since this is a new chapter in my life, i have decided that i should be more open and honest. even though these are things i would not like to advertise to people, i see no reason why i should try to hide anymore. i am in serious financial trouble. it’s not as bad as someone living on the streets, or starving in the third world, but it’s bad enough for me.

1. tuition fees. i chose to go to a school with the most exorbitant fees ever. of course when i picked the school, i thought i could afford it. but disaster struck, and i got stuck with a semester of unpaid tuition. that was sophomore fall semester. the school then threatened to kick me out (in the most diplomatic way of course) spring semester if i could not pay the overdue balance by the registration deadline (usually 3 weeks into the semester). with no way of coming up with the money, i lost all hope and stopped going to class the 3rd week of school. however, i received an email from the collections department saying that i could continue this semester. yayyy! i was sooo happy and grateful and determined to do well.

sophomore year ended. i was still stuck with 2 semesters’ worth of fees. after a long, hard, and stressful summer, a private loan covered that overdue balance for me to register for junior year (this semester) right before school started. here i am again, desperately needing and finding enough money to pay USC what i owe so that i can register for spring classes, before i start worrying again.

making things even harder is my international student status – i have to find an eligible U.S. cosigner for any private loans with banks. with the economy now, the probability of that happening has dipped near zero. none of my family members are eligible for loans back in singapore either.

i’m not saying i am a model student. i’m not the brightest, the most hardworking, or the most creative. but i try. i’m double majoring in two things i am very interested in, and as cheesy as it seems, i really do want to make a difference. i want to heal mother earth, or at least comfort her by telling her in my own ways that there are people like me who care about her. i want to be a cat and dog lady and adopt all the cuties without a home. i want to live comfortable and repay all those who have helped me so much – my parents, my friends, and even once-strangers who have hearts of gold.

maybe some may argue i don’t have to graduate to accomplish what i want. well, i WANT to graduate because it would help me and my goals a lot more. and if i don’t continue school year, i would have to return. it’s not that i hate singapore – it’s that i have already established another life here. i like studying here infinitely more than i did in my years at home. i have my friends, my boyfriend, my routine. my family and my old friends, i do miss them. but really, how many of them are still left in singapore? my friends are scattered all over the world, it matters not where i am, we are likely to be apart physically anyway. the ones that matter, we all know we will reunite again some day.

2. laptop. after my accounting midterm on a friday afternoon (yup i love getting tortured like that), i came home, ready to relax with a beer (see, i am honest) in front of my laptop. as i was opening the bottle, my clumsy hands knocked over the fullest, most ginormous cup of water onto my laptop. it was dripping water from the insides after. fear not, i have one more year of warranty left. perhaps if it dried, i can fool Apple into believing that it died on its own terms. alas, that was not to be. the clever engineers detected that molecule of water in my macbook. the repairs were priced at $750. WHY would i pay $750 for a 2-year-old macbook running on Tiger OS when a new one costs $999? well, that aside, i don’t have $750 anyway.

thankfully, lonnie (my bf) has an extra laptop. i appreciate this as it did save my life academically (i had 1048193813 things to do this past week). however, it does present numerous problems, including but not limited to: suddenly deciding not to be able to connect to the internet, restarting by itself, occasionally refusing to close programs or open programs or restart simultaneously (i.e. being useless except being able to move the mouse around and clicking on things but nothing ever happening), and playing very bad quality video and sound (usually continuous stuttering or pausing and then stuttering). see, the last part wouldn’t be that bad except that i take my accounting class ONLINE. this means i have 4-6 hours of lecture to watch every week. like right now, i am supposed to be watching a lecture. but i really cannot understand my professor with such video quality.

hence, i started writing this post. plus there is loud music playing next door, and people on various instruments (drums, i think i detect a saxophone, and also singing) across the street. WELL I JUST WANT TO WATCH THE 10 HOURS OF ACCOUNTING THAT I NEED TO CATCH UP ON.

3. other. yes i have applied to various scholarships. i received a few the past 2 years. most recently, i was chosen as the USC recipient for a scholarship from LAAPA (los angeles alumni panhellenic association). but came this debacle – i couldn’t afford to stay in my sorority house which costs a whooping $10,000 a semester. although it included 15 (hardly edible, especially for a vegan/vegetarian) meals a week, it is technically covering only 8 months and you are not allowed to stay there for holidays, such as spring break, thanksgiving, and winter break. and that sum is excluding dues. this would not have been so much of a problem if the sorority house was full. but it wasn’t, and so everyone is required to live in a minimum of 2 years. i already spent 10k living there for a year, i wasn’t about to spend precious money that could go to my education. i wasn’t alone (8 other girls chose not to or could not afford to stay in the house). although it was evident that the last thing the chapter needed was losing 8 girls, nationals was being a bitch about it and basically said we were not committed to the sorority. this is despite our president fighting for some of us to stay, and our personal emails to the national president explaining our situation. i even said that my commitment goes as far as paying for the dues even though that was a serious stretch for me.

well long story short, we were dismissed. that’s fine – my sisters will always be my sisters. but because i am no longer greek, LAAPA had to withdraw that scholarship.

i don’t know why i typed this here. i just needed to put it out there i guess. not many people will be reading this, and even if they do, i know in all their best interests, do not have the capacity to help me. all i can do now is to work hard, do all that i can, and pray for the best.

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