New Thing #12: Realizing I’m Poor
Growing up, my family was poor. My parents both worked in agriculture, my aunt lived with us, and most of my clothes were hand me downs. Of course, back then I didn’t know I was poor, it’s only looking back that I realize it. As I grew up my parents started moving up and making more money, by the time I was aware of money, we had enough of it. Then, I started working to buy my own things. At no point were we rich, but I never had to worry about not having enough money for myself or my friends who needed some. For the area I lived in, I was well off.
Then, came Stanford. I didn’t want to come to Stanford. I had applied on a whim, but once I was accepted I visited the campus and fell in love. An I still love it, I’m glad I made the choice to come here. But it also had its drawbacks. Somehow, until now, 4 years of being here, I had not noticed how poor I am compared to the people around me. There are trust fund babies, silicon valley entrepreneurs, celebrities, just-plain-I-summer-in-the-Hamptons people. People living near me with a shit ton pairs of Christian Louboutins, the latest designer jeans, and, of course, 2 Chanel bags: one for everyday use and one for everything else. But that’s nothing; then there are families around like the Bing’s, which can afford to take groups of students every quarter, to trips in different part of the world. No matter how hard I try, I can’t picture that much wealth in my head. And what’s worst is I can’t help but question what these people did to deserve this that I didn’t do.
It’s moments like this when I wonder if living a sheltered, country life like the one I grew up in would be a happier life than a place like this, full of diversity and people from all backgrounds, where you can see these huge inequalities. Thank you Stanford, for my great education and opportunities you’ve granted me. As for making me feel so poor and inadequate…I’m still not sure how I feel about that.