Being Privileged Is Not A Choice, So Stop Hating Me For It
What do you suggest I do about it?
I’m sick of feeling self-conscious every time someone brings up the burden of student loans. I dread being asked what I plan to do after graduation about paying them back. Sometimes I lie. Sometimes I make up a line about praying I find a great job or can pay off my loans by working for the government.
But I’m sick of lying. I’m sick of feeling ashamed for being privileged.
I am in graduate school and am debt free. I have Baby Boomer parents who work hard and did much better than they ever expected in their careers. They wanted to pay for my college and graduate school. They demanded to pay for my college and graduate school.
I work hard. I earned partial scholarships in college and graduate school. I work a part-time job, babysit, and go to school full-time. I am earnestly applying for jobs and I look forward to a career in public service.
I want to stop lying about the suits I buy for my internship. I want to stop saying they are hand me down’s from my cousin. I want to be able to say thank you when I receive a compliment on them. I was taught that you should always dress for the job you want, not the job you have. I want to be taken seriously at my internship and look professional—and I have the resources to buy nice-looking suits and have my hair professionally highlighted.
I’m tired of justifying my address and the backlash I receive when I tell people I am a student and live in a high-rise apartment. I’m tired of the looks my doorman gives me when he hands me my package (of work clothes) delivered from J.Crew.
So stop making me feel like I’ve done something wrong. Stop making me feel like I am less deserving. I didn’t ask to be born into this kind of circumstance and I’m tired of being judged for it.
I’m not asking for sympathy, I’m asking for people to lay off. There is always enough money in my bank account and I’m not sorry that is my situation. I understand the value of a dollar. I am not wasteful. I understand the overwhelming financial burdens of others and I highly encourage people to openly bitch about it. That blows. But your situation doesn’t change my situation. I am responsible and fortunate for the resources I have. I’ll respect your background if you respect mine.
Read the counterpoint: “Why Discussions About Privilege Are the Problem”
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If you’ve been looking for a chance to say something then this very well could be it.
I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”