Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I grew up in a bubble with other children of immigrants that were pushed towards college, so it wasn’t an option not to go. However, my parents never talked about saving or paying for college, because I don’t think they knew what it entailed. Fortunately, we were poor and my grades were good so my undergrad was fully covered by financial aid (grants, scholarships, part-time work). I lived off-campus the whole time, mostly using a living/dining room as my space, and learned to cook right away, so I saved a ton. Initially, I felt like I missed out on the college experience during my first two years by being an anti-social nerd, but in hindsight, I used the money the best way possible. That boost set me up for life and I feel it was based on luck to some extent. I also completed my master’s degree, and I know I only went for it after my TA told me that tuition would be waived if I had a certain graduate student position. I actually received a small monthly stipend on top of not having to pay for grad school. I took out a $5,000 loan just before my first term but paid it back right away once I found a position as a grader. After that, I had teaching assistant or research positions for the rest of my program, so I graduated with no debt.
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