Payments. Financial Aid. Insurance. Budgeting. Taxes. First-gen college students are struggling to understand how to use 'real-world' money in those situations.
Last week, I managed to make a dentist appointment under my family's insurance after spending a whole day trying to understand the dental plan and looking up the right doctor in my area. I am still nervous about it because I've never filled out a new patient application-not even sure if my insurance will even cover it. There needs to be a discussion that money shouldn't be a hellish subject for a person my age.
As a first-gen college student, I find myself in a lot of stressful conversations about money, especially with my parents.
There are times when I think I may die from an aneurism because of my parent's lack of communication and attitude with money-related things. Filing for FAFSA is one of the worst things we do together. The attitudes we exchange are harsh but luckily not everlasting. I carry with me to this day is that my parents are always tight with money and it's something I should try to brush past.
Going with those thoughts made college really hard.
Money is something that needs work. Aside from the 9 to 5 concept, I mean an intensive "Money For Dummies" type deal with how to manage and overcome financial obstacles. It calls for mental stability between yourself and other parties because nothing gets done right if you're all passive-aggressive and/or prideful.
Admit when you're confused. Pretending that you understand something won't help you or your pride. I've sat quietly too often. It's a little embarrassing now to ask for help.
Don't be a d**k about the whole process. I am awful at trying to be upbeat about tax season and figuring out loans. I've noticed that my frustration doesn't help at all.
Learn on the way. In the beginning, I would place my laptop in front of my dad and leave him to fill stuff out. When I moved to campus, it was impossible to understand what he did. I'm slowly getting the hang of it but a little too late in the game.
It won't be easy to follow but doing one made the experience with money less overwhelming. I can figure out FAFSA enough to eventually help my little brother do his. It is going to be hard but these small situations with money can prepare me (a bit) after graduation.