My husband and I have no kids, but love our nieces and nephews very much. We take them to the movies and try to spend time with all of them. This past September, my niece left for her first year of college in a neighboring state. In March, we gave her a generous cash birthday gift followed by another cash gift for an award she received. In June, we gave her a very big cash gift for her high school graduation. All told, this child received $750 from us in a 4 month period. In August, I received an email from her mother, my SIL, saying that she’d run out of time and had wanted to have a ‘shower’ for her daughter’s’ needs for her college dorm room. Since she’d run out of time, she asked myself and several other relatives if we wanted to purchase items from her (she’d already bought everything else my niece would need). I was so stunned at this shocking gift grab. After we’d been so incredibly generous, she thought it appropriate to tap us for more. What really blew my mind was that the two grandmothers agreed to do that and “bought” some items off of her. I suppose grandparents are a bit more tolerant for things like this but I wish they’d declined. Am I completely out of touch? Are we really now holding “showers” for kids going away to college after they’ve received cash gifts for graduation? 0804-14
This is a new one for Ehell but I’m sure opportunistic, greedy people with no sense of personal obligations will jump on it as a great idea to fund the new decor of a dorm room and it will become ubiquitous. I am with you….it’s a shocking admission by your sister-in-law that she and her husband lack the financial resources to properly outfit their daughter for college and must go begging amongst family. I would be ashamed to mooch off the family that way but obviously there are people in this world who differ in their opinions and have no problems looking to others to supplement their lifestyle choices. Can’t afford to provide for your child’s domicile while in college? Choose a more affordable college or live at home while attending a local college.
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Admin, I think you missed the part where the OP said her SIL had already bought everything. The ‘shower’ involved relatives buying the things off HER.
So she actually can afford to kit out her daughter, but doesn’t want to. Yuck.
OP, well done for stepping back from this. Sounds like they’re in an ever-expanding circle of ‘things you should give my kid money for’.
I didnt miss it. Getting the other family members to pay for what has already been purchased is merely reimbursing the SIL for buying things on credit that she apparently cannot afford.
I just assumed she could afford it but didn’t want to spend it.
It didn’t say that anything was bought on credit. She might have paid for everything with cash and just wanted to be reimbursed for the sake of getting her money back while still getting the items her daughter needs. Maybe the SIL is just a tightwad.
I read it as she had wanted to organise a shower, as much for the party side as the gift bit, but ran out of time to organise, so offered the family the opportunity to pay for the things she’s already bought, to make it like a “proper” shower where everyone brings a gift, and avoiding the difficulties of organising a party without time to do it in.
This story may make you feel a bit better… My stepson is heading off to college at the end of the month. With scholarships and grants, his parents have to come up with another $16,000 for his tuition (grandpa’s already given him money to pay for his books). Legally, they’re supposed to split this 50/50… but the boy came home one night with papers for his father to co-sign for a loan for his mother’s half of the money, because her credit was no good. Um, no. We’re not going to cosign a loan for HER half of the money, when we have to take out a loan for our half (we’re both currently looking for 2nd jobs to pay for this).
So when we said no, his mom went behind our backs to my fiancé’s parents and got THEM to cosign the loan. Leaving her with absolutely NO financial responsibility whatsoever, since she got the loan in her son’s name. If anything goes pear-shaped, it’s the kid and his grandparents who are on the hook for this money. We’re pretty much certain she doesn’t intend to put one red cent into this loan herself.
In the meantime, we are completely outfitting his dorm room – I’ve gotten him a mini-fridge, his grandparents kicked in a microwave, and we’re going shopping this weekend for sheets, towels, etc. and we bought him a bike, since parking is pretty exorbitant and his car will have to stay at home. It’s not the first time his mother has completely shirked her financial responsibilities where the boy is concerned, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
But….. If mom can’t afford it, the boy should be going somewhere where she can afford it, he should get a job, or dad should pay it all . Just because parents are divorced and must pay 50/50 doesn’t mean they can. You can not force someone to cough up money they don’t have?
Lynne’s point is why can’t Mom pay? If the courts told them to pay 50/50 then Mom’s income is probably in the neighborhood of Dad’s. The fact that her credit rating is shot says she doesn’t handle money well. The 2 facts together tell me that Mom spends then worries about her responsibility later – leaving stepson, Lynne, fiance, and fiance’s parents on the hook.
But, clearly, Lynne and her husband can’t afford any of this, as they have had to take out a loan, too, to pay their half and they are looking at second jobs to pay back the loan. Either all parties are very poor at managing their funds or the child is being schooled way above his family’s means.
This, exactly. Especially, are the parents suppose to be coming up with $16,000 a year or total for education? If it’s $16,000 a year (after the scholarships and grants!) then you are talking serious private college that it is way above families means and I don’t know if I would go into that kind of debt for kid either. If it is $16,000 total, then that is only $8000 per parent. And considering they’ve had around 17 years to prepare for this, you are talking saving less than $500 a year (could be considerably less, considering interest). If neither parent has managed to save $8000, or even close enough to where a second job isn’t necessary, then neither Lynne and husband or the ex wife are really beacons of financial security/stability/planning
Lynne and her husband could get the loan – ex wife couldn’t. Lynne’s & fiance’s credit is much better than the ex’s ergo they are better than handling money. The point is, they did what they were supposed to do and ex dumped it on someone else – like the mom in the original post.
Lynne and her husband are taking out the loan and planning a way to pay it off, not trying to dump the loan on someone else. The two situations don’t compare.
She never said she’s going to dump the loan on someone else. All she said was that she cannot get a loan without a cosigner. Her ex and her ex’s new partner “being pretty much certain” she’s not going to pay the loan back does not count as her actual intentions to not pay it back.
We don’t know why she cannot pay. We don’t know why her credit history is shot. Maybe she has five more kids to support. The point is, she doesn’t have the money and cannot get the loan, what is she supposed to do, rob a bank? Who else would she get to cosign to get a loan for her kid’s college, other than the kid’s blood relatives?
In my last relationship, according to my then bf, his ex had all sorts of flaws. I believed him, until one day I became the new ex, and some of the mutual friends I’d met through him suddenly magically stopped talking to me, or explicitly wrote to say they’re cutting contact. As a result of that experience, I’m now taking all “bad ex” stories with a grain of salt.
Also, these laws may vary from state to state/country to country, but when I was getting divorced and my husband said he wouldn’t be paying for the kids’ college, I wanted to get that into our MSA in writing and my lawyer told me I couldn’t. He said that, at least in our state, you cannot legally force an ex-spouse to pay any part of the college costs, and so cannot put that in writing on a legal document.
So she should rob her ex in-laws?
If she has a legal obligation to pay for something, then she has a legal obligation. Period. She can petition the court for redress. Not steal from trusting old people.
You’re right, we don’t know why her credit history is shot. Feel free to postulate a hardworking single mom pinching every penny. I’m going with addictions to paid sex, drugs and gambling. My speculation is just as valid as yours.
Really? But FAFSA paperwork requires income information from both parents and the amount of aid is based on the assumption that parents will be paying their share of the expenses. You’d think divorce law would take that into account.
She is supposed to pay 50%. She can’t. She is failing to meet her legal responsibility. Her kid’s blood relatives shouldn’t have to help her provide her portion of her son’s support. And if someone asks you to cosign because their credit is bad – you should count on paying the loan back.
Yasuragi – FAFSA only looks at the custodial parent’s income and child support payments received. It’s the private schools that we would’ve had trouble with, because they take into consideration both parents’ (as well as their new spouses, if they have any) incomes, regardless of whether one of the parents says he or she isn’t going to pay. My both sons refused to even look at private schools for that reason, even though I told them to go for it, if they needed to go to a private school I’d find a way to make that work somehow. Both ended up going to local state schools and getting large merit awards.
In my state along with many states, the agreement is incorporated into the order entered by the divorce court. If the parties need to modify the agreement, then they either must get the other parent to agree to the modification or must go back to court and have the agreement/order modified. Otherwise, the noncomplying parent risks contempt – a prospect which can ultimately result in jail and/or a stiff fine. Most divorce support agreements include provisions for payment of all or part of college tuition.
Although I agree that there is no obligation to pay for college, if it is at all possible to assist a child to get a good education (whether it is college or a trade school), I cannot imagine a better investment in the future. We started saving towards our daughter’s college when she was born. Even a little invested at that time is helpful. And yes, it is incumbent upon the child to be realistic when choosing college. It is also a good motivator to use in high school to be forced to work towards some type of scholarship.
If they have a legal agreement that they shares expenses 50/50 then she is in the wrong. It’s like a dad who is forced to pay child support – he has to find a way to make it work.
Yeah and if it were dad who at the last minute says “my credit is too bad to get a loan” everyone would be screaming “take him back to court!”
Exactly. It isn’t like she didn’t know the expense was coming. I’ve seen divorce agreements with similar demands in it. If she was court-ordered to pay for 50%, then she is court-ordered to pay for 50% and that’s the end of it. She can always go back to court to have it adjusted if it is an undue hardship.
Who can say you OWE your kid a college education? If he wants to go bad enough he can find a way to get the education himself. I guarantee you if the kid pays all or most of the education they will use it. Maybe the mother here is thinking of her own retirement? Is the kid going to let her stay with him when she can’s survive on SS alone?
So the ship has sailed (and it isn’t your child so maybe your voice isn’t heard in the storm), but if you are looking for second jobs to pay for HALF of the college expenses that aren’t covered by scholarships and grants, then you can’t afford the college. He should be doing local, stay-at-home college for two years and then transferring to the fancy one. Frankly, the mom is the smart (if underhanded) one. No parent owes their child a college education and if it is outside your financial reach (needing two second jobs to fund $8,000 indicates that it is), you should be having a come to Jesus talk with him about his expectations. I don’t know who decided which school he would attend, but really, that’s where the trouble started. If there are any other stepkids who will be off to college in the coming years, definitely keep their expectations in line and you might reduce future problems.
The mom didn’t go behind anyone’s back to ask the grandparents to cosign. She is free to do that and they are free to refuse, but nobody needed to ask permission of the dad and stepmom first because it has nothing to do with them. I don’t understand the “need” for all these expensive things when a child goes away to college – thrift store items are dirt cheap, and what happened to the sheets and towels at home – why aren’t they good enough for the dorm? And why is a healthy young man not able to buy his own bike, after (hopefully) years of having an after school job and/or paper route?
Dorm beds are usually too long for regular twin-size sheets.
I understand where you’re coming from about the bedding. However, the dormitory beds at my alma mater were (still are?) an odd size. I think extra-long twin sheets were what was needed. I didn’t have those size sheets on hand and had to purchase some. I don’t know how many US universities use this size bed, but it must be enough that stores like Target and Walmart (even in non-college towns) stock the proper size. I do agree with you that, if he hasn’t already, the young man should have been working summer jobs to save up for his needs.
An alternative that many of my relatives have taken was to go to a college close enough so that they could live at home. It saves a huge amount of the cost.
Sorry. The fault belongs entirely to your husband and you. Your side of the family has already discharged its obligation to pay for half the costs through the co-sign of the loan. Now it’s up to the ex wife to come up with the other half. If this were my son or stepson, he would be waiting an extra year to attend college. And it would be a college that he could afford. Don’t complain about things that you did to yourselves. Sorry to be harsh, but it’s true.
If he waits a year and works during that year, his income and savings will likely reduce the amount the university gives him in grants.
I totally agree that both parents should be responsible if that was what was stated and the mom did skirt her part BUT why does he have to go to a school this expensive? How about a state school? The fact that you are both looking for 2nd jobs to pay for this is a huge red flag for me that this school is too expensive and by going to it he is putting everyone in financial hardship. I absolutely agree with paying for a child’s tuition if parent’s can afford it but in this case he should be going to a cheaper school.
I think that I get your objection, which is, essentially- “I’m getting ready to suffer. My husband is getting ready to suffer. WE plan to pay this debt ASAP. And YOU, his mother, look pretty wobbly by comparison…I don’t even believe you’re going to help pay this loan off.” You might be right. Or you could be 100# wrong. You won’t know with certainty until it comes time to pay the loan. But you’ll save yourself a fair amount of aggravation if you ignore his mom. As in, completely and utterly. That way you can do your part (whatever you decide that is) and move on. Your blood pressure will thank you.
Dunno where you live, but University of Massachusetts is over 24k including board. There really ARE no cheaper schools except community college, and no, most colleges won’t accept those credits if you transfer.
THIS. I came here to say this exactly. My issue with the admin’s advice as well as some others in regard to “go to a cheaper school” is that there aren’t any.
I think the important part of the post above yours is the “including board” part. Tuition probably isn’t that different from school to school though I know that at least in Canada, it changes depending on the program in which you are enrolled. Some are more expensive than others. In any case, wouldn’t staying at home go a long way towards reducing costs? I think a lot of times, “cheaper” really means “closer”.
Then college may not be an option at this time.
This is reality, not an after-school feel-good TV special.
A lot of these issues vary from state to state. In Michigan, which is larger in area than Massachusetts, there are enough state universities that most people are within driving distance to one and can live at home, thus saving the cost of room and board. Most universities have pretty high tuition, but one way to cut the cost is to live with parents.
Another way is to work part time while attending school.
My niece worked 20-30 hours a week and went to a nearby state university while living with her parents. She went straight through including summers. She got a degree in chemical engineering in 4 years, and graduated with no debt. The money she earned at her job did not cut into her scholarships and grants.
Once she graduated she was able to start her new life as an engineer debt free.
A lot of students might not be able to handle the load of working as many hours as she did while going to school full time, but many could cut costs by living at home.
I’ve been telling my both sons not to work during college, because I’m terrified that their work might cut into their schoolwork and they might end up losing their scholarships as a result. I almost flunked out of college myself during my second year, when I made the mistake of taking a full-time second-shift job. I’d wake up, go to classes, skip out of the last class of the day to make it to my work on time, work an 8 hour shift on the shop floor, (plus 30 min commute one way), come home at one AM, crash, repeat the next day. I ended up missing a good deal of classes and having no time to do homework. The pay was ridiculously good, but still not worth it! Then again, if my kids didn’t each have close to a full ride, getting more money from their schools than they would’ve earned at a minimum wage job, I’d tell them to go ahead and find part-time work. As it is, it isn’t worth the risk in my opinion. My oldest is already done with college (graduated in 2.5 years with a bachelors in CS and found a job three months later) and I’m taking the same approach with his brother now. I did tell them when they were in high school, to get good grades, do well on tests, and take AP classes, as that would all translate into substantial savings for them while in college. I didn’t have any college savings for them, because we’d only immigrated here when they were 1 and 4 years old, took us a while to get on our feet, buy a house in a good school district, then the 2008 crash wiped out a good part of whatever little we had in savings, then in 2010 I spent what little I had left to pay for my divorce and for the house for myself, the kids, and the dog. (tried to rent, but couldn’t with the dog.) Everyone’s situation is different; while most families are able to start saving for college as soon as their children are born and get additional help from their parents on top of that, many of us do not have that luxury.
I would agree though that 16K after all grants and scholarships sounds expensive, far more expensive than the state schools that my sons went/are going to – theirs would’ve been 16-20K WITHOUT any scholarships or grants. And if three working adults each had to take out a loan and find a second job to pay 4K/year, 4K/year, and 8k/year, respectively, then sounds like this college is out of their league financially. Maybe taking out a student loan in the kid’s name wasn’t that bad of an idea in this situation. Have him pay his own loan off after he’s graduated and started working. Surely with his family income being that low he would qualify for a subsidized loan or work/study?
It may be a cultural difference, because I live in a different country and I understand college in other countries is very expensive… but why are the parents expected to pay for college for their offspring? Where I am from, it is more common for college students to be considered adults, and hence pay for themselves/take out their own loans. It is their education, after all, and he is not a child.
And if the parents are needing to go in to debt, as both parties are in this case, seems like the college selected is outside of their means….
Thank you for this! I was beginning to think I was some kind of anomaly. I fully admit that I was a coddled teen, but I was still expected to pay my own way. I was lucky enough to get enough scholarships and money from work that I could pay my own tuition. My mother and grandparents got my school books for me, and I remember my friends thinking this was a huge deal. Most of them had to take out loans to pay for everything (loans they’re still paying off now).
I even kind of get parents paying tuition if they’re able(because holy cow uni is expensive), but why everything else? At what point does a person learn about money management?
What country are you in, RC, and how much is college tuition there?
I am in New Zealand, and college (actually, we call it university) tuition is very much based upon what you study. For my course of study (engineering) at my university, the tuition fees are about US$9000 per year, not including student service fees and levies.
That’s about a third of what most US public colleges cost, not counting fees and room/board.
Agree with this! In Australia we can use a loan called HECS or HELP and then welhen we start earning over a certain amount it’s taken out of our wages automatically. Our unis are steadily becoming more expensive however at least you have the option of going regardless of whether you’re rich or poor. If I had grown up in America I would have been in deep trouble with my family situation – may not have gone to college at all which seeing as I’m a health care professional now would have been a real waste.
All the rest of the numerous issues here aside, if this young man is heading off to college, he either ismor shortly will be 18 years old and legally an independent adult, rendering the 50/50 agreement of expenses moot. Unless of course, we are talking about a legal agreement specifically about the expense of college. In which case, yes, she is in violation unless she is able to document that she is personally paying back the loan.
So this is a future stepson, the child of you fiance? It looks like the family has no idea about saving or budgeting. You may wish to spend some time thinking about how this could affect you and any children you already have or will have. You have been given a glimpse of what your married future may be like. Don’t ignore it.
Reading replies to this reply then…
Nobody owes anyone a college education; or to outfit a dorm room or anything else!
I wanted to go to college, I started when I started high school to try to figure out how to get there. Grades, testing, trying to save; picking the places I was interested in; and how could *I* pay for it. One way I could pay for it fell through because of physical issues (ROTC scholarship), so I ended up at the cheapest #4 backup not the expensive ones at the front of the list. I also had no cosigner, everything was my problem. I had loans, grants, scholarships and workstudy.
Yes when I went off I needed a few things. We went to Woolworth’s and Kmart and I got about $100 worth of stuff that I hadn’t already put in my hope chest over the last six years; and rented a fridge when I got to the dorms. No car, that impacted my financial aid and I couldn’t have afforded it anyways.
I think the sneak-loan bit is not kosher, and may the mom rot in e-hell or have the karma bite her a good one; but. By the same token if the lad can’t afford to go then a different college or university should have been the choice!
I think the whole thing stinks since I don’t believe parents should be responsible to pay for their children’s college educations. If they want to or want to pay for part of it – great – but it’s equally valid to tell a child ‘earn a scholarship or take out loans’.
So if I’m still married to my kids’ father, I get to say that, but if we divorce, a court gets to *order* me to pay for my childrens’ higher education? Sorry. No. If I’m the mom I would have had my lawyer address that.
The problem with thinking the student should pay is that the amount of grants, need based scholarships, and loans a student can get is directly tied to their parents income. If your parents together or separately make a 100K or more, then the school is going to determine the student gets nothing. Even for state schools that could be over $10,000 that an 18 year old is expected to come up with annually, not including living expenses (if the parents aren’t giving a dime to school, they might not be giving a dime to food and housing). Here in Texas, for residents, UT is $10000 for tution and at least $9000 for housing, the school estimates 25K a year for all expenses for state school!! That’s more than the average annual salary for persons with a high school diploma.
If the student is paying then it is moot what the scholarships and grants are. An individual decides whether they want to go to school, which school, what career path, and those decisions absolutely should be tempered by the finances OF THE STUDENT. No one else will benefit from that education and no one else can make the decision whether the cost is worth it. If anyone else is paying it colours the decisions too much. And it is never required for a parent to pay for that education; the expectation of payment by others is a sense of entitlement.
Not in Texas, but when I went through the financial hoops, there were ways my parents had to handle their finances and hold their money; so that it didn’t count as ‘available to pay tuition and expenses’. Such as savings. They could hold it in checking, but not in savings… Same for the value of a car. Anything over a certain amount was considered ‘available to pay tuition and expenses.’ So basically if I got a new car for graduation, it would wipe out my entire aid package. Income plus expenses for parents, the FFAS keyed off my parents’ form 1040; and certain things were allowed to be deducted. It was a major dance during my junior year, and convincing the parents they had to do their tax forms ASAP though they didn’t have to FILE them until deadline (aka they paid in most years).
I have heard for Texas, that each high school gets ONE scholarship to hand out to their top student. so one way to afford to go is bust keyster and be valedictorian. Higher education is not cheap; there are ways, but it is a literal full time job to get to happen.
I worked for a student loan servicer for awhile; actually handled the documents; and there were some programs where parents could take loans for their college age kids; at a fixed interest rate; against their income and assets. I do remember one fellow applying for the first loans for kid #6. He had five already, made loans every year, and the first kid was in grad school; the program would allow someone to get these loans until the student hit 26 or PhD completion. And always the maximum amount, that fellow was never going to retire and have anything to pass on except debt. I admired the fellow giving his children the education; only could hope they pay him back.
Another reason why I don’t think anyone owes anyone else a college education. You want it you make it happen.
Then there is a flaw in a system that is based on the expectation that adult children continue to be entitled to their parent’s money past their adulthood.
@bloo – Agreed. Unfortunately, we all have to play today’s game by today’s rules.
They are legally required to split expenses 50/50? Including college? Wow. I don’t know where you live, but here in NV, all financial obligations to the child end when the child reaches 18 and graduates (or should have graduated) HS. Unfortunately the feds don’t take that into consideration when they insist on using the parent’s income to determine FAFSA eligibility.
OP, on the one hand, I could see why the ex going to the fiance’s parents is really annoying. On the other hand, it doesn’t really involve you or your fiance, so I would say to let it go until it does affect you. Hope this helps.
This doesn’t make a lot of sense. Student loans are just that. STUDENT loans. If the loans are in the kid’s name the parents should only have to co-sign and they would hopefully be deferred until the kid graduates. If the kid doesn’t have enough aid then he needs to go to a cheaper school. My parents didn’t need to co-sign my student loans (which I just finally paid off this year at age 34, graduated at 22) and they legally didn’t have to pay a cent of it, but there were times when they helped me out with them for sure.
Also if tuition is $16000 this year what are you gonna do next year? Keep working two jobs for 4+ years to put your kid through college? I would say it’s admirable that you don’t want your kid to be saddled with debt as soon as he graduates but is it sustainable for you to both work two jobs? Don’t work yourselves to death when there are other options.
I’m not surprised. In the last ten years or so since I graduated I’ve seen countless retailers advertise so called must haves for one’s college dorm. Honestly I’d ask what is it she “needs” and point her towards the local Salvation Army, Goodwill and other fine thrift stores.
I was just going to post that you really don’t need all that much for a dorm. Mini fridge, microwave, bed risers, tv, etc are not requirements. I was pretty poor when I went to college and I managed to get a full education even without brand new towels and posters of Bob Marley.
While that is correct, I do think things like that makes the college living experience nicer. I bought a mini-fridge for myself (summer job) when I found out that my dorm’s dining hall wouldn’t open until 11am on weekends. I know most college students are late risers, but I wasn’t and I loved my Saturday morning cartoons. A mini-fridge meant I could at least have milk for cereal. As for a TV? I bought one used from a friend for a few bucks. I had to turn the knob with vise grips, but it worked. I wired up an antenna and we were good to go.
Still, we’re talking “nice to haves” vs “must haves”. You don’t go begging to relatives for “nice to haves”.
This is excatly what I’m talking about. There’s a difference between “must haves” and “would be nice to have” and it’s important to know the difference, to have the maturity to know what you, personally, would like to have and what can live without. I’m 35 and found this to be an invaluable skill. My husband and I just moved into a tiny studio apartment. We didn’t have a microwave. While we were making do without it, we missed it and put a new microwave on the priority list. We also debated on what kind to get, and where, since we can’t afford a lot of luxerarys right now. At a church yard sale, I found one that was being sold for twelve dollars. I cleaned it out and it works just fine! I think it’s a much needed skill to know what you really “need” and want is simply a want. I also think it’s a good skill to know how to be patient and take the time to find what you need for a good price.
Haha, remember how it was totally okay to be super cheap because you honestly couldn’t afford anything? Your television reminds me of my third year university, where I had a car that was basically held together by tape. Or when I was eating atrocious food because Kraft dinner was cheap and easy to make. The memories….
Yep, oatmeal, ramen noodles and cheap generic brand macNcheese dinners (you could either buy ‘good dinners’ and use cheap margarine, or buy the cheapest dinners and use good margarine to get them to turn out. Was cheaper to splurge on a box of good margarine and kill anyone that touched it for anything other than macNcheese dinner making). Some stores would GIVE away ‘dog bones’ and you could get these and make soup… (then some places wised up and started selling them…)
I ended up regretting most of the tchotchkes I brought to my dorm. There’s no space, they’re annoying to move, and you’ll accumulate new tchotchkes once you get there anyway. The minifridge and microwave are really useful for saving money in the long run, because you can keep food in your room that’s cheaper than what you’d get at a restaurant. Usually people will split these with their roommate. Also check and see if anything comes with the room already so you don’t duplicate it.
What you don’t need are cute lamps, cute trash cans, all that stuff. There are already lamps and trash cans. They’re ugly but they’ll do, and you don’t have to make space for them in the moving vehicle.
Exactly, if the stuff doesn’t fit in the trunk and back seat with you, when your parents give you your ride to the dorms, you have too much stuff at the dorms. And when you move out you will regret every paperclip you have to round up and lug.
I’ve heard of people renting moving trailers to carry their kids’ stuff to college – and back every semester!
When I graduated high school, people know I was going to college and I received bed linens, bath linens (including a cute carryall, since we had communal showers), a dictionary and thesaurus, and other things that were useful at school.
Television? Hmph. My first two years of college, if I wanted to watch TV, I went to this room called a “TV lounge.” I’m sure college still have them.
That said, I would say a laptop is virtually a necessity for today’s college student.
Indeed, required at many schools.
Yep, these days, REQUIRED. Back in the days of yore; we survived without them. I even took drafting before CAD software happened…. I thought it was bad that one class required a certain type of calculator… at least no longer needing a slide rule. (which I did know how to use, I think I was one of the last taught how, and I had a nice one an older family friend gifted me with)
I think it’s a cost-saving measure by the schools, rather than students not being able to “survive” without them. When I went to college in the mid-90s, we had big computer labs full of zillions of computers, and I’m guessing that was very expensive for the school. Only the wealthier kids had their own computers at that time. These days, they’ve become somewhat more affordable and more compact, so more people have them already, and the school can get away with just telling people to bring their own, thus fewer computers needing to be bought for the lab.
These days as long as you have a laptop with internet you have a tv anyway. Saves money and space, win win!
This is crazy. Not only did she get cash & prizes for graduation, (which are usually meant for buying dorm items), how many.much stuff do you need in a dorm room? A mini fridge, hot pot and one1 or 2 sets of bedding are the nenecessities of life. Oh and rolls of quarters for laundry. The rest is gravy.
Amen! I was fortunate enough to go to a school where the dorms already had a mini fridge and microwave, so I really didn’t need much other than the sheets and shower caddy. I made my blanket and pillowcase. Towels came from home. When I went to a different college for a semester long exchange, I no longer had the luxury of the fridge and microwave, and I survived just fine. There were semesters (especially during the exchange) that I did not have a television, and I made it through, mostly because I was able to watch shows online. In a few years, you will not need the dorm items anymore and they will get tossed. There is no reason why the student (or parents if they choose to) can’t pay for the dorm items on their own.
I got out of habit of TV-watching during my student years, and still haven’t got back in 15 years later.
What a difference a day makes. (And by “a day,” I MIGHT mean “30 years.”) When I went off to college, I worked the summer before, and spent my earnings on things I knew I would need for school. How did I know what I’d need? The college I attended very kindly provided a list of things we freshmen were expected to have in our dorm rooms: Sheets, towels, alarm clock, laundry items, mattress cover, coat hangers, toiletries, on and on. My grandparents, with whom I lived, helped me buy everything I needed, and I spent an entire summer accumulating those things. At the end of the summer, I had everything I needed, and cash left over because another thing I knew I’d need would be laundry money, to say nothing of “mad” money. Relatives did kick in here and there, but NOBODY asked them to. There’s a certain amount of pride involved in providing for yourself, and at some point we all have to grow up and take care of ourselves. Eighteen years old is not too soon.
While I agree that one should be self sufficient, the assumption that a summer job will pay for all your college costs is naive. Even adjusted for inflation, what you made 30 years ago during the summer would probably pay at most for one semester. And that’s being generous. Very generous.
I think she meant that her summer job paid for outfitting the dorm room, plus laundry, plus those little incidentals that always pop up.
She’s saying that her summer job paid for her dorm supplies.
In 30 years, the cost of college has skyrocketed (even after adjusted for inflation) and so has teen unemployment. As the job market get worse, more people who need jobs to support themselves and families are taking the traditional summer/teen jobs and that makes it harder for teens and students to find work.
I get what you’re saying and, yes, there should be more self-sufficiency, but times are a lot different now than they were 30 years ago.
Yup, you’re absolutely right. My point is not that things aren’t more expensive now. My point is that my folks didn’t have to take out a second mortgage or raffle anything or throw a “college shower.” My point is I knew what I would need, and I made the effort MYSELF to take care of it. That’s not too much to ask of anyone regardless of where their lives fall on the history line.
Did you miss the part about teen unemployment? You were able to take care of things yourself because you were able to get a job. Teenagers today may not have that luxury.
Hm. I joined the military so my parents wouldn’t have to pay for my college expenses, and was able to earn to degrees with the money. Why do so many kids nowadays think they are owed a college degree on their parents’ dime? To address the topic though, No way would I give that extra money if the kid has already received so much money. What gimme pigs!
We don’t know the kid thinks she is entitled to anything.
My parents paid for my university expenses and bought me my stuff. Because they could and they wanted to. Didn’t mean I grew up expecting anything or was entitled, it just meant I was lucky (and grateful when they told me).
+1. Let’s not blame the young lady because she has a gimme-pig mom.
Me too. I was grateful and did them proud by working hard and maintaining a high GPA.
My parents did the same for me. Looking back, though, I wish that at the time they had given me more of an idea of what they sacrificed to make it happen. I also wish that I had gone to an in-state school.
I thought the purpose of graduation gifts was to help fund college expenses. Both of my younger daughters used their grad money to buy things like books, laptops and supplies. anything else they needed I bought. Grandparents also bought for them, but it wasn’t because we asked.
Agreed! What happened to all that graduation money??
Same here, my graduation gifts (most were cash in an envelope) went in the bank. And didn’t survive my first pass through the bookstore. … not to mention the other half of the textbooks I needed, the drafting equipment and the required calculator for one class (TI-55, ancient age)
I’m in the 30-40 years since the first semester; personal computers were TRS-80’s … so. Dorms wouldn’t let us have microwaves-they provided ONE for 870 people to use near the front desk in a little closet… but we did the hot pots and cooking on your iron bits anyways. You could rent a cube fridge for about $30 for the whole year or buy one for about $100… and usually roomies shared one. Had someone given me $750 I would have at least survived going through the mart for my books and supplies; I know books have gone up but still. OP was more than generous already.
You did the right thing by declining. There is nothing else to do.
You cannot make the grandparents see this as an unreasonable request so there’s no need to worry about it further. I agree it’s horrid. But you’ve done everything you can.
Now, if your SIL has the gall to ask you why you’ve declined feel free to tell her you have contributed a lot of money to niece already and have been more than generous and feel free to act shocked by the request. By all means. Because it’s pretty shocking.
What do you even need to buy to outfit a dorm room? Bring your clothes hang a few posters, and study your butt off. You are going to college. Spend the money on a good laptop. Everything in my dorm room fit in my suitcases I took on the plane. My laundry baskets were bushel boxes I got from the grocery store.
Cash grab aside I wouldn’t pony up money for this because I don’t want to encourage this kid to expect luxury in college. It’s a time to learn and not let distractions get in the way especially with our current explosion in student debt.
We’re just finishing sending our two sons to college and am so sad that we’ve missed this fundraising opportunity all this time. Instead of feeling embarrassed when one son’s girlfriend’s parents (got that?) gifted him with many of the things for his dorm room (completely unasked by us, let me assure you), we should have asked them for the Egyptian cotton sheets and the new car instead!
And yes, Goodwill, Salvation Army and St. Vincent DePaul is the back-to-school shopping source for our family, (and most others around here). If we really feel the need to splurge and get something new, our students can go to Big Lots (for those who don’t know, very cut-rate outlet type store). My very favorite retailer is this chain: Going Out of Business.
Or, they can go for my favorite designers — Clearance and Mark Down.
Now that we have one child to go, we will keep the OP’s SIL’s idea in mind.
I missed this opportunity, too, @lkb! Instead of working, saving and the children getting summer jobs, I could have just hit my family up for everything! Why didn’t I think of this?!?
Oh, wait….I know why. It’s tacky and gimme-piggish. Not to mention enforcing the idea that everyone “owes” niece what she wants, without her having to actually work or do anything to support her *wants*. Or maybe her Mom needs that lesson.
I am afraid for the entitled, gimme-piggish direction our civilization seems to be heading.
Hah, I’m sending kid #2 to college this fall with kid #1’s twin XL sheet. (His brother doesn’t need it anymore, because he’s already graduated from college, is living on his own, and makes more than I do.) He also went to his HS graduation wearing his brother’s cap and gown from 2011 (his idea). He’s also not bringing his car to the dorm with him (also his idea). I’ve considered having him live at home and commute the 30ish miles, but his scholarships pay for all of the tuition and some of the room and board, so compared to parking, gas, car repairs, etc, it might be an even break – we had the same situation with his brother as well. They both went/are going to inexpensive state schools that had good strong programs in what each of them wanted to major in. Come to think of it, I didn’t buy any of them anything special, neither for college, nor when kid #1 moved away. What I did tell them was that they were welcome to any pots and pans, sheets, towels and anything else from the house that they wanted to take with them, and if I needed anything after they were gone, I’d find a way to replenish my supplies eventually.
As you can imagine, a lot of my friends’ kids and my kids’ friends are or have been going off to college over the past few years. Never have I ever heard of anyone throwing a college shower! That’s ridiculous.
And I am a proud owner of some Big Lots furniture myself. No shame in it!
@lkb, I like your “designer” choices! Don’t forget all the chic and trendy stuff by the well-known Sale brothers, Yard and Garage.
…and their older siblings — Estate and Rummage! ;D
@Goldie — I like Big Lots furniture too. Hope you didn’t think I was casting aspersions on their stuff.
No, lkb, I didn’t think that at all, I was excited to see another Big Lots fan!
Heck my DH banned me from ever setting foot in another BigLots ever again… hehehe.
Don’t forget Dollar tree. Best dollar store ever!!!
I would be okay with the idea of gifts for a high school graduate that is preparing to leave for college. The issue I have is the one OP described- that, having already been an amazingly generous aunt, she was being requested to again give to the same recipient on the pretext of the celebrating the same milestone… SO, either a graduation party OR a going-away to college party of some sort. Not both. And I can’t help but think that the first one is so much more appealing than the second. (AND it doesn’t even come with the requirement of a gift, although one is customary). Parents should beware. They are trying the patience of their child’s nearest and dearest relatives who will also be the most likely attendees at future events like weddings, baby showers,sweet sixteen parties for the grandchildren (or bar/bat mitzvah, confirmation, quinceanera etc…). Once convinced that their gifts are wanted more than their company, they might feel justified in declining to be so generous or to attend. Is it really worth the convenience of money gained in the short term to be so callous and careless?
Yuck…are showers and registries a “thing” now for every life occasion? When I went off to college (many moons ago), I (having gotten several academic and an athletic scholarship to pay more tuition, room and board), was fortunate in that my parents took me shopping for things like those ubiquitous extra-long-twin dorm-room bed sheets, dishes and cutlery, decor, etc. for my dorm room. I also worked a part-time job all summer to help offset the costs of bringing my (rickety, old, and tank-like but awesome) car to school and parking it on campus. Mom took me shopping for clothes for sorority rush, and Dad paid for books (parents are divorced). And I was very thankful that my parents were able to provide for me as they did (nb: the shopping for “stuff” took place at discount stores and big box stores, not posh boutiques). BTW, I still have those towels from the bulk bin at Big Box Store that Rhymes with Wosco. They’re great for cleaning up carseat vomit from the littles on long car trips, mopping up serious spills, being used to protect carseats when transporting something stained or dirty, etc. or even being used as an impromtu changing pad for an infant’s soiled diaper change.
But I digress. I just find it weird that family and friends would be asked to pony up for Junior’s shower caddy or bathroom flip-flops or deodorant. Those are the types of things he and his parents should be providing for themselves.
P.S. Don’t most dorms provide mini-fridge and microwave combos? Or, is nephew living off campus?
I am a current college student, and no, most do not. I’d say maybe 10% of college at most offer rental and/or come with mini-fridges/microwaves. I looked at about 12 colleges before picking, and that was only an option at one of them. Many college however do have a community kitchen that has those things. Unfortunately because so many people use them, the appliances are not in good shape, and stealing other people’s food from the fridge is ridiculously common.
This is a new one. Bad enough to tap your family and friends to buy things for you, but to try and recoup money from them for things you’ve already paid for is new to me.
So, what she’s saying is, I wanted to throw a shower for my daughter to get all her college needs, but did not want to spend the time or money organizing a party, so instead I just bought all the items myself and am now hitting up the family to pay me, when I couldn’t even be bothered to host a party in order to extract gifts. Yeah, decline that one.
What?! I thought that high school graduation gifts were based on the graduates future life, and that monies and gifts given were to help with the next stage. Also SIL has known of this since the beginning of her daughters senior year, so had a full nine months and then some to prepare. You do not have to buy everything at once, just a little each month, good for you for not giving in.
I just want to point out that I hope you are not necessarily so quick to blame your niece. I come from a lower income home, and I am in college now. My grandfather makes more than my parents combined off stock every year and as a result is pretty wealthy. My father will ask him for money for my college expenses very often without me prompting him to do so.
Other than that, I’ve never heard of a “college” shower. Just a graduation party. Sounds like they are definitely doing some money grabbing. I do wonder, does she genuinely need more money? College is expensive, and a desperate parent might make an etiquette no-no for the sake of their child. It’s not appropriate, but maybe you can see where they’re coming from?
Also, kudos to you for being such a helpful aunt!
Hmmm… Finally a posting that’s really “food for thought”.
For one, I wonder what is your definition of “pretty wealthy”. I know that when I was your age, and attending a then free college a short bus ride away from the rented home of my recent immigrant family, “wealthy” was someone who had a car, owned a house, did not have to darn socks…
Then, if your statement reflects reality, there’s the sense of almost entitlement on your father’s side. Entitlement to ask his own father to contribute to building of YOUR future potential wealth. Is there perhaps an implied or stated commitment that, when grandpa’s funds come up short, YOU will pick up the slack in assisted living or nursing home costs?
Let’s face it, neither legally nor morally, people are not responsible for their adult children. Or THEIR adult children. Your grandpa’s job was completed when he brought your father up to adulthood. So, barring extreme/extraordinary conditions or circumstances (you fill in the blanks), there should be no expectations for grandpa to cough it up.
If grandpa is truly, I mean truly, truly wealthy, and he feels waves of generosity and OFFERS funds for you, then it’s a different story. Otherwise, your father’s requests for college funds for you, put him in and ugly E-Hell category.
P.S.: I feel that in this century, showers of ANY kind have outlived their original practical purpose. If you cannot afford it, then don’t do it, whether it’s a marriage or a baby. Perhaps, if it’s just an excuse for a party don’t expect folks to do real damage to their wallets, or to actually attend and/or come up with a gift. Bo-o-o-o-oring!
And the woman described in the post was not really “desperate”, otherwise she’d be taking on a third job, or a temporary one, to help her child. My own cleaned offices in the evenings because she felt I should focus on studies rather than making money while going to school.
In total agreement: Showers have completely outlived their purpose.
Women did not really participate much in the mainstream economy until the 1970s. Yes, there were office girls and waitresses and salesgirls (who were all grossly underpaid). But it was still pretty common for a woman to be financially supported by someone else every day of her entire life. If so, she had literally no money to set up a household for the first time, or to transition that household to support a baby. Somebody else had to contribute or it wouldn’t happen. Since marriages, first homes and first babies are mostly the domain of young couples, the husband probably wasn’t earning enough to do it all on his own, either. In this kind of environment, showers make some sense.
Those days are gone. I don’t see any special circumstances preventing brides or new moms-to-be from saving up for their own needs. I think it’s time their right to issue demand letters (shower invitations) went the way of the dodo.
I can see your logic, but I don’t agree with it. Women did participate in the mainstream economy, they just didn’t usually have outside jobs. Remember, back then it wasn’t a “his money” “her money” thing, it was “the family’s money”. Outfitting a house when a woman got married was up to her husband-to-be and their families. Also, girls usually received a “Hope Chest” about their 13th birthday where she would collect and store household items like dishes, linnens and other things considered needful for keeping house. My mother still has her hope chest where we store blankets. I don’t believe that gifts were the main purpose of showers back in the day. I’m a bit of an armchair historian, and it seems to me that showers were more a rite of passage than outfitting a home or nursery. Showers were parties composed of women who had “been there, done that” welcoming the newbie to their ranks with tea, advice and maybe small gifts that they thought the newbie might need but might not have thought of. We also have to remember that children were very protected when it came to adult relationships. Adults didn’t cuddle or hold hands or even kiss in front of the children. A new bride might not have a clue what to expect on her wedding night or what being married entails. It was up to these matrons to clue her in with advice like “duchess in the drawing room, vixen in the bedroom” or “a man loves through his stomach”. Same for a baby shower which included advice on how to handle colic and teething with small gifts that the new mom-to-be might not be aware of and receiving blankets. That seems to be the main reason etiquette says you should only have one wedding/baby shower. You can only be a new bride or new mother once regardless of how many times you get married or how many children you have.
I do agree with your belief that showers have outlived their usefulness. Even if a young woman has never played scrabble, she would have had to be raised in a cave not to know what is expected on her wedding night or how to handle colic. If she doesn’t, the internet is vast and she can find out. For about the last 30 years, showers have become more about the gifts and less about the rite of passage to the point that people are insisting on showers for each wedding and baby. The insistance that it’s ok to have a shower for a second baby, if there was a long time between children or if the child was the other gender from the one you had, only became acceptable recently after we had the technology to determine the gender in utero. So, absolutely, get rid of showers, they no longer really serve a purpose.
Heck I had a hope chest. Not that it was expected I would get married, but that I would be moving out into my own house and life someday. My dad like to do woodworking so he built it himself when I was 10; and my paternal grandmother gave me a pair of crocheted fancy potholders to put in it. I did collect things over time, including some kitchen utensils and bedding and towels… and when I went to college I went through the chest and took things I needed from it, then bought what I didn’t have. When I did get married my shower was very practical and a few days before the wedding so we considered it to be the wedding present grab as well… I got lots of towels. I still have a few survivors. Hope chests are not out of date yet, but maybe just need to be; ‘hopes for the future’. Having it was a way to teach me to start to think ahead, plan, and put aside too. More girls need to learn that!
HEAR, HEAR on the shower bit. I’m so tired of having to pony up money for this, that and the other. It’s not that I can’t afford it or that I’m not happy for my friends’/family’s milestones. I’m just tired of the obligation. Often, I want to make something meaningful or buy something off registry but I allow myself to be influenced by society’s expectations and I cough up the cash. It’s mentally tiring. Since I’m of the firm opinion that you only do the things that you can afford (obviously in the minority :P), I’d love it if society dispensed with the cash gifts altogether and made gifts optional. I know they are optional in theory but they aren’t in reality.
The sad thing is that people don’t believe you when you say “no gifts”. Both my husband and I felt very strongly on this point and despite etiquette concerns, we had specifically written on our invitations (about 60 of our close friends only) that that we begged them to bring only themselves. They didn’t :P. They brought us cash. While I really appreciated the sentiment, cash still feels a bit cold to me. We just wanted to celebrate the day with them. The envelope is still sitting somewhere…we haven’t used any of it. This is not because we’re rolling in money either….we just haven’t decided what to do with it. My point? We did what we could afford. I would much rather have had handmade gifts from everyone but of course, you can’t demand that people should make things for you. Regardless…
I agree, people never listen when you ask to bring no gifts. I probably would feel uncomfortable myself… A couple of my friends solved this problem by asking their wedding guests to bring “a package of sweets”, which they later, during party, opened up for everyone to snack on. With the possible exception of grandparents and other elderly relatives, the guests did what they were asked – there were many different sweets from small cellophane packages to big fancy chocolate boxes.
I agree that the niece may not know what her mother is doing. If her parents are in dire financial straits though, you think she would have an inkling. On that point, who knows?
Re: your situation, I don’t have all the details so I hesitate to comment but I did wonder a few things. Do you have a job to help pay for expenses? Does your grandfather volunteer money or has he made a standing offer to help you through college? If so, then it makes sense that your father would approach him for help. Otherwise, just having more money is not a reason that a person should be expected to help if they don’t want to :S. I’m really sorry if that sounds harsh…it is not my intention to hurt you.
Re: college being expensive, I completely understand. It’s exorbitant. But if a parent was genuinely desperate and felt the appropriate amount of shame for going begging, he/she would couch the request in different terms. Instead of trying to scam more money out of already generous relatives, he/she would make a plea for help. What this particular parent is doing is deplorable and sets a horrible example for her daughter.
In reply two the first two comments:
By “pretty wealthy” I happen to mean three figures a year.
I also happen to be a full time student, with not one, but two part time jobs. I work as a seamstress and as an office assistant/marketing intern.
Perhaps my father isn’t in the right to prompt my grandfather for money, but considering my parents are trying to pay medical bills and had to mortgage their house last November, I would give them a pass for mind you–not asking money for themselves–but for their daughter. I come from a very old-fashioned culture in which a woman does not leave her parents house until she is married or well-over something like 28. My parents are living with an (albeit unnecessary) sense guilt that I am taking care of myself–and having to essentially work/attend school for a total of about 14 hours a day, plus time spent on homework. They feel, as my parents, they should be able to provide for me on their own (I am not yet 21). It hurts their pride to see me struggle, so yes, my dad asks my wealthy grandfather for money on my behalf sometimes–usually when I need a car repair, or school books. I don’t think my parents believe themselves entitled to my grandfather’s money at all–though you seem awfully entitled to make presumptions both about my fortunes and the young girl in the story. I was simply giving her the benefit out the doubt when everyone else seemed so obliged to bash her.
No, my dear. There was no entitlement or assumption on my part. I also didn’t say that you or your parents were entitled. I simply based my comment on what you told us in yours. I understand that given your situation you might feel some sympathy for the niece but from your limited information (you come from a low income household, your grandfather has more money than your parents and so your father sometimes asks him for money for you), you can see how the conclusions drew themselves. I also understand the cultural aspect; my parents have felt similar, unwarranted guilt on occasion though they were able to do a lot more for me than many.
It’s none of my business, of course, but since you have opened the topic for discussion, if your grandfather is indeed wealthy as you say and given your cultural precepts, how is it that he doesn’t offer the money but makes his son ask for it? I stand by what I said earlier: if money is not offered, it is improper to ask for it. I also understand though, that life sometimes makes us do things that we wouldn’t otherwise have done for those we love.
Aw, shucks! No essays, just loose statements to respond/comment you your posting above.
I hope that in reference to grandpa’s income “three figures” stand for the three first digits followed by three zeroes that represent thousands. In that case, it’s “six figures”. Working on that premise, unless the numbers are verrrrrrry high, grandpa’s income is not that huge.
(Even defining a millionaire is dicey: is it just someone who’s got the million, or someone whose income is at least a million?)
My cultural background is also quite traditional/conservative, with a “subdivision” where ONE DOES NOT ASK FOR ANYTHING, even family. Perhaps food and/or medicine might be the exception.
Therefore, asking for help for you in a college situation, would be totally, totally not cricket with MY folks.
And that’s why I did opine that your father felt entitled to request funds that your grandfather SHOULD be offering without being asked. But then, he just might actually LIKE the sense of power…
I am entitled to arrive at conclusions on the basis of what I read. AND, I finally arrived at another conclusion: being judgmental is OK. In spite of what people comment in accusing tones. It should mean exercising one’s judgment based on information received and on one’s principles.
“Everyone” was not bashing the college bound girl. They were not happy with her gimme pig mother. And, unless the girl falls far from her “apple tree”, she will get a chance of getting bashed at some future date. Possibly repeatedly.
Or, maybe she’s cringing, burning in shame, at her mom’s brassy moves.
I wish YOU much success and contentment in the future. And if your college career does not provide for you well enough, your sewing skills will. Goodness knows that there are enough “all thumbs” people that need help with sewing on a button or hemming a pair of pants.
I was invited to a college shower once. The invitations, a flyer in the mail box, told the attendees they could either bring a gift, or donate money for tuition. The hosts would provide cake and drinks.
We only figured out the hosts lived in our neighborhood by checking the address. Yes, we were asked to buy things for a person whom we had never even met before by people we had never met before.
Meant to comment on the article in general not this specific reply.
What’s next gifts for finishing your first year of university? Grading gifts for making through two years or three years off college before you return for your final year of your degree? Goodness times have changed and I was not in college that long ago myself I am only 28. When I went to college I got student loans for the majority of it, scholarships, and used what money I had saved up from my job to pay for books,supplies and a little tuition fees. I can’t even imagine having the audacity or my parents having the audacity to ask people to shower me with college supplies or worse buy the stuff I already bought off of me but let me still keep it and just take their cash. Next we will be gifting high school kids for applying to college not even getting accepted or going just putting an application into the mail box! Here’ s a gift for you Suzy or Johnny because you wrote on a piece of paper your information and sent it out with a stamp. Shall I mail you the $100 now or gift it to you next week.
I agree. Soon she’ll be moving into her first apartment and then she’ll need furniture, kitchen supplies, cleaning stuff, things for the bathroom, and home decor items. Or maybe she’ll decide to do a semester abroad and then she’ll need luggage, a foreign language dictionary, guidebooks, a travel journal, travel-sized everything, and money for airfare and souvenirs. Or she’ll join a sorority and end up needing clothes in her sorority’s colors, dresses for formal events, and money to pay for all the fees, not to mention being constantly hit up for money every time there’s a fundraiser.
College is expensive, and I’m sure the girl’s mom feels bad that she can’t afford to provide her daughter with all the “essentials.” But at the same time, not being able to afford something isn’t an excuse to throw a shower. If something is too expensive, either find a way to save money or wait until you can afford it.
Sororities are great. Sororities are also NOT cheap. I went through rush and got to where they gave us the costs of everything. Which would have doubled what I was already laying out to go to college. I wasn’t a legacy so I didn’t get the next round and the round after that was pledge and pin; so. I reiterate, Sorority life can be wonderful. Just that it’s not for everyone and it’s also not inexpensive. …
Brings to mind one here in the annals, that a neighbor barely knew the ones across the road, and sort of knew they had a daughter graduating age. A short time after the school graduation, the girl and three of her friends show up on neighbor’s porch. Um, she was there to pick up her graduation present of $100 because she hadn’t gotten her gift yet from the neighbor and wanted to go to the mall that morning. Oh, everyone else had given her $100, so that is what the neighbor was supposed to give her too. Despite the fact neighbor didn’t even know the girl’s name, had received no announcement or anything. She reported the girl and friends left her porch disappointed as she didn’t give the girl a penny. Everyone else gave the girl $, so everyone else owed her that much…
Afraid it’s going to be more common with this crop of entitled Special Snowflakes…
Three years ago I bought myself something fairly expensive and justified it to my friend as a “gift for surviving my first year of university” (more for my benefit than anyone else’s, I always feel a little guilty after a big purchase). He stared at me for about five seconds before asking if that was a thing that happened — was he expected to buy a gift for me and our other friends?
So yeah, “Congratulations on Surviving 1st year college” gifts are still not socially accepted. As for how long that will be, well that’s anyone’s guess.
(And no, I did not make him buy gifts. Just in case anyone was wondering.)
I’m a big fan of buying myself a little something as a reward for an accomplishment. Even when I didn’t have much money, I’d scrape up enough for an ice cream cone or a new paperback. I still have the book I bought myself for high school graduation – I really splurged (given my income) on a brand new hardback. It was the third in a trilogy I loved and I just couldn’t wait for paperback! These days, I can afford more but I still don’t often buy things just for myself. Not my style, and I don’t like shopping. So when I finish a report cycle at work (about 2-3 months of work), I take myself out to lunch and enjoy some sushi with nothing but my latest book for company. Bliss!
No need to justify rewarding yourself for hard work!
Looks like your friend needs training in picking up on humor. Other than the pie in face variety. 😉
I did that near the end of the second stint; we were really broke and I had scraped up over nearly a year, $60. yeah it was that tight. And I bought a fancy set of colored pencils. Big box set, and you could buy replacement singles as you used them up. The set was on sale, was normally over $90. I still have that set, and I have replaced numerous pencils in it as I used them up. I didn’t justify it; it was merely the thing that I really really wanted and it has given me much pleasure over my decades. I wouldn’t have justified it, just DONE it Anonymouse.
I’ve only been out of college a few years and this wasn’t a thing when I started. My parents hosted a graduation party/BBQ for me since we only were allowed a set number of invitations to the ceremony. Quite a few of my extended family and neighbors who wouldn’t be able to attend sent nice cards, some with a little money and some just well wishes. My parents made sure I had those thank you notes out before summer vacation even started. I went away for college, so I only packed clothes and essentials. When I got school my parents and I made a trip to Target for sheets, towels, and few other items. My parents covered those expenses, which we modest, as the money I received was going towards books and tuition. My younger cousins all had similar graduation parties that I sent cards with a little money in, but I had never heard of a dorm ‘shower’. IMHO high school graduation should receive a modest celebration because everyone should graduate high school. Lets save the big showers and celebrations for major life events like college graduation, military promotions, becoming a published author, or being honored for service work (things that are truly great accomplishments).
I don’t think it’s a thing now either. Just a very few with either an advanced case of entitlement or had their sense of shame surgically removed.
Beginning to think shame-removal-surgery must be an outpatient drivethru procedure by the amount of it posted here to e-hell!
Um…things you need for your dorm room: sheets-blanket-pillows, shower basket,portable clothes hamper, towel set, and maybe a few cheap dishes. When I graduated high school, I was showered with cash gifts; way more than enough to purchase these items. If mom can’t afford to purchase these items, I don’t know how they expect to pay for college- no way is daughter going to be able to attend classes full-time AND work enough hours to cover tuition, textbooks, room and board, food…ugh.
As I read the OP’s letter, the mom was saying that she’d “run out of time”, and yet that she’d already bought all her daughter’s college needs. Color me officially confused. What in the world do you need for a dorm room besides bedding and a desk lamp?
My oldest nephew is coming up on college time and I fully anticipate buying a few things to make the dorm life easier (if he goes to college, if he stays off-campus). But the difference is that I intend to do this voluntarily. I hope his parents don’t pull a stunt like this! A “shower” for going off to college is bad enough, but then rigging it so you’re “buying” things from the parent? WTF?
I think even more than the mother’s gall in asking is the fact that she already bought all of this (apparently she CAN afford it) and expects to be reimbursed! That just gets me. I can’t even begin to understand her thinking. In my world, there is no such thing as a college shower, but there IS a real thing I call “taking responsibility for oneself and one’s own family.” Whether the kids earn the money to buy or the parents pay for it doesn’t matter to me, but it’s no one else’s job to pay for someone else’s child to attend college.
The niece may be innocent, but if this is the way she’s being raised, I fear for her etiquette practices.
When each of my kids turned10, I started buying things for them, similar to a “hope chest.” I bought sets of pots and pans on great sales, towels on markdown, dishes on clearance, sheets on close out, all kinds of household needs, all over a period of years. I even bought their bedroom furniture with the intention of sending it with them and replacing it with thrift store and consignment stuff later, which I did. When each daughter left for school, she had basically all she needed, long since paid for. And both were extremely grateful and took good care of it — they are still using it, too.
Here are the alternatives to mooching off relatives:
Daughter and parents can hit second hand shops and Goodwill type stores.
Daughter and parents can go to “Dollar ” stores.
Daughter and parents can scrounge up things from her own home, bedroom.
Daughter and parents can check out Craigslist.
Daughter can fall back on the old bricks and board shelves.
The best gift parents can give their children is to teach them to live within their means. Teaching this girl that she is entitled to a ton of new stuff is not doing her any favors. When she graduates from college, gets her first real job, and moves into an apartment, are they planning on asking relatives to fund that also?
Don’t forget Freecycle. Also, some people just leave their furniture behind when they move out of their apartments, or they leave it in an alleyway, or at the curb with a “FREE” sign on it, etc. Then, the next person takes it, and possibly does the same thing when they’re ready to move home again for the summer. It’s not a perfect system, and it can result in apartments outfitted with clashing, grungy, decrepit, outdated, or just plain ugly furniture, but it’s practical, and kind of fun.
Absolutely….if you really plan ahead, go to the dorms on move-out days…..you can have all the mini-fridges, mini-microwaves and other stuff you want. 🙂
And spraypaint and con-tact adhesive paper has done a LOT to recycle recycled perused things into a décor you can stand until it becomes curbfodder once again!
Just this weekend I saw a TV commercial for Target. They now have a College Registry. The website even says *Why a college registry?* and answers its own question by saying you need stuff and this makes it easy for family and friends to help you get it. Shameless.
Now, that just takes the cake! A College Registry!!
Yes, it’s greedy, but honestly, isn’t that what graduation gifts/cheques are for? I thought the tradition was to spend the money you receive from relatives for graduating high school, on things you need for college or university, or for your first apartment. So, there’s no need to have a “going off to college shower,” because that event has presumably been acknowledged already. Also, I think the media is at least partly to blame for this phenomenon, for perpetuating the idea that college dorm rooms should be these huge, tricked-out spaces with candy-coloured walls, and matching curtains, bedspreads, rugs, and stylish-but-impractical butterfly chairs, and of course the latest laptop, printer, and speakers. I went to Target today, and in the “back to school/dorm essentials” section, there were some legitimate products (bedding, message boards, desk lamps, etc.), but I also found completely unnecessary things, like…….wait for it……..a peace sign that lights up. I had no idea that such an item was so essential to a person’s post-secondary education. I’m waiting for my alma mater to retroactively rescind my degree because I didn’t have one.
P.S., Of course I was being sarcastic. When I went to university to do my Bachelor’s degree, I had a single room (in a traditional rez building the first two years, then an apartment for the final two), and if I’d actually bought all of those “dorm essentials” that advertisers pitch, then *I* wouldn’t have been able to fit in my room. So, I took just what I thought I’d need (and I probably overpacked the first time), and it was still a challenge fitting it all into my dad’s car. If I’d bought all of the furniture and decorative items and other junk, then we’d probably have had to rent a U-Haul.
Exactly. Very exactly. That room was a place I studied and occasionally slept in. I kept the books I didn’t need right now there. A few towels to go shower a few times a week; and my hoard of laundry and clean clothes. The room I grew up in, I LIVED in that. The dorm room? A place to exist. I did put a few posters on the wall but. Not much else. Oh, and buying two separate collections of carpet sample squares to put over the tile floor (linoleum type) and have a few left over and the entire floor covered. When I moved out I sold them to someone else.
I agree the people in the story were way out of line, HOWEVER, I can see this for a truly needy college-bound kid, if not a shower, then maybe a celebration party. Heck, any one who gets pregnant (on purpose or not) expects a shower, I wouldn’t mind celebrating a young person who did the right thing by NOT getting pregnant too soon and applying themselves to their educational goals.
I grew up in a family with limited financial means, but we were expected to attend college. I wouldn’t expect to be the recipient of a college shower or a celebration party for going into college. That is what graduation gifts are for, especially the monetary gifts. The fact is, stores have been advertising more and more items for college as “necessities.” It’s up to parents/guardians to stay sane in spite of the trend.
Uh, no sorry you are WAY off base. I got pregnant and didn’t expect a shower. And why on earth should anyone be “celebrated” for not doing what they aren’t supposed to do?
I don’t reward anyone for doing what’s right, and the SIL is ridiculous. Our society is becoming more and more entitled.
I’m a bit confused. What exactly does the daughter really need for college? I never went away for college, but my younger sister did. Her dorm room was not altogether that big, so I would think keeping the things brought up to college would be to the minimum.
Happened to me. I have 2 kids to put through college, my sis and BIL have 3. Their last didn’t communicated at all with us the first year. Second year, and my sis is still staying home not wanting to get a job, we get a letter from him that he has joined a sports team and would we be so kind as to help him buy what equipment he needs. Ummmm, no. I just was stunned reading the letter.
Oh, go ahead and “buy” one of those gifts. Then inform SIL and Niece that it was so thoughtful of them to provide a college graduation gift this early. No last-minute shopping in four years’ time!
[LIKE]<<<<< made my own button!
Best one yet!
OP, be prepared for future showers for your niece. There’s the one that will be thrown once she moves into her first place, when she graduates from college, when she starts grad school, if she moves away, etc. Showers are being manipulated into occasions for anything and everything today! Want something? Just throw a shower for it.
I agree! It’s getting ridiculous.
Wow, just wow. Every time I think I’ve read about the worst case of gimme-piggishness, another story comes along that puts the last one to shame. This. Blows. My. Mind. Even though I’ve spent most of my life outside the country in which I was born and a lot of my schooling happened in Canada, I come from a background in which graduating from high school is not a milestone at all. It is a given as is completing some kind of post secondary education after that. I understand that higher education is becoming prohibitive in terms of cost as the years go by and that not everyone can afford it/even wants it so let’s leave that aside. But really, how hard is it to graduate from high school, extenuating circumstances notwithstanding? Why is there a need for any kind of gift, monetary or otherwise? I’m not against a party to celebrate the end of high school…I just don’t understand the big deal that people make out of it.
Okay, end of rant. I couldn’t help myself. Let’s chalk up my feelings to just not understanding American culture. I was one of those lucky ones whose parents paid for all years of university except the last which I was in a position to cover myself. They were not rolling in money at the time and had to budget in order to allow me the luxury of post secondary education. In exchange for their generosity, I worked through all my years of uni, lived at home and paid for my own books, commuting expenses and leisure. I applied for a loan but didn’t get one. In my first year I was very sad that I had to trek home via public transit after class while my friends walked the 5 minutes to their residences. After that I got used to it. Moral of my story? This woman is a joke. I would be ashamed to be a part of her family or to be associated with her in any way. We have clear evidence that her daughter was gifted at least $750, if not more from other sources. That is definitely enough for “needs”.
I’m with you Skaramouche, I too am from a country where one doesn’t really graduate high school; you just finish. Some schools might have a ‘Leavers Dinner’ for high schoolers and their families, but there a no special robes or certificates, and they’re very low-key affairs.
Even college graduation, which does involve robes and a ceremony, is often low key. Families celebrate in their own ways; I had the largest graduation celebration of anyone I know, and that involved inviting people to a bar for a drink. And it was my birthday; if it hadn’t been one the same day I probably wouldn’t have done anything! There are certainly not parties and gifts expected, it’s just not done where I’m from.
Yeah I must admit even graduation presents are mystifying to me. When I graduated high school there was a nice assembly but my parents couldn’t make it because one was interstate and the other had to work and it wasn’t considered weird at all. I couldn’t imagine having a party or trying to grift money for doing something so banal.
Again I agree here- I’ve seen ‘celebrate little blah blah graduating kindy!’ And then middle school and them high school! Is it really necessary? And graduation presents- I don’t get it. My family called and said congrats when I got into Uni but I never would have expected cash or presents for just graduating. I think the showers, cash grabs etc are perhaps riding on the back of this excessive celebration.
Yeah, I’m struggling with the idea of “graduating” from high school. If that’s a graduation, what is it when you actually get your degree?
That’s also a graduation! 🙂 I don’t think we need to bash the whole concept of high school graduation here. It sounds like it’s just a cultural difference.
American culture does tend to be very generous with the gift giving. I’ve spent a couple of Christmases there and been amazed at the number of presents I’ve received from people, and a boss of mine who studied in the USA with his wife had their first baby there and he said it was incredible the gifts people gave them, unprompted. Americans seem to give presents at the drop of a hat (and then everyone dashes off and changes them on Boxing Day?)
Several years ago, a very distant relative of whom I had never heard sent me a photocopied letter in which she described her need for money, purportedly for college. I didn’t respond, as I didn’t know the relative at all, or understand the relationship. A month or so later, I received a different photocopied letter from said relative’s mother, another stranger. This letter supposed that I (and I assume others who hadn’t responded) had somehow not received the first letter and reiterated the need for college money for this “hard-working kid who needs a second chance”. After questioning my husband’s parents, we discovered that this young lady was the daughter of the boyfriend of one of my father-in-law’s second or third cousins, or something like that. Apparently everyone in the family had received the letters! My in-laws sent a small donation, and as a result have received innumerable invitations in all the years hence to any and every money-grabbing occasion one can imagine. So having said all of that, this “going away to college shower” that didn’t happen doesn’t surprise me at all. People are just gross sometimes.
*since, not “hence”
I propose that from now on, there’s a rule that the only showers are for two things only: weddings and the birth of a child. And the recipients of said showers should be firmly told to keep the resgister to things their family can afford.
I think there are a few other (very specific) situations in which a shower would be acceptable. For example, a few years ago one of my relatives had a huge fire in her house and lost most of her possessions, so my family threw her a shower when she moved into her new house. I don’t even think we did a registry, though, and since we all wanted to help her out it didn’t seem like a gift grab.
I don’t have a problem with showers in general, if they follow the same traditional rules that wedding and baby showers follow: not thrown by the guest of honor, not thrown by direct family of guest of honor ( not mom, dad, siblings are kind of a grey area these days), no asking for direct gifts (including cash) registeries should be kept minimal, small parties are best.
Now, these days I think people should get two showers for thier whole lifetime. It could be wedding and baby, or maybe college and a pet shower, but that’s it. Just two!
WHEN (not “if” 😉 ) I become empress of the world, and rule by decree, there will be NO __ __ (this is “a blankety blank”) showers for ANY reason whatsoever.
If you cannot afford the event (wedding, let’s say) or the item (baby, let’s say), you just don’t have it.
Something along the lines of “can’t do the time, don’t do the crime” principle.
If you want a party, feel free to have one yourself or have one given in your honor.
I understand why you feel the way you do, but I respectfully disagree. Your last sentence sums up my position nicely: I never asked for/organized my own bridal shower or baby shower. They were given to me by close friends and family. I didn’t invite every woman I had ever met, and (in the case of my bridal shower) I didn’t register for gifts. I did do a baby registry, but it was more for my use, to keep track of what I had and what I needed. I had a wide variety of items, most inexpensive. Thank yous went out promptly.
My point is that you can’t stop others from choosing to have a party and give gifts. I think it’s both harsh and hurtful to say, “If you can’t afford to marry/have a baby, then don’t do it.” Friends and family are choosing to help the guest of honor begin a new phase of life, not setting her up with everything because she can’t afford it; to assume that’s the case 100% of the time is also hurtful.
I need to clarify my statement. I do agree that people should fund their own life choices, and that anyone who chooses to marry or have children without enough money to fund the basics shouldn’t have made those choices to begin with. They shouldn’t expect family and friends to fund those choices. That being said, it’s the assumption that every shower is a gift grab meant to help someone who can’t help themselves, that bothers me.
No idea what they are having her use all the money she received for college graduation on as that seems like you use that money for dorm stuff. Also, my mom was amazing at finding things we needed at yardsales and we outfitted our dorms with sheets and stuff from Target. I do know a girl at my school did a registry at Target for her graduation. I thought it was tacky but at least she didn’t do it for a shower after her graduation party.
Ugh, I’ve seen those dorm room registries too. If I wanted to buy a gift for a recent graduate I might ask the graduate or their parents if there was anything specific they wanted or needed for the dorm room, but I wouldn’t feel obligated. No registry needed. If the graduate ends up with something they don’t like or already have, well, that’s what gift receipts are for. It’s a dorm room; who cares if everything isn’t exactly to the student’s taste?
You know, now that I think of it, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for universities to do a bit of P.R. with the graduating class in high school. Right around the spring semester, when everyone has college/university on the brain, and acceptance letters are coming in, decisions are being made, etc., I think it’d be really helpful to either send a pair of students over to the local high school(s), and talk to the students about what to bring/buy/rent for university, and what really isn’t necessary. Alternatively, this could be done as part of a class field trip to the university for a tour, if a lot of students are going to be going there. I know that most university websites include lists of what to bring, but it’s not comprehensive, and it doesn’t really help when you’re standing in Target debating between the pop-up toaster and the light-up peace sign. So, a Q&A session with some older students already in university (a boy-and-girl pair would work well), might be really helpful to students in grade twelve who are preparing for university, and might be a bit confused and overwhelmed with all the information coming at them, and logistics to be firmed up. It might not solve everything, but I think if I was eighteen years old, and preparing to pack and leave for university for the first time, it might help me to hear, “Hey, the rooms at Blahblah University are pretty small. Here’s a photo of mine. Outside furniture isn’t allowed, and there are only X number of electrical outlets per single room, or Y per double. Power strips are permitted, but only one per student, because the university doesn’t want to trip the circuit boards. Any questions?” or some such.
By the way, looking back, the stupidest thing I remember anyone bringing to university in order to look “cool,” was one girl in my first year, who lived on the floor below mine, who brought a salon chair with an old-fashioned bonnet-style hair dryer attached to it. I’m pretty sure it worked, but who really needs that? The rest of us did just fine with hand-held hair dryers. A few years later, one boy brought an exercise bike, but that was at least useful. We had a gym on campus, but it wasn’t always open convenient hours–it was only open 9-5 on Saturdays, and 11-5 on Sundays, and it closed from 8:30 to 11 every weekday morning because we shared a campus with another school that needed it for P.E. classes. It was also closed most statutory holiday weekends. So, an exercise bike seemed to make more sense than a salon chair.
I went to my university (after receiving my acceptance letter on Valentine’s Day, it was one of the best valentines I’d received to then) for summer orientation and registration. We were put up in the dorms for a few days, ate dorm food, mingled with students near the end of a summer session, met with advisors, met the registrar’s office and got registered for our first classes that fall. It also gave us a bit of a leg up on those arriving in the fall as we got to register first before them (and we closed a lot of class sections out). It cost us, yes; but it was well worth it. I ended up 7 rooms down from the room I got assigned; and could take (film) pictures and measure stuff so I knew what I would have room for. I could talk to summer session students and get an idea of what I needed to bring to survive. I got a look at campus and the layout. This is an alternative to visiting campus before applying (it was barely in-state, and as far as I could get away from my parents, we were having many issues that last several months. Higher education and living at home were not real options anyways). Anon, I would have preferred the exercise bike to the 3000# rabbit in the room above; the gal INSISTED on lots of jumprope exercise despite it being banned for ‘unacceptable noisy activities’ and the RA’s could never catch her doing it. I offered the RA on my floor… to trade rooms for a few days and she’d catch the perp.
P.P.S., I didn’t do anything special when I graduated university either, apart from attending the ceremony (okay, it was a weekend trip back to the university, because of the distance involved). I’m not begrudging those that do–if anything, I’m jealous of their stamina. When I graduated, the ceremony in itself was hours long, hot, and crowded, and it was just one of a full day of events. Even if I lived near the university, that would have been more than enough for me, and I didn’t even go to everything. My favourite part of the “festivities” was getting out of my cap, gown, and fancy dress, showering and changing into jeans and a tank top, and enjoying some quiet before going to see a play by the drama department. I didn’t want another party, didn’t plan another party, and if my family had offered me one, I’d have declined. If they’d thrown me a “surprise” party, I probably would have hated it. For a graduation gift, my parents got me a moderate-but-nice piece of jewelry, and paid my first and last month’s rent for my apartment for my next round of university. So, I’m not saying that my family’s way of doing things was the “right” way; I’m just saying that it must take a lot of energy to pull off these “me-fests” that seem to make up so many of the stories here at E-Hell. I bet that, in the case of the truly narcissistic and rude, that energy and event-planning ability could do a lot of good if it was re-directed somehow.
This is revolting on at least 3 levels: 1) That there is some requirement to outfit a dorm room beyond things that you already have (student, clothes, sheets, towels), 2) That relatives should be begged to “shower” another relative upon going to school, and 3) That the relatives should do this by REIMBURSING the parent for items they’ve already purchased and chosen!! UGH!!!
What’s next? Should I be holding a fifth-grade-entrance shower, so that my relatives can reimburse me for back-to-school clothes, pencils and binders? Should I set up a website where they can fund my daughter’s hot lunch account? RIDICULOUS.
One thing is somewhat confusing to me. What about the roommate? Usually first year college dorms are set up for 2 or more kids per room. Why would each kid need a microwave and refrigerator? When I was in college, my roommate and I rented a mini refrigerator and split the rent and the refrigerator. Unless your diet is really restricted, and/or you have medication needing refrigeration, you don’t really need a whole refrigerator all to yourself. I understand that these are mini-refrigerators, but most of them have enough room for 2 people to store drinks and a few snacks.
And it seems like most colleges these days provide the mini fridge and microwave. Mine did, and I don’t think any of my friends who went to different schools had to buy theirs either. And yes, one mini-fridge was plenty for my roommate and me. There are a lot of other things that can be shared, too–you don’t need two printers, two ironing boards, two TVs (not that a TV is a “need,” but you get what I’m saying).
I guess it’s possible that the girl didn’t have a roommate, but single dorms are usually a lot more expensive than doubles or triples. If the mom was having this much trouble paying for everything I doubt she’d be able to afford it. Or perhaps the girl didn’t have her roommate’s contact information before move-in, so she wasn’t able to coordinate splitting the cost of things. That seems doubtful as well, though–most schools give future roommates each other’s contact information at least a few weeks before moving in.
Actually, I went to a small university for my Bachelor’s degree, where single rooms were pretty much there for the asking, at least if you asked early enough. Of course, they cost a bit more than shared rooms, but as an introvert, I found that having my own bedroom (whether in a regular residence hall or in an apartment) really helped me. In subsequent years, I had my own room in a sharehouse situation. This meant that I could sleep, study, and just decompress in relative peace. I wasn’t antisocial; I was in student government, I sang in the choir, I belonged to a feminist group, and a bunch of other things, but between that, and all of my classes and rehearsals, I really needed that alone time at the end of the day. If I’d had a roommate, then I wouldn’t have been able to have that. So, while I was living alone in the regular residence hall, I did need my own microwave/mini fridge rental (they came attached, as a “combination unit”), because there were no kitchen facilities, and while there was a dining hall, it wasn’t open all the time, and there were times when I just couldn’t face the crowds there. A lot of people in my building did the same thing, and we liked it, because the mini fridges or combination units (you could pick one or the other) would just appear in our rooms in September, and be carted away when we left at the end of April. Also, it was probably cheaper in the long run than eating every meal in the dining hall. So, my point is, I wouldn’t put mini fridges and microwaves in the same “useless luxury” category as light-up peace signs, because they actually did serve a useful purpose. Besides, those fridges were so tiny that “a whole refrigerator all to yourself” would hold maybe, say, a few cans of pop, a jar of jam, and the requisite handful of condiment packets from the dining hall. Also, roommates are a mixed bag–despite the “roommate questionnaires” they did, I ended up with completely incompatible apartment-mates two years in a row. That was bad enough, but I can’t imagine living through that in a double room, where there’s literally no escape. I had apartment-mates who were all too happy to “share” in the use of things I brought (microwave, TV, DVD’s, etc.), and not even take decent care of them, but they didn’t reciprocate that sharing. So, while splitting the cost of a room and mini-fridge rental may make seem like a good idea at the outset, it could easily devolve into “That’s mine, no, it’s mine, your pop is on my side!!!” arguments.
Being born in the baby bust of the 70s, there weren’t enough freshmen to fill the college dorms when I went to school. Anybody with an “in” could angle a single room for a little extra money, which I earned through my summer job. An older friend who worked on campus told me how to get in and I got lucky and scored the single room as a freshmen. As a fellow introvert, it was bliss. There are probably too many freshmen these days to make that work, though. There’s benefit to being part of the baby bust! We’ll get screwed out of everything else but by gum at least I had a dorm room to myself.
Oh, we didn’t have to “angle” for single rooms when I went to university. They just said, basically, “Single rooms cost $X, double rooms cost $Y, and it’s first come first served.” It wasn’t quite that simple, because my alma mater had traditional-style residence buildings, bog-style (everyone in singles, and a tiny bathroom, or “bog” in between each pair of rooms), and apartment-style (four per apartment, everyone in single rooms, with a living room, kitchen, and two bathrooms). I lived in a bog-style rez for first and second year, and in an apartment for third and fourth. It wasn’t perfect, and I had some issues with noisy neighbours in first and second year, and bad apartment-mates in third and fourth year, but I loved university in general, and having a single room definitely helped. If I’d ever had to share a bedroom in university, I probably would have spent a lot of time feeling frazzled and “peopled out.” This was during the “double cohort” year of 2003 as well, when there was one class of OAC (Ontario Academic Credit) students graduating and going to university, and another class of fast-tracked grade twelve students doing the same thing simultaneously, since OAC was being phased out. So, I had friends going to universities that were overcrowded, and the universities were solving the housing crunch by converting single rooms into doubles, and doubles into triples, or by bribing students with Blackberries and such to live off-campus. My university (quite sensibly, I think) addressed the problem by building a new residence–the apartment-style rez I mentioned earlier. There were some hiccups with rooms not being ready right when people arrived, but all of that was cleared up within the first few weeks of school, and life moved on fairly smoothly after that.
Must have been nice. I went through dorms with overflow issues, even the RA (resident assistants) had to have roomies and the lounges were fitted with shades and racks of bunks; and a bunch of the no-tell motels were rented out for overflow with special bus service to get them several miles to campus… by April you might be down to getting to use the lounges as what they were meant to be… and they left the bunks up because in September they would need them again. Our dorm of 870 had over 1100 at beginning of September… first day I could move out I did. (that and musical roommates; nobody liked having a roommate that had no life and had to study all the time and I do mean ALL the time, my roomies averaged 3 weeks)
Well, did the university tell you that was how it was going to be before you enrolled, and signed up to live in the residence? If not, then that’s a pretty dirty trick, promising students a reasonable living space while they’re studying at university, and then shoving them into what amounts to summer-camp-style accommodations, for an entire academic year. How would the university even decide who gets a proper bedroom, and who has to sleep on a bunk bed in the lounge with no privacy? Was there at least more than one lounge pressed into service as a sleeping area, so they could be segregated by gender? If they did tell you the score, then that’s slightly better, but I take it that it was mandatory to live in residence for at least your first year, right? Maybe the residence wouldn’t have been so overcrowded, if it hadn’t been mandatory to live there. I’ve done the residence thing, and I’ve lived off-campus in a house, and even though I didn’t mind living in residence, because I had a single room, I really liked living off-campus, because that way, “home” and “school” could be separate while I was at university. It did mean giving up all the “rez life” activities, but by that time, I’d had my fill anyway, and I participated in other activities offered through the university, like the women’s group, yoga classes at the gym (memberships free with tuition), and my faculty offered a fair number of social activities throughout the year, so between that and school itself, I was never lonely or bored. Also, my off-campus housemates and I tended to get along better than my apartment-mates when I lived on campus. We argued sometimes, but we’d often all sit down and watch a TV show together after dinner, for example, and I hung my paintings up around the house to make it feel more “homey.” This all happened organically, without any prompting from anyone else; whereas, when I lived in residence, there was a lot of “rah, rah, everyone get along” mentality, and that’s where I had problems. Also, renting a room in a house was cheaper than living on-campus.
They tended to run slightly overflow with an average dropout rate of the first 4-8 weeks that usually cleared it up. That year they did not have dropout like they expected, and it was really crammed. I had hit the process early so I got a room; those that had waited until nearly graduation and applied and got onto ‘space available’ and ‘aid leftovers’ were those that ended up in the bunks. And had been told they were going to get ‘overflow’.
Most of the dorms were segregated by sex; so all women or all men were the entire building was one sex. If you were in the lounges overflow the entire building was the same sex. My dorm was two connected buildings, by rooms/beds normally held 870. All women. We had about 1100, all women, when the fall session started. There were very few exceptions, all freshman and students under 19 had to live in dorms until they reached 19. I moved out the day I turned 19 into an offcampus sleeping room rented from a retired lady. She had three rooms she rented; and I shared a kitchen and bathroom with her. Lots of people within six blocks of campus did that, rented a room or two to students. Some had entire houses, and ‘student households’ would set up with 4-8 students sharing a house.
Damn, before I went to college – I enlisted – got money for books, and a payback for a pecentage of the loans I had to take. I then paid off those loans. I stayed at home the entire 4 years saving myself the room and board and I took a bus to and from school. I didn’t realize that my parents and relatives owed me all this. Why didn’t someone throw me a shower so that all my extra expenses were covered?!!! I actually got a job!
Your parents did give you free accommodation though.
The SIL in this is disgusting but everyone’s getting a bit sanctimonious. now.
The OP should throw herself a “vacation shower” and present her SIL with a choice between paying for transatlantic airfare or five nights at the Four Seasons Paris. No need to host anything; an email demand letter will be fine.
Did the OP’s husband deliver his sister a good tongue-lashing, or was this another opportunity for a submissive roll-over “not to cause drama?”
I started college relatively recently, and I will say that I was surprised by the sheer amount of things I had to bring with me when I moved in. However, most things (bedding, towels, toiletries, laundry bag, laundry detergent, desk lamp) could be bought fairly inexpensively or brought from home. The only thing that I could see really costing a lot of money would be a mini fridge and microwave, but it seems like most schools now provide those…and if not she could buy them used or split the cost with her roommate if she has one. It’s not cheap, but absolutely doable especially with all the money she got for her birthday and graduation.
Her mother is teaching her that things are handed to you, even when you become an adult.
I feel that even if you have a ton of money, why just give your kids everything? Then they grow up spoiled, entitled, and very disrespectful of service people.
She’s going to learn the hard way when mommy isn’t there to throw her a shower for all her expenses.
I remember being very happy with a hand me down desk that I propped up on dictionary!
We don’t know that this girl is spoiled. Actually, if the “shower” isn’t an actual event, but rather, just a money-grabbing e-mail, we don’t even necessarily know that this girl even knows what’s happening. All she did was get accepted into university (which is actually pretty difficult), and then her mother took her shopping for the things she needed for her dorm room, and maybe, as far as she knows, that’s the end of that, and now she’s busy packing, registering for classes, and getting to know her new roommate on Facebook or Skype. For all we know, she could have been a straight-A student, involved in student government, sports, band/choir, model U.N., and any number of things that university admissions people LOVE to see on those essays……but also suck up a lot of time that could be spent working at Wetzel’s Pretzels or whatever after school, to finance said education. For all we know, she DID have an after school job, either instead of, or in addition to, doing extra-curricular activities, but she either didn’t earn enough money to finance all of university by herself (because, I’m told that it’s gotten much more expensive even since I did it), or her mother simply wanted to do a gift-grab anyway, because she’s a greedy person. Anyway, I can’t really get behind the black-and-white idea that, “If your parents paid for your university, or helped with expenses, you’re a spoiled brat. If you did it all yourself, you’re a good person. If you had a single room/microwave and/or mini-fridge/your own computer/insert big-ticket item here, you’re a spoiled brat. If you didn’t, then you’re a good person. Spoiled brats don’t amount to anything. If you had anything nice, at all, ever, that you didn’t earn, you’re going to flunk out of high school or university, get pregnant/get someone pregnant, never be able to get or keep a job, and become a drug addict.” I’ve known nice people, spoiled brats, and yes, even a few drug addicts, from every socioeconomic bracket. Also, the economy is so bad right now that getting and keeping jobs is difficult for EVERYONE. So, I really can’t get behind the idea of tarring the daughter with the same brush as the mother, because I don’t see from the story that she actually did anything wrong.
P.S., My parents provided me and my brother with the things we needed (plus a few reasonable “wants” along the way), but also taught us to be polite to service people.
Okay, I have two kids in college right now and one more who graduated last May, and NOT ONE of them had a mini-fridge or a microwave in their dorm rooms. THOSE DO NOT COUNT AS NECESSITIES! Dorm rooms require sheets and bedding, maybe a mattress topper (we sprang for that), towels, and laundry detergents, plenty of quarters and maybe some cleaners, and a cell phone. Cell phones are a definite necessity, since dorm rooms no longer come with the phone my generation had. Everything else is a luxury. If this kid’s parents (remember, the kid did not make the request, so we do not know if he/she is greedy or if it is just mom) want to shower their child in luxury, that is their choice, their business, and should be done with their cash. You have already gifted this child a huge amount of money. Don’t feel guilty about not giving more. I, personally, would be mentally downgrading the amount I planned on gifting this child when he/she graduates from college as a result.
Okay, a mini-fridge and microwave in a dorm room isn’t a necessity, but it is nice to have. I used mine a LOT when I had one, and if you go that route, renting through the school is much easier than buying your own and lugging it back and forth each year. Also, off-topic, when did phones stop being provided? Every university residence room I ever lived in, always had a phone, and that wasn’t that long ago–I finished my Bachelor’s degree in 2007.
And here I was, thinking I must have heard it all by now.
An appropriate response would have been, “I’m sorry, but after already giving your daughter $750, I simply cannot afford to do more, much as I wish I could. However, that amount should be more than enough to furnish a simple dorm room, should it not?”
As an aside, here’s a tip for any college-bounds and/or tgeir parents: having “been there and done that,” I can attest to the fact that a dorm room doesn’t require nearly as much furnishing as big-store advertisers would have us think.
I like your response!
This story really makes me think of some great possibilities for “occasion” showers. How about a “new dog” shower, and ask for donations for vet bills and dog toys? Or how about a “I gained 25 pounds that I can’t lose” shower, so your friends and relatives can pay for a new wardrobe. Then there’s the “2 weeks in Mexico” shower, where you can try and milk other people to underwrite your vacation. Any other ideas?
“I just got a new job, and can’t afford a new wardrobe” shower, “I splurged on candy, and can’t afford milk” shower, “pet birthday” shower, “new auntie and uncle” shower. I could totally go on. 🙂
Phew! I’m so glad I can now cancel that monthly deposit into my nineteen-month-old’s RRSP and simply hold a “shower” for her when the time comes. Now I can spend that money on more important things, like my wild nights out on the town. Oh, wait… I don’t have those anymore : )
Whoops, I meant RESP.
I guess what I’m confused about is if you’re in the dorm you’ve got room and board, all you really need is sheets, a towel, and a laundry basket. Shouldn’t that come to under $100? Anything else… mini fridge, posters, etc is nice to have but not a necessity.
Well, a laptop is required at many schools now. The fridge is incredibly useful and saves a lot of money in the long run.
A student probably needs new sheets since most likely the bed is an XL and most families don’t keep the extra long sheets on hand. While new towels are fun, they aren’t necessary. Something to carry your shower items, the sheets and maybe a small fan since I know my dorm wasn’t air conditioned! I do believe a small fridge is a necessity but those can be rented.
Yes, a small fan is a great idea. I remember those rooms being absolutely sweltering the first few weeks of school, and I was able to buy a small fan at the school store/campus bookstore, but bringing your own is a better idea, because A) University stores are notoriously overpriced, and B) With everyone wanting to buy a fan at the same time, they fly off the shelves. Posters are nice to have too, but every school I ever went to had a poster sale the first few weeks of classes, and posters are a pain to pack–they’re not heavy, but they’re long, and awkward, and they have to be rolled up, and they get crushed easily. I wouldn’t bother, though, because most places don’t allow tape on the walls; only sticky tack, which ruins the corners of posters, and it also dries up easily. I remember many, many times being woken up by Starry Night falling on my head.
Yes! Don’t pack posters, just get new ones when you get there. I was lucky in that my room came with a strip of corkboard I could hang stuff from with thumbtacks.
Wow, I have never seen a dorm room shower before. That is just crazy. You have already given a graduation gift–that should be enough. I wouldn’t even dignify the request for more $ with a response. That is her child, she should buy it herself!!
This reminds me of my mother’s best friend and her husband. Their daughter and I are the same age. (I’m 34 now). Eons ago, when we graduated from high school, she went off to college and I didn’t. Long story short, she didn’t work one day during her seven years of going to school full time and still hadn’t graduated. Too busy partying. Our dads were active duty army; her dad stayed in the army five years past when he wanted to retire so she could still get the GI Bill. Eventually, the military wouldn’t pay for her to go to school anymore. Once her parents started having to pay for it themselves, things changed. She was given one year to finish and that was it. They furnished everything for her; she was too good to live in a dorm room so they got her a condo. Bought her a car, but after she failed again her dad brought the car home and she didn’t take it back. I liked this couple, but thought less of them for letting her do this for seven years. She is now 34 and still isn’t self sufficient.
Michelle you have just illustrated the problem with giving your kids everything–the result is they rely on it and eventually can’t make it on their own. I have two kids and we’re a ways away from college, but there is no way I would delay my own retirement so they could have their college completely paid for–for an indefinite period! That is ridiculous. There has to be a limit. Seven years to finish college?? In that period of time most people have a masters degree. I don’t blame you at all for thinking less of the parents–I’m sure the entitlement began way before college. The fact that the daughter is 34, and not self-sufficient is just sad.