money seems like a waste of time to me. Then again I’m apparently sitting on the other side of the fence now, so I can’t say I’m unbiased.