Growing Up…

“Dreams don’t work unless you do” is the statement that comes to mind when I think about all the hard work it takes to be successful.

This post comes along with the controversy of parents paying for everything for their child in high school and/or college and beyond. Something I was taught and learned very quickly is that it is harder to earn respect if you are given everything than it would be if you worked for it.

I was raised in a rural farming community knowing that hard work is the only way to get reward. Ever since I was little, I had to do chores around the house, bail hay, babysit, raise and show pigs, anything and everything to earn money to do the better things in life on my own dime. I got a job as soon as I turned 16 to be able to drive myself to and from work; which the car that took me there was also at my own expense. I had a job ever since and have saved my money to pay for college and those rewards. I attained this job, attended school everyday graduating with high honors, in the band and multiple sports, volunteering, and still having time to hang out with my friends. I applied for scholarships on my own to help secure a spot in a four-year university as it was my dream.

Skip forward to college; I made it into Central Michigan University with multiple scholarships paying for half of my tuition but wondering how I was going to afford the other half. For my freshman year, I used what I have saved up from high school to pay for it but then quickly realized that I still have three more years and no money in the bank. So I went job hunting and landed my job on campus in a coffee shop. This paid minimum wage and a couple benefits like free coffee (as anyone college student balancing a job and school would need).  After landing a job, I applied for a couple loans to help keep me afloat. Although I am in debt, I have been saving money for college expenses and will have money in my bank to pay off the loans after I attain my degree.

So here I am paying for tuition, my sorority fees, rent and utilities, food, clothes, gas, traveling expenses, and anything extra on the side to do in my free time. Here’s the thing: I kept a job and paid for everything on my own while still focusing on my degree and soon landing that dream job. I not only did this but I also volunteered almost every weekend or during the week, I had time to hang out with my friends, I was a member of a sorority, and I still studied to pass all my classes.

I find way more respect for those who work hard to make it through college and the added unknowingly stresses of life over those who have their parents pay for everything. I was always “jealous” of those who got everything in life and more from their parents. Well, I used to be. I believe now more than ever, that those people don’t understand determination and drive to succeed because of the long days and nights of trying to balance it all. I found myself way more understanding and loving to those who do work for their rewards as it is really tough to do so in college. College is demanding and keeping up with that, your job and your social life is hard work. Yes, there are times I still ask for help or my parents will treat me to a shopping spree or dinner, but I am still doing this adult life on my own. No, I am not saying if you don’t have a job and your parents are paying for everything that you can’t get respect, but you don’t fully understand respect being earned until you are doing it on your own.

It is possible to balance all of this as long as you have the determination and focus to graduate into your dream career. Knowing that many students can balance this all and still have fun during their undergraduate career, really shows just how much one can handle. Having to pay for everything on your own shows you what your dime is really worth. It shows you what hard work gives you in return with reward. It shows you that “dreams don’t work unless you do”.

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