I Am Going to College Without a Safety Net

We never really talked about it, but I grew up knowing that my family would not be able to help me with tuition. I decided to go to community college for my first two years to save money.

My family has always been economically vulnerable — something a recent survey, called GenForward, from the University of Chicago, says is common among Black and Latino youth. The survey asked millennials how an unexpected bill of a thousand bucks would affect them.

I know what this kind of sudden expense feels like because it just happened to my family.

Last month, I was getting ready for school, when I walked into the kitchen and saw my dad on the phone looking worried. His work truck had been stolen during the night with all of his tools for flooring inside.

He’s the primary breadwinner. But without his tools, he couldn’t work.

It was a very close call. My family was able to stretch to cover this loss, but who knows, what if there’s a next time? This is a question I’m taking with me as I step into my future. I’m hopeful, but also very aware that I don’t have much of a safety net.

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