My parents, like every other set of parents in the world, wanted for me to go to college. They had big dreams for me.
There was just one thing stopping them: money.
Sure, we're an upper-middle-class family, so they should have some money to give me for college, right?
Well, they don't.
When I graduated high school, I received a scholarship that allowed me to complete the first two years of my college education for free, so long as I went to a community college.
Tuition is a big financial burden, so who could pass up free money?
When I was about halfway through community college, I decided to change my major in order to transfer to a four-year university. It all seemed fine and dandy until it came time to figure out how to pay for it.
Of course, I took out student loans, but my parents have a pretty high income, so I didn't get enough money to cover the remaining balance of my tuition. They were having money troubles of their own at the time and I was on my own.
I soon realized that they, like every other stereotypical parent, would not be able to support me financially through college. And that's fine.
I don't drive due to medical reasons, but I often stay at school anyway up to 12 hours a day because I have a job there. It keeps me busy. On the weekends, I have a retail job that pays decent money, but it pays enough to give my school the tuition money they need.
My mom has said numerous times that she wishes that she could help pay for my college, she recognized that it's the parent's responsibility, not the students. I can't tell you how many times she's nearly cried while we talk about it.
My dad tells me all the time how proud he is of me that I'm getting my Bachelor's degree, which is something that neither of my parents has. He tells his co-workers, friends and family every time I do something worth sharing and he's always the first one to brag.
For what it's worth, my parents do help me out sometimes. They'll give me money to cover half of my books or they'll give me money to eat on if my hours were cut and I didn't have enough left over after paying my tuition.
I'm not totally on my own, I'm just in a different situation. But it works. I get by.
I know people whose parents pay their entire tuition, who have taken loans out for them and people who are in the same boat that I'm in. We don't value our education any less than one another. We're all there for the same reason: to learn and get experience in our field.
Money may be one thing that my parents may not be able to provide me while I navigate my way through college, but they have given me all the love and support that they can offer.