More on that smug Facebook picture

Since I posted about the “I’m about to graduate debt-free and if you can’t, you’re just not trying hard enough” picture, it’s been coming up all over my search terms. So I thought it only fair to link to this takedown of the picture that does the math and the research to show that no, you probably can’t go to college and have an apartment on a minimum wage job, even if you do have 90% of your tuition covered.

I particularly love this part:

I have been able to be successful, in large part, because my parents were successful. I did something with what I was given, but I was given a huge amount, and to have squandered it would have been criminal. Having done what was expected of me shouldn’t warrant a pat on the back, it was, whether I want to admit it or not, the bare minimum. And to expect someone who wasn’t given a fraction of what I was given to do the same without help is wrong, and it’s senseless.

If you’re a middle class kid, or an upper middle class kid, or a rich kid, you have no right to claim that you got where you got simply because of hard work. You got where you are, at least in part, because of what others did for you, and if you hadn’t been born into a family of people who wanted to and were able to do those things for you, you would have needed someone else to do it.


8 thoughts on “More on that smug Facebook picture

  1. JoannaDW says:

    Just so you know, the link taking down the picture is broken. It’s too bad, because I really want to read it.:)

    Anyway, I totally agree with you. There is a LOT of information that’s being left out of that picture-what is the medium income in the area that person lives in? Do they live in an area with public transport? Etc, etc, etc.

    I also would like to know what they are studying. A lot of people who work full-time and go to school don’t take challenging classes or degree programs because they don’t have the time, resources, or energy to make it work. They might try, but they might not do well. I say this from experience. Try taking 18 credits of engineering courses at an elite college and working full-time. Yeah, thought so. A minority of people might be able to do it, but it’s not a realistic expectation.

    By the way, I work too. I’m a member of Phi Theta Kappa. I don’t have luxury items either. I’m not nearly as fortunate as this person.

  2. JoannaDW says:

    FTR, I found the cached version of this article, and it’s brilliant. I live in a state with high poverty, high cost of living, and high taxes. Maybe the mythical Sally should come live here for a while.

  3. Karen says:

    How can this post disappear so quickly? It sounded interesting. As a parent trying to send our son to college without too much debt, I wanted to find out the secret. Right now, his formula is 5k scholarship, 5k loan, 7k parents. And that’s a state school. I’m working a medley of part-time jobs to make up that 7k as father’s salary doesn’t stretch that far. We are planning for him to work too, but it’s a trade off. We also want him to take enough credits to finish in 4 years or less.

    • KellyK says:

      I did e-mail the website to let them know that the article has disappeared.

      Good point about the trade-off between working and taking enough classes (and getting decent grades!) to finish in four years or less. I can’t picture working 30 hours a week and taking a full load of classes. At least not working a difficult job where you’re on your feet all the time–maybe an on-campus desk job like the library or health center, if they let you do homework when you’re not busy.

    • KellyK says:

      It looks like the article is back now. Site glitch maybe?

  4. Kristie says:

    I wrote a post along similar lines recently; those of us who are privileged in some, or multiple, ways, at the very least owe it to ourselves and the rest of the world to consider those privileges before we start talking about what others are or aren’t doing. Elizabeth Warren was right; whether you’re a successful corporation or a successful person, no one gets to that point purely on their own.

    • KellyK says:

      Thanks! I love that Elizabeth Warren quote, and I really like your post, particularly the hamster wheel analogy. It reminds me of my friends, who had a hamster that could break out. He balanced on the top of his wheel and actually moved the lid of his cage. It took him a solid half hour to do it, insane perseverance as he fell off multiple times, and super-hamster strength. And I can picture him posting on the 53% site that all the other hamsters are just lazy and could be free to roam the living room if they just worked harder. (Though he might have to take it back after people figured out how he was getting out, and put a steel plate on top of his enclosure.) The people who’ve beaten adversity (and the people who haven’t, but like to make up stories and pretend) talk like it’s possible for everybody, when that isn’t the case.

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