Before this mess started, I was sitting on an old tipped over refrigerator talking to a sweet teen I met through the local After School Program. I’ll call her M.
M wanted a favor. She wanted money. This budding, beautiful woman wanted so badly to participate in her High School’s sports day, which required a small fee.
We all remember being in High School. Some of us were those kids who always had the means to participate, although it didn’t change our “dork” statuses or our pock-marked faces. Others were like M and I.
This was the third time she had asked me for money. So we sat and talked for a while.
I asked her what she wanted to be when she graduated. Her dream was college, America and a nursing degree. With the halcyon hues of hindsight, I remembered that my dream was college, a journalism degree and a life of independence.
Next I asked if she was working hard in school so she could go to college. she replied, “Yes, I am.” I asked if when she was in college and working on her nursing degree, she would still think about that sports day? It was not a question that a teen wants to answer, when the world spins on one dramatic twist of high school fate – or when she wants money. I understood.
People have recently told us that the federal government is eliminating dependent care from loan disbursements for big ticket degrees. You know, doctors, lawyers, all those degrees that sink the average person into debt hundreds of thousands deep. Here is how it works. The school tells you tuition and living expenses will probably cost $XX,XXX, so that’s how much you can ask for when you beg the federal government and/or the bank for a student loan. But if you have a spouse or kids, the school says you can ask for a little bit more. Parents can still ask for a little more money for their kids. But spousal support is kaput.
I wont comment on how people will tackle this decrease if they have kids. I don’t know what a rugrat costs these days. However, I do have something to say about the spousal support.
When our spouses are doctors, will I still think about not attending that sports day? I mean …
I told the upset M all about my struggles in college when I first struck out on my own. All of the 29 Cent Taco Bell burritos that made up my meals. The dank basement apartment next to the drug dealer. Walking to the corner mini mart to get what some might call groceries (others might call it crap) rather than driving, just to save that last drop of gas. And then there was that bleary-eyed wondering if you were awake or asleep walking into 12 credits of class (or 30 hours of work). I was usually awake, darn it.
I am sure my parents would have provided a little “dependent care” if I had asked. But then what would I have told the up and coming M?
When I married my crazy husband and his wild dream of becoming a doctor, I jumped in head first. I gave up my pride the first time I woke up next to him with mascara caked thick under my eyes and fro-tastic hair. I gave up my dignity the first time I had a real medical issue. He has my heart and soul. And if being with him on this crazy journey means living in a pretzel bag behind a Denny’s and going back to those (*shudder*) 29-cent Burrito dinners, then I will do it.
Because who am I to tell M that she must give up something for a bigger goal when I can’t do it myself?