How to cope with a change in your financial circumstances mid-undergrad
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How to cope with a change in your financial circumstances mid-undergrad

What happens when your financier can’t finance your tuition anymore? I honestly didn’t know how to title this. What I will be writing about today is how to cope with a change in financial circumstances. Means you previously had someone to pay your tuition, and now you don’t.

This change in circumstances happens for many reasons and now with the pandemic having established itself as the new normal I know that perhaps families that were okay at first may no longer be okay and for some reason, I felt compelled to provide a resource to help whomever it may concern.

Financial circumstances may change for any number of reasons, for instance, your financier might die, take ill, lose their job, get retrenched, or simply pull away from that obligation, whatever the reason might be it leaves us with the same problem, no tuition money.

In another blog post, I shall discuss the many ways to navigate this for USIU students however, for now, let’s deal with the emotional side of this. Why should I bother writing this? Because how you handle it will definitely affect your GPA and whether you care about your GPA, I care about it, so if I can help I will definitely try.

I am also writing this because I faced something similar as I approached my junior year at USIU, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Sadly, there was no post for me to read to know that someone else has struggled with this, to have someone hold my hand and tell me what I should do or where to start to figure out how to move forward. All I knew was that I had to finish school, come hell, or high water.

With that in mind, I decided to help myself get through it and hopefully, the tips I used will help you get through it too. These tips include:

1. Acknowledge your emotions

When the situation first happened, I was feeling a lot of things, mostly betrayed for a variety of reasons which I shan’t divulge because they aren’t important at this time.

The point is that I imagine you are feeling a lot of things too, and I am here to tell you that it’s okay your feelings are valid regardless of what they are. It is okay to feel bad about your situation. It is okay to throw yourself a little pity party [just don’t stay there too long] but for the moment, it is okay.

2. Get professional help

I don’t know about other universities but as for USIU there is a whole counseling wing, make sure you utilize this resource in this trying time.

Talk to a counselor, tell them how you are feeling, and allow them to help you. That is why they exist. They exist to support you through your program, and this is part of it. This isn’t the time to try to be strong all by yourself, you will fail, and it will be 100% on you, so see a counselor.

3. Vent as often as you can

Okay, so this is where your friends come in. I was made aware that there is a ‘fair-weather friend’ culture at USIU, so I don’t know what kind of friends you have, but I am hoping for your sake that all-weather weather friends’, tell them what is going on.

Take every opportunity to get those feelings off your chest. I don’t mean live in them until the end of time, I mean in the beginning, when the emotions are still fresh, try as much as possible to get those feelings off your chest by sharing your feelings with your friends, they might not be in a position to help financially, but that emotional support goes a long way.

4. Keep an eye on your GPA

When my financial situation changed I was really stressed, extremely stressed, I mean it is a stressful situation, and because I knew that my GPA was priority number one my relationship really suffered because I knew that my GPA was a valuable asset so every free time I had I dedicated to studying.

My point is that there was a price to pay just to make sure it is the right one. Your GPA at this time is a very valuable asset. Why do I say this? Because a lot of financial aid options in USIU, and I’m sure in other universities as well, are all hinged on your GPA.

It is for this reason that you must keep studying no matter what. Yes be stressed, that is allowed but try and study and stay on top of your assignments and group work.

Yes, my relationship took a hit, but at that time I had to choose and now that I am completing my undergraduate program I can say with confidence that I made the right choice. If you have to choose, make sure you also make the right choice.

5. Avoid drugs and other social vices

Okay, let’s get real for a minute. As you get through this, there will be a lot of instances when you will think about it and want to forget it. You will want to escape this horrible reality. You will want a whiteout equivalent for your life.

This much I know from my own experience, but, please don’t take the easy route. You will want to drink and do drugs and other things to help you forget, but I implore you to reconsider.

This situation is temporary, and the best part is you have evidence through this blog post that your situation is NOT unique. I have been through it too, and I got through it. You will get through it too, instead of drugs turn to your family and friends for emotional and financial support.

6. Look at your options

USIU and other universities have some financial aid options for their continuing students because they know that life happens and have come up with programs to make sure that when that time comes, they can try their best to support their students.

Visit the financial aid office which is on the 2nd floor of the Frieda Brown Student Center and have a chat with one of the financial aid officers and see what your options are and what Financial aid options you qualify for. USIU has several Financial Aid programs, which I will write about in a separate post for your convenience and reference.

7. Take it one day at a time

You will be tempted to think about everything at once, this is normal, but don’t. Appeal to your better judgment and take the same route, to take it a day at a time. You don’t know what tomorrow holds, so worrying about it is pretty pointless.

All you can do is do your best today. I shall say that again, ALL YOU CAN DO, IS TO DO YOUR BEST TODAY. That is the only thing you can do, so do it.

This situation is hard. I cried so much throughout the whole time it was happening, but guess what, I got through it. As I write this, anything and everything that happened as I went through it is simply water under the bridge, and your situation is exactly the same.

Right now, it might be hard, but please just hang in there and take it a day at a time. Apply these tips and I promise you will get through it too. No matter how bad it is, remember that this too shall pass.

Until the next time, wash your hands frequently, wear your mask in public places, and keep a healthy social distance.

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