Financial aid, responsibility aren’t shared by all students

I thank my parents

The only word I can think of to describe my experience with college finances is lucky. I am simply lucky to have parents that have the means to support me through college and who also understand the workings of various financial necessities required for college requirements.
I was quite naïve at a younger age to believe that this was always the case. To even imagine handling my private student loans, financial aid and Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) all by myself makes me want to curl up in a ball. But once I began my college career, I discovered that I was actually the minority within most college institutions. I have met so many individuals who act beyond their age and deal with the kinds of financial responsibilities in which many adults are unable to handle correctly.
My first roommate at Linfield, who became one of my closest friends, was my initial example of this kind of autonomy and responsibility. She would speak financial gibberish to me, and I could not even comprehend how she knew all this information and what’s more, how she handled it with such grace.
My second example was from someone who would be embarrassed if I disclosed his or her identity. But this person is beyond even the definition of responsibility and who does as such with no complaints or self-pity.
And although these personal examples are special to me, I know that there are so many others attending Linfield (and beyond) who display the same kind of accountability for their education.
For those of you who are similar to me and have help with their school finances, just imagine how much more work there is to be done to get into school and then to stay in school. The paperwork, the constant phone calls talking to exhausted employees of private loan distributors and the many trips to the college’s financial aid office. I hope that you understand that others around you may not be as fortunate and must undergo different stressors and obstacles in order to achieve their goals of higher education. This understanding should be used to help you relieve some of your own things taken for granted.
Whatever it may be, be thankful for what you have, and always remember that there are others who are less fortunate and who still make the best of it.

Hannah McCluskey can be reached at

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