Privilege. It has been a taboo topic for a few years now. And frankly, I love talking about controversial things. Mainly about how these controversial topics align with my life. As a first generation college student, it is hard to see where my privilege lies.
Privilege is an unfair advantage that someone may have because of status or simply their upbringing. As college students, we have privilege by just simply being college students. We have the opportunity to pursue a higher education, which leads us, hopefully, to better career opportunities and financial stability.
That is the baseline of privilege that any college student has. Some students come from wealthy families who have more access to resources and support. Typically because wealthy families have already been through the college process.
This is where there is a stark disconnect between college students. Some students are better prepared than others. I am not bashing the better prepared students; I am all for using the education system to your advantage.
I just wish all students could “finesse” the system equally. I hear horror stories both online and in real life about people going to college and leaving with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. But in between those stories, I hear that people have graduated debt free. So, what is the difference between these people?
Most of our debt-free graduates, at least from my experience, have been students with the financial support from parents and their wealth or financial aid from the government. Hot take, I know. But it’s true.
Low-income students get vast financial support from the government. And our wealthy college students get support from their parents or guardians via wealth, trust funds and sometimes nepotism. We’ll get into that later.
Now, why am I ranting about this specific topic? Because yet again, I have made a discovery in my life. I am privileged. Another hot take bomb. I’ll explain how I came to this conclusion. I looked at my peers’ experience in college and compared it to my own.
I get financial support through FAFSA, scholarships and my parents. One of my close friends is not able to apply for FAFSA, or scholarships because they are not a U.S. citizen or Louisiana resident. Being a U.S. citizen is my first line of privilege.
Secondly, my parents help me out financially. Not just with tuition but with groceries, eating out money and sometimes shopping money. Most of my friends have jobs, not sitting down and writing articles on a Google Doc and calling it a day. Not saying that I don’t love my job, I do (please don’t fire me), but it’s easy work compared to my peers’ jobs.
Having the flexibility of working from my computer, being financially supported by my parents and being a U.S. citizen in order to get many scholarships, makes me privileged. But I am still not as privileged as some students.
Some students, on top of financial support of some kind and being U.S. citizens, can be “nepotism” students. I told you I loved talking about controversial things.
Nepotism in college is very real. Maybe not as prominent as it is in Hollywood, but it still exists. Nepotism exists everywhere, and that is just simple human nature. Someone excels in one area, and is inclined to bring in their family members. This isn’t all bad, I love seeing others succeed because they have someone giving them pointers.
It would be hypocritical of me if I said I hated nepotism, because I have certain connections through my parents or family friends. It does sting a bit when students are more informed of certain things like, which organizations look better in resumes, or what professors are looking for in students so they can get better recommendation letters. They have a man on the inside.
Nepotism aside now, I want all college students to succeed. College is set up in a way to make all students fail. No matter how much money you pay or how smart you are, everyone has the ability to fail. So, I want people to examine themselves and see where their privilege lies. And how can your privilege help you and your peers around you?