Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Pauper...ish

I'm going to be really personal today. Really. This has been bothering me for a while, but it's honestly not something you can talk about to, well, anyone.

Today I'm going to talk about how uncomfortable it feels being a poor kid in a rich-kid school.

It seems like everyone at Cornell is super-rich. And why wouldn't they be? I mean, the Ivy League has always been the hub for children of aristocrats. That's the way it's always been. These colleges have been doing a good job of opening up to lower-income families by offering generous financial aid and covering expenses, but that doesn't make it any less uncomfortable to be surrounded by rich kids.

I've met several children of millionaires in the past couple of months. That's a big deal for me because, where I'm from, no one was anything above upper middle class.

I also checked the statistics, and only 14% of the Cornell student body receives Pell Grants. For those outside of the United States, Pell Grants are financial grants the government gives to low-income students. I'm going to generalize a bit, but this basically means that the majority of students pay full tuition, or close to that.

I guess the question here is so what? So what if everyone at Cornell is rich? Why should that matter? Why does it bother me? I guess the only answer I have is: I don't know why it bothers me. It shouldn't, I know that. But it makes me uncomfortable. It makes me feel insecure when someone talks to me about how they have a summer home in the mountains or how they paid $3,000 for their laptop. The worst was when a conversation came up about parents' incomes, and one kid said "yeah, my dad doesn't make that much. Only like $250,000 a year."

I'm sorry, but that's a lot to me.

I sincerely hope that this post doesn't offend anyone. In no way do I dislike those from high-income families. I mean, if you're nice, I'll like you. I won't judge you based on your income or how you dress or the things that you own or don't own. That's my philosophy. Just being around it so much and having people assume that you can relate to that kind of lifestyle makes me a little insecure.Yeah.


  1. I totally get ya. I'm from your average middle-class family, but one of my best friends goes to a rather snooty private school where people seem to act the exact way you've described. It's such a shame when people feel the need to bring finance/income into everyday conversation. Hmmmm.
    Hang in there! ♥

  2. I was always told it's considered poor taste to talk about money.

    1. That's what I've always been told too, so it's a bit awkward hearing about it a lot around here. Though I think I'm breaking that rule by even posting this post hahaha :)

  3. I know how you feel. I personally find it weird to talk about money. The only money I ever mention is when I'm buying bagels from Dunks. And that is the extent of money talk to me.
    But I feel for you. I'm Jewish, and people automatically assume that I'll be pretty affluent. I'm middle class. Don't go around perpetuating a stereotype that isn't true, y'all!
    Other than the rich kids, how do you like Cornell?

    1. It is totally weird! I mean, the most I've ever talked about money is complaining that I didn't get a 5 cent raise at my old job hahaha.

      It's pretty great. I think my only complaint is that it's a bit preppy, and I'm...not. But there are plenty of awesome people here too. The academics are great, but really freaking hard. SO HARD. But in general, it's such a great place. I really like it a lot. I'm happy with it!


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