Shame on your silver spoon.

Am I the only person who has been doing it on their own all the way through college? Seriously? I was browsing posts from my fellow Brazen bloggers and I stumbled upon this gem about what you should hear in a graduation speech (but probably won’t).  This point is the one that got me a little riled up:

3. Rent. Food. Health insurance. Car insurance. Cell phone bills. College loans. Yeah, these are all going to be, wait-they-can’t-be-serious, more expensive than in you’re little dream world where you’re parents picked up the tab on one, two, or all. (Yes rent is every month and yes it’s half your Starbucks check).

I’m not riled up because of Paul’s post. I’m worked up because his post shed light on a subject I think I was a bit naive about. I’ve been paying everything except my health insurance since I graduated high school, and had assumed that most of the collegiate population was the same way. That is the ONLY thing my parents pay, and once I move to Chicago, I’m on my own for that.  I paid my tuition, I paid for books, I paid my rent and my ridiculous car payment, I’ve been supporting myself since I was 19. 

Not like my parents are jerks or anything, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Because my parents didn’t have the means to pay for my college or hand me the world on a silver spoon, I’m more prepared for the world ahead. I know how to set up a budget and stick to it. I know how to save money (when there is money to save).

I was under the impression that more students were like me, working and going to school full time, paying their way through their undergraduate years. But if the quote above is something that you should hear at a graduation speech, is that suggesting that my college peers are being handed the world on a silver platter?

Even if your parents are paying for everything right now, what are you going to do after graduation when you’re suddenly faced with hundreds of dollars of monthly responsibilities? I have two guesses. You could end up like some of the people I work with at the restaurant, who had everything handed to them while they were in college, and now they’re one, two, three years graduated and yet to leave the restaurant and do something that utilizes their degree. They’re living shift by shift because they don’t know how to set up a budget or save money. Or perhaps you’ll be the 30 year old living with your parents because you don’t know how to support yourself.

Maybe I’m biased because I have been providing for myself since I graduated, but shame on the parents that are giving their kids everything and not teaching them what the real world is like. It’s because of your actions that Gen-Y is accosted with this stereotype of feeling entitled to everything. Of course they do! The generations before us have been feeding the egos of these kids and haven’t attempted to teach them life skills in the process.

I think in all reality, most of us are probably a balance of the two extremes. But for those of you who don’t have a cent of responsibility now, you better get ready for life after graduation, because like Paul said, it’s not like your dream world.

How was your education funded? If your parents have been paying for everything, are you ready for the day they cut you off? If you have paid your own way, what were some of the ways you did?

  • http://www.restlesslikeme.com/ Norcross

    I’ve had a blend of both parents, employer, and funding my own education. However, I think you’ve jumped to conclusions a bit, since there have always been those who had their parents pay for college, so it isn’t just Gen-Y. I’ve seen both sides of it, where people who had it paid for did well for themselves right after school, and those that faltered. Either way, it’s not an issue of money or class, but simply bad money management skills. And those affect all people, not just college grads.

  • http://www.restlesslikeme.com Norcross

    I’ve had a blend of both parents, employer, and funding my own education. However, I think you’ve jumped to conclusions a bit, since there have always been those who had their parents pay for college, so it isn’t just Gen-Y. I’ve seen both sides of it, where people who had it paid for did well for themselves right after school, and those that faltered. Either way, it’s not an issue of money or class, but simply bad money management skills. And those affect all people, not just college grads.

  • http://youshouldonlyknow.com/ Erica

    This is kind of what drives me nuts about the Brazen community. It’s very easy to talk about striking it out on your own, freelancing and taking leaps when someone else is paying for you. I think it’s awesome if parents can help out, especially since I missed out on some great opportunities because I simply couldn’t afford them (unpaid internships, etc.) but – no one ever mentions that when they talk about how wonderfully independent and risky they are.

  • http://youshouldonlyknow.com Erica

    This is kind of what drives me nuts about the Brazen community. It’s very easy to talk about striking it out on your own, freelancing and taking leaps when someone else is paying for you. I think it’s awesome if parents can help out, especially since I missed out on some great opportunities because I simply couldn’t afford them (unpaid internships, etc.) but – no one ever mentions that when they talk about how wonderfully independent and risky they are.

  • http://www.lifewithoutpants.com/ Matt Cheuvront

    A very honest post Sydney – I feel the same way about a lot of this. One good thing that came from my parents divorce was the establishment of a college fund which covered (most) of my college education. Other than that, I, like you, have been on my own since I was old enough to work. It was hard but it shaped me who I am today – someone who is currently 100% independent, and who values and appreciates ‘making it on your own’.

    I’ve written about this in the past and the one thing I’ve learned is that everyone’s situation is different. I do get frustrated with people who preach ‘quitting and doing what you love’ when they have the comfort of living at home – only because doing something like that just isn’t a reality for the majority of us. We have to be smart in our decision making, we can’t afford to take huge leaps of faith all the time. BUT, like I said, everyone’s situation is different. Brazen rubs me the wrong way because everyone preaches this entitlement thing, but in reality they aren’t making it on their own buck. End rant.

  • http://www.lifewithoutpants.com Matt Cheuvront

    A very honest post Sydney – I feel the same way about a lot of this. One good thing that came from my parents divorce was the establishment of a college fund which covered (most) of my college education. Other than that, I, like you, have been on my own since I was old enough to work. It was hard but it shaped me who I am today – someone who is currently 100% independent, and who values and appreciates ‘making it on your own’.

    I’ve written about this in the past and the one thing I’ve learned is that everyone’s situation is different. I do get frustrated with people who preach ‘quitting and doing what you love’ when they have the comfort of living at home – only because doing something like that just isn’t a reality for the majority of us. We have to be smart in our decision making, we can’t afford to take huge leaps of faith all the time. BUT, like I said, everyone’s situation is different. Brazen rubs me the wrong way because everyone preaches this entitlement thing, but in reality they aren’t making it on their own buck. End rant.

  • http://sophiahyde.wordpress.com/ Sophia

    Agreed. I don’t understand either. Being self-supportive taught me priceless life lessons. Post graduation I am leaps and bounds ahead of my friends who waited until AFTER they graduated to get their first job. Now they’re frustrated because they are doing a job they can’t use their degree in. I think some parents think they are doing the best for their child by providing everything, and I can certainly understand that. However, I don’t think they realize what that costs them. My parents financially could not help me at all. I earned everything. I think there is a compromise. A student should be able to take an unpaid internship if a great opportunity comes along, but they shouldn’t be partying and socializing for four years doing nothing to advance their future careers.

  • http://sophiahyde.wordpress.com Sophia

    Agreed. I don’t understand either. Being self-supportive taught me priceless life lessons. Post graduation I am leaps and bounds ahead of my friends who waited until AFTER they graduated to get their first job. Now they’re frustrated because they are doing a job they can’t use their degree in. I think some parents think they are doing the best for their child by providing everything, and I can certainly understand that. However, I don’t think they realize what that costs them. My parents financially could not help me at all. I earned everything. I think there is a compromise. A student should be able to take an unpaid internship if a great opportunity comes along, but they shouldn’t be partying and socializing for four years doing nothing to advance their future careers.

  • http://nathanielfuller.wordpress.com/ Nate Fuller

    Sydney,

    I’m right there with you. I know someone who didn’t pay for their college; parents bought them a car AND pay the payments; regularly gets money magically deposited into their checking account; and spends money without a blink of an eye. It is very upsetting to those of us who have paid our bills throughout school and still face our loan repayments for the next century.

    At least when we have secured stable employment and have strong financial foundations, we can look back and know we’ll be in far better shape many years from now than our “silver spoon” cohorts.

  • http://nathanielfuller.wordpress.com Nate Fuller

    Sydney,

    I’m right there with you. I know someone who didn’t pay for their college; parents bought them a car AND pay the payments; regularly gets money magically deposited into their checking account; and spends money without a blink of an eye. It is very upsetting to those of us who have paid our bills throughout school and still face our loan repayments for the next century.

    At least when we have secured stable employment and have strong financial foundations, we can look back and know we’ll be in far better shape many years from now than our “silver spoon” cohorts.

  • http://www.owlsparks.com/ Carlos Miceli

    I work full time and study at night, been doing it since I left high school. I’m also financially independent.

    And I don’t agree.

    Not everyone has the luxury to study without having to worry about their expenses. But those lucky ones should embrace it.

    It took me a long time to think this way, but I think finding your passion in life NEEDS leisure time, it needs you to be able to explore where you want to go. I don’t believe that everyone that eats from a silver spoon is less prepared for the “real world”. For example, not having to work may give you the time to start your own business while in college, or to write your heart out and find out you are made for writing.

    You need time to be happy. And more important, you need time to find out how to be happy. That’s what we didn’t have.

    I’m not saying that the skills we got through this experience aren’t valuable. But this pressure to race and figure everything out ASAP is what’s destroying the youth’s spirit.

    There are a lot of little boys living of daddy’s pocket. But many are just trying to know where they fit best, what they’re good at. College won’t give you that. Free time and a lot of mistakes will, as long as you’re serious with your life.

    Many are, silver spoon or not.

    PS: Even though I don’t agree, I totally see what you mean, and I think this is a fantastic post. Great point of view Sydney. Kudos.

  • http://www.owlsparks.com/ Carlos Miceli

    I work full time and study at night, been doing it since I left high school. I’m also financially independent.

    And I don’t agree.

    Not everyone has the luxury to study without having to worry about their expenses. But those lucky ones should embrace it.

    It took me a long time to think this way, but I think finding your passion in life NEEDS leisure time, it needs you to be able to explore where you want to go. I don’t believe that everyone that eats from a silver spoon is less prepared for the “real world”. For example, not having to work may give you the time to start your own business while in college, or to write your heart out and find out you are made for writing.

    You need time to be happy. And more important, you need time to find out how to be happy. That’s what we didn’t have.

    I’m not saying that the skills we got through this experience aren’t valuable. But this pressure to race and figure everything out ASAP is what’s destroying the youth’s spirit.

    There are a lot of little boys living of daddy’s pocket. But many are just trying to know where they fit best, what they’re good at. College won’t give you that. Free time and a lot of mistakes will, as long as you’re serious with your life.

    Many are, silver spoon or not.

    PS: Even though I don’t agree, I totally see what you mean, and I think this is a fantastic post. Great point of view Sydney. Kudos.

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  • http://www.rachelmesterline.com/astepahead/ Rachel Esterline .:. A Step Ah

    As someone who has been on my own since starting college, I completely understand your reaction. My parents don’t have the money to help me out with school, rent, cars or insurance. I’ve held a job while being a full-time college student, sometimes taking up to 18 credit hours, and managed to keep a 3.5 GPA. Additionally, I found time to be involved in a variety of organizations.

    I think many students who have the silver spoon don’t appreciate what they’ve got. I know people who take a few classes and say they just don’t have time to get involved in organizations, blog, etc. But, for me, paying for my own education has given me the motivation to do more than just go to classes and party.

    But, for those of us who are gaining experience in the real world, it’s just putting us farther ahead.

  • http://www.rachelmesterline.com/astepahead/ Rachel Esterline .:. A Step Ahead

    As someone who has been on my own since starting college, I completely understand your reaction. My parents don’t have the money to help me out with school, rent, cars or insurance. I’ve held a job while being a full-time college student, sometimes taking up to 18 credit hours, and managed to keep a 3.5 GPA. Additionally, I found time to be involved in a variety of organizations.

    I think many students who have the silver spoon don’t appreciate what they’ve got. I know people who take a few classes and say they just don’t have time to get involved in organizations, blog, etc. But, for me, paying for my own education has given me the motivation to do more than just go to classes and party.

    But, for those of us who are gaining experience in the real world, it’s just putting us farther ahead.

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