of awkward tension in my house lately. Well, not so much, but a little more than the usual, and it all started over—can you guess?—money. Literally, the root of all problems.
I want to take a 3-credit class over the summer, and my mom’s against it. I can see why—it’s roughly $3,000 that: (1) won’t be covered by scholarships; and (2) is needed to be spent about two years earlier than we had planned. So needless to say, I feel tremendously guilty about it. At the same time, I need to take this summer class in order to graduate early.
I think it would have been okay had I not taken two classes last summer, as well…anyway, the point I’m trying to make is: Yes, I know I’m very demanding. Last semester I worked an unpaid internship, so I needed my parents’ help with money (like a lot), and since I’m spending this semester abroad I’m going to need their help again (this time twofold, since I’m going to be living in a city more expensive than New York).
At the same time, I’m planning on working this summer and paying them back some of what I borrowed. And I’m going to support them later on—aren’t I allowed to be a little needy now? (I feel like I’m going on a more complex tangent than planned…)
A month or two ago, one of my friends from college and I were sitting in my dorm, talking about (what else?) our futures. We’re both in Stern, studying business, and struggling with some sort of mis-identity, mis-direction, call it what you will, but it’s a very common stress that plagues most young collegiate peoples.
Anyway, we were talking about whether or not we were going to get funneled into the cookie-cutter “Built-In Life/Career Path” most students in Stern seem to inevitably adopt.
(For those of you who aren’t in Stern, the plan goes pretty much like this: Major in finance + random concentration that makes you think you’re somehow different than everyone else —> flip a shit junior spring looking for a summer internship at a bank —> eventually land an internship —> spend a totally boring, unfulfilling summer working at ____ bank —> get an offer to work full-time beginning two months after graduation —> make a shit ton of money —> get comfortable —> meet future spouse —> get knocked up —> move to an upper middle class neighborhood —> live an upper middle class life —> die decently happy, knowing you were able to support your family and parents and yourself, but also knowing that you were happy in the long-term, yet rarely in the day-to-day)
He was pretty confident that he wouldn’t—but I’m just not so sure.
I can say honestly that I don’t want to. If someone came to me today at this moment, or tomorrow, or anytime in the next few months, and told me that when I left college, I would just be giving up a desk in school for an office desk, that I’d be a cog in some financial institution somewhere, I would cry.
What I really want to do is take a risk and do something (start a business, something!) that sounds totally crazy, something that *could work* and could payoff big time (in happiness, and in money)—but also might not. But how could I do that to my parents? How could I put them through the stress of thinking I might not succeed…and that all the money they had invested in my education might end up being a total waste?
This all might sound terribly exaggerated—but I’m telling you, these are legitimate fears!
But then again, how could I not do this for myself? Didn’t my parents work hard to make sure my sister and I could have access to all the opportunities they weren’t able to have? If I give up doing what I want to do, it’s like this endless cycle…they work hard to give me a better life, I work hard to give back, and to give my kids a better life…and in the end, nothing extraordinary gets done. Nothing special happens!
I mean, I guess different people want different things. In a few years, maybe I’ll just want security. But right now all I know is that I’m young, and I want to do something special with my life. And nothing special comes out of playing it safe.