To women applying for graduate school, paying for it on their own and being the sole provider for their families. To women who have like me experienced homelessness, illness and poverty. And to women trying to use community resources to change their lives: This post is for you.
Today I write from the point of view of not only a friend, a sister and a graduate student, but a daughter. I had a dream last night. Much like many dreams I have had in the past two weeks, it was mixed with visions of graduate school and a post-apocalyptic back drop. I found myself stressed when I woke up when I was sure I was supposed to be rested. A firm believer in the idea that dreams can, in some cases, bring to light what you are truly stressed about, I feel that school, while 3 months away is already weighing heavily on my mind. Although I have never been more excited for a new experience to begin, I am continuously made nervous about how much my future will cost. In conjunction with the price tag on American academia, I am in the small percentage of children in the U.S. who are the breadwinners for themselves and their parents.
This make me incredibly angry.
I don’t mean to say that I am angry that I am taking care of my mother. Instead, what I mean is that there should be more resources for young women such as myself. I have exhausted all ideas and resources that I once thought were available for people in my position. Knowing this, my education, although coming at a much needed time, seems to be the only thing holding me together at this point. When I woke up this morning I felt a sense of dread. While it could have just been a mixture of not wanting to go to work and having terrible dreams the night before, I picked up the phone and texted someone who I knew would have a wise word to share with me. After telling him what I was stressed about, he asked me “do you have any support with that?” I told him that I had a lot of great support from my partner and friends and that as far as the financial help went, I, was all I had.
He then said something that, for some reason resonated with me in many ways. He asked if I “had anyone to discuss my (my mother’s) next steps with”. this both struck me as much as it made me angry at my situation. Although he was the first person to ask if I had someone to talk to, he voiced the same question that most people ask. Most people being the one’s not living in fear of supporting their parents. Many people have asked me if I “spoken to anyone about my situation”. And while they are only trying to be nice and express concern, what they don’t realize is that I’ve asked every organization and charity possible and have even written Ellen DeGeneres multiple times in order to find some relief. But resources are scarce and my mother and I look and are more put together than most people in our situation may appear. this has even caused our family social worker to not fully help, which she admitted to only after realizing we are truly struggling.
There is not a day that goes by that I am not applying for scholarships or looking for a second job in order to make life a little bit easier. All I can ask is that this reaches others who are struggling or watching there parents struggle. There is hope.
131 scholarships and counting……