Tuesday, July 1, 2014

On Jealousy

I'm going to admit something here: in light of my recent failure to acquire funding (and yes, I consider it a personal failure), I want to talk about my jealousy.

I will preface it by saying that if you're my friend, I love you. But I'm probably also jealous of you. Jealousy is probably my biggest personal failing, but I do try not to let it out too often. But I'm feeling self-pity and self-hatred at the moment, so my green monster is rearing its ugly head. And this is my blog, so I'm going to air it all out here. Because I can.

Circumstances are not just. Duh. But I think, in my self-pitying state, that they are absurdly so. I grew up poor. POOR. I grew up on church food, church rent, government housing, bunking with other families, briefly homeless, and only had eyeglasses thanks to government healthcare. I went to a rural high school that was too poor for books, and then an inner city high school that was too poor for anything. I worked really hard to supplement my terrible public education, getting accepted to summer programs hosted by universities, which allowed me to take extra classes.

I went to a great college. But I was too poor for my textbooks. I got a 3.0 GPA, which isn't great, but isn't terrible, considering. I stayed on campus during all the breaks I could, but I went hungry because the kitchens closed. I didn't tell anyone because it embarrassed me, and the women around me had a lot more than I did. Some accused my parents of being neglectful in not supporting me financially, but they couldn't have. I knew far better than to ask for help. They were barely supporting themselves.

After college I went to work as a nanny. I lived in the basement of a mansion and was always aware of my place, but I made a decent wage.

Then I started grad school. As bad luck would have it, I was accepted to BYU. It wasn't expensive, but it took me a long time. I did get that scholarship to go to India, which was great. But since I graduated, I've been working multiple PT jobs, juggling up to 5 of them, and often working 50-70 hours per week. And I'm not making much more than I did as a nanny.

I decided to get a PhD because I LOVE my research. I was afraid of academia before I found my work, and now I was desperately to do it again. But I can't. Because money.

And so I'm jealous. I'm jealous of people who have parents who can help them. I'm jealous of my friends who have received even partial funding because it allowed them to pursue their goals. I'm jealous. I'm drowning in student loan debt because I was sold the story that education would get me somewhere. I keep reading articles about extreme measures for paying off student loan debt. Everyone's answer is to move in with your parents. Mine are currently unemployed, so...

Stability is a privilege I haven't had. My education has actually been a liability. And despite being good enough to get into an amazing program, I'm not good enough to get any funding. Meanwhile others who are no smarter or better than I am, who have much more stability and come from much more privilege - they get funding. It's unjust. It's hurtful. I'm sad and I'm jealous. And I can't bear anyone complaining about their full-time jobs or their healthcare or how demanding their schooling is, because I would give anything to have those problems.

1 comment:

  1. (((HUGS)))

    I remember staying at WWU during most of the vacations. At least I could earn money by taking care of the horses during those times.

    It is NOT a personal failure that you didn't get the grant. Please try to understand that.