I believe I’m privileged. My parents never let me want for anything.
I’m a middle class girl–always have been and probably always will be. People around me call me spoiled simply because my family is comfortable. On my 18th birthday I received $160,000 from my parents. Don’t react just yet. This money had been growing in my University fund for 18 years. They released the funds to me and I used it to pay for four years of Uni in the UK. My parents believed that it was my entitlement to further my education–and at a great institution that I slaved to get grades for. (Also, further education is not a choice in our family, it’s a must).
During my four years in Uni, my parents took care of everything. Rent, groceries, clothes, holidays… It was their opinion that what I should be doing in Uni is studying and nothing should distract me from that. When I first told my mum I was thinking of getting a job, she was mad. She didn’t understand why I needed one when everything I wanted was paid for already. But I got one anyway and bussed tables at an Indian restaurant/cafe until I could afford my $500 SJPs. I would never ask my parents for that kind of luxury because there is a line between comfortable and rich. And you toe that line with SJPs.
I acknowledge that one day these privileges will fade. I’m in my third year at Uni and have successfully run a business during my gap year, making a profit of $3,000 just after the six month mark (a businesses which I then sold). For someone without any formal training, it was great. And no, I did not use my parents’ money to start my business. Instead, I tutored English to O Level students until I could afford to start my business. I never took a penny from my folks during my gap year because it was something I was doing for myself. In fact, once a month I took my parents out for a nice meal just to say thank you. So when the privileges fade, I know I have the skills to be all right.
If you’re not afforded privileges like me, chances are you’ll judge me for taking my parents’ money. OR you think you’ll respect me more as a person if I struggled to pay for college or thought twice about buying a $40 F21 dress on a student’s budget.
But you know what? That’s your opinion, born from your experiences.
I’m glad that you busted your ass to pay for college and it made you a better person. That is your unique experience. But mine is different. So before you judge privileged people like me, remember that we did not ask for this. It was given to us. Our parents have spent their entire lives preparing to give us everything to make us comfortable–a fact that we’re reminded of all the time–and I’m beyond grateful for that. My parents knew what they were doing and by following in their footsteps, hopefully I’ll be able to do the same for my own children in 30 years.