Woe Is Me! “I Can’t Afford My College Fees and My Friends Are All Graduating. Will I Be Able to Catch Up?”
Woe Is Me! is a series in which The Swaddle team indulges your pity party with advice you’ll probably ignore.
“I joined a private medical college to pursue MBBS. I was not forced to pursue this, and I loved the course. But after two years, I couldn’t pay the fees, so they blocked me from writing the exams. Year after year, the amount kept increasing. Now my friends have completed the course, and I am technically a second-year student at the age of 22. My father still keeps ensuring me that he will pay the fees. He is the only one who is ready to support me, while my mom curses me for this situation — saying it’s all my fault. I’m confused and scared about my future. What should I do?”
–Is it too late?
DR: I want to start by saying that there’s no right age for things; we’ve simply been conditioned to believe that we’re supposed to hit certain milestones at certain specific points in our lives. But I’m sure you’ve heard that already. And I can’t pretend that it is, in any way, easy watching your peers blaze past you. You could try to lessen your contact with them — especially on social media — to ensure you don’t fall into the trap of “what if.” But, again, it’s natural to be affected. So, instead, the first thing I’d suggest is that it’s not helpful for you to pay too much heed to what your mother is saying right now. This isn’t a great situation to be in for either you or your parents, but you’re probably the worst affected.
I want to tell you one thing, though: none of this is your “fault.” You had started pursuing your degree, assuming your parents would be able to bear the expenses. Either your parents expected they’d be able to fulfill that agreement, but can’t anymore due to any number of reasons; or, they gave you false hope. In either case, the fact is that they don’t have funds, and your peers have progressed in their careers. So, now, you have to figure out a way to complete your education: you could talk to your college administration and ask if they have any schemes for students who can’t afford a degree, you might want to research scholarships that could help you, and if these don’t work out, you could look for educational loans. Instead of directly funding your education, the latter option will allow your father to co-sign with you.
AB: First, I want to calm your concerns about your friends and your age — it is never too old to be in school (not that you’re old at 22!), and since your reason for being behind the “timeline” is monetary issues, I’m sure they would understand. Secondly, is there any way you could qualify for financial help from the school, like a scholarship or some deferred payment plan? In the worst case, would you be able to take a break from your studies and work to save up for your tuition? If your father is on board with paying the fees, maybe discussing further with him might help. In the interim, perhaps switching to a similar but cheaper course might help alleviate some of your anxiety about the future.
DD: This is such a complicated and unfortunate situation; sorry about this. And it’s understandable that you might feel left behind by your friends. However, it’s important to reassure yourself that it isn’t your fault. This is just a result of your circumstance, at the moment. But that could change still. Maybe (?) if your relationship with your father is one where you can have a conversation, being honest about how this is affecting you might encourage him to understand that this is incredibly important to you, and hence, he should keep his word to you.
AS: I’m sorry you have to face such a situation, but please know that it’s nobody’s “fault” — least of all yours. While it’s difficult to watch your friends move on in life, it’s never too late to complete your education — everybody has different personal/financial/family circumstances to deal with, and their timelines shouldn’t dictate yours. You might have already tried speaking to your college administration to explain the financial predicament you find yourself in. There may be external scholarship options you could avail of, too. If none of this works, I don’t know if transferring to a public medical college, or one with lesser fees, is something you are willing to consider. But, maybe, that could be an option you could look into.
None of these roads are easy, and will require a considerable amount of effort on your part. But there is no such thing as being too late to complete your course. You can do so, whenever it is most feasible for you.
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