Categorized | Viewpoints

Encountering financial obstacles

So, you’re a Global and International Studies major! Congratulations! You’ve embarked on one of the most stereotypically-liberal-arts adventures that’s offered here at America’s Premier College for Mentored Undergraduate Research.

Your well-rounded courseload is sure to guide you into a life of responsible global citizenship. Now all you have to worry about is that little I.S. thing, right?

WRONG. As a GIS student, you are forced into the luxury of the good ole’ world of study abroad. All you need to do is say “Bon Voyage!” to your not-so-beloved Holden roommate and board a plane to the international soul-searching experience of a lifetime — if you can afford it.

If you are anything like a large portion of the Wooster student body, being “broke” is just a cute thing you do to pass the time between online account transfers from your parents. Your semester abroad is likely “an investment that you’re willing to make” because it’s something that’s “an important part of the educational experience.”

And you’re right! All that gelato you ate in Rome will surely cushion your resume just enough to land you a spot in your next unpaid internship!

Or, you could be a bitter, actually-broke nerd writing passive-aggressive articles for The Wooster Voice. My bank account is overdrawn $37.54 and the thought of my student loans keeps me up at night.

But why don’t you just ask your parents for help? Well, I’d really rather not remind my parents that, in spite of all of their desperate pleas, I made the least financially stable academic choice I could have made.

Not only that, but even if I could abandon my dignity long enough to ask them, they wouldn’t have a single dollar to spare.

“Then just get another job,” you might say. “You can’t really expect your seven hours a week at the Writing Center to cover much more than Verizon’s bare-minimum data plan.”

How right you are, clueless voice in my head! I’d bask in the privilege to be an independent mind rotting away at the Bob Evans where I can be paid minimum wage to watch my grades plummet into oblivion.

Then — with any luck at all — by the end of the semester I’d have $2,500 and a barely-passing GPA to carry me into my bright academic future.

What about financial aid? That lovely little office tucked away in Pearl House? The one just conveniently far enough to dissuade you from walking over to ask why your need-based grants keep getting smaller?

Well, all I have to say to you, you little optimist, is good luck. If either of your parents has a job that supplies the family with anything more than a 15 percent off coupon for the local Italian place every year, financial aid will probably assume you’ve got an extra couple grand lying around for this very purpose.

So settle in, kid. Get used to it. Soon you’ll realize that the only thing scary enough to distract you from the stress of being too broke to pursue your dream major is Professor Moledinas’s next problem set.

Bronwen Kessler, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at

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