College Connect: Negotiating with parents – the tough call

Posted By sabew

By Candace Sautman, University of Missouri

My dad is a single parent, so I only have him for support. In order to support my decision to stay in New York City this semester for an unpaid internship, a family friend decided to call him to see if he would change his mind about offering me some kind of financial support.

The following day I heard the about the conversation that took place with my dad and the family friend I’m stayng with in New Jersey. She saidshe told him I was working very hard, working about 12 hours a day most days. She let him know I had been looking for a job, but no place would hire me due to my limited availability. She wanted him to understand how commuting takes a lot out of me since I spend about 3 to 4 hours a day going to and from the city and she emphasized how expensive that is. She didn’t really get at how my financial situation is creating a bit of strain on her as well.

What it came down to, was my dad sending $200 to help her to provide for me. I spoke to him later today and he said he’d send me $100 Monday so that I can get to work this week. After I spoke to him, I talked with my grandpa about how homesick I was for my hometown, St Louis. At this point, I’ve already had a few meltdowns and really would just like to go home, relax and appreciate different scenery.

I told him I had looked into plane tickets and that it’d be about $280 for a roundtrip so I could home for Thanksgiving break for a week. He repeatedly offered to send me the money, but I kept declining.

My grandpa was let go at his job at Southwestern Bell some years back and has been living off Social Security for some time. He had to sell his house to make ends meet and he moved into my dad’s other house in Illinois. I absolutely hate taking anything from him because he has very little money. He has terrible health and refuses to go to the doctor or even to turn on the A/C during the summer because he’s concerned with the cost. Even though he has so little, he still finds a way to help both my aunt and my uncle.

My uncle is unemployed and is unable to work because of a work accident about a decade ago, that caused a slipped disc in his shoulder. My aunt, still living with my grandmother and cousin, recently got her first job in about 20 years at Goodwill, but still finds it difficult to get by.

I really hate to ask anyone in my family for money because everyone is struggling. I feel like so much of a burden and feel selfish asking them to put my needs before their own. I’m stuck and I’m not sure what the right thing is to do. To be honest, I can’t wait till this is all over and I’m back at school.

Candace Sautman is a senior at the University of Missouri. She’s working at an unpaid internship in New York City this semester to gain valuable work experience she hopes would land her a better job.

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