August 15, 2014 - submitted by Jojo, United States of America

I'm a full-time college student but I'm feeling more and more guilty and anxious about not having a job to help my family. My parents work extremely hard and I feel like they are earning just enough to pay their bills. I'm scared that they're never going to be free of their debt and me not working is not helping. They've assured me that they'd rather have me continue studying hard and getting As in school, but I still feel guilty. Coldplay's music helps me when I start to panic but sometimes it's not enough. Do you have any advice?

The Oracle replies:

It's commendable you want to help your parents but, to put it bluntly, it's not your role to. That said, I don't know how old you are but if you're living rent free, perhaps you could get a part-time job and contribute towards your keep.
Your parents seem happy to support your studying and given you've stayed locally, it's saving you all money by not having the expense of living away from home.
You're entitled to have fun but it might be nice to respect the value of money while your family are going through this struggle.
If you're mindful of what you spend maybe pay them in a different way. You could contribute by helping around the house or buying things you all need such as supplies, food or any other household necessities. I'm sure that gesture will be appreciated.
Concentrating on your education will help - your parents have enough to worry about and it won't help you to worry too.
I bet they appreciate your concern but it's tough out there and many, many people are in the same boat. Who knows, you may end up in a position to help when you've graduated and are in employment. Until then, do what little you can but try not to feel guilty.
Over to you.

I felt guilty about this as well during my studies, especially when I saw that some of my friends didn't even have the choice - they just had to work to pay for college. The guilt is only a proof of how good your parents raised you Jojo, how they passed you their responsibility values, which are both the cause and, in my opinion, the solution to your problem.
I assume from what you say that you have already offered them to work and help with the bills, and that they refused. You are going to have to accept their choice and that their hard work is not only for money - it's also to be able to give you the life they want you to have : study in a comfortable and serious way (it's already a full-time job), do what you love, and enjoy life. Your good grades will be their rewards, because they are most likely to guide you to happiness and to the real, stable job that comes with it, which will help you get really autonomous. If you earn enough money then, you might even be able to help them back or cover them with gifts - this could all happen sooner than you think. Please trust them on this one, and prove that they are right by trying to be successful. Would you want your children to have a tough life to pay for something they are in no way responsible for? Good luck!
Lucas, France

I know this feeling very well but I am sure, there will once come a time, when your parents are older and will need YOUR help. For example
when they might become in need of care, aren't anymore able to do their household alone. Then YOU might have a good job and you can give them back what they did for you. This is the circle of life and love.
Coldplay music always is a good help btw.
Maren, Germany.

I believe there are things that happen that are completely out of your control. I understand how guilty it must make you feel to know that there's nothing you can do. But these things happen for a reason. When these things happen, it's so you can learn something, so you can help yourself even if you can't help others. Hope this helps. Victoria.

You don't need to feel guilty, keep studying hard because one day when you are successfully thanks to your parents you can return all the money they invested in you. But that is not the important thing here, the important thing is that your parents love you more than anything and they don't care how much money they are spending on your education, when you get to graduation they are going to feel so happy about you and the are going to think all the sacrifice that they did was for a good reason, and if you still want to work or make some money you can do it, you can sell thing that you don't need, clothes, furniture, books, etc. And there are many works where you can work a few hours. You can do it and remember your parents love you more than anything. Good night. Lizzie.

This is a time in your life when your focus and time are your greatest advantages. If your parents are encouraging you to focus on your studies so you can continue to shine at school, you should do just that. Doing fantastic in college will open up doors for you as you continue your education, and also when you graduate. While they are not everything, great college marks are persuasive and attractive to potential internship hirers and employers because they demonstrate that you have the qualities they look for in a candidate: perseverance, time management, attention to detail, commitment, etc. If you continue to harness your focus in college now, you will equip yourself with the potential to do very well for yourself when you graduate, at which point I think you may be more likely be in a financial position to help out your parents in a substantial way. For now, if it would put your mind at ease, you could see if your school has any work-study positions that would fit well with your classes, but not appropriate the time you need to study. You could also look into paid internships for the summer, through which you could make a monetary contribution to your family while cultivating a great experience to put on your resume. You are a very kind and caring person to think of your parents and empathize with their hard work, and I wish you all the success in the world. Allie.

My advice: music is one of the main things that helps people through stress and worry, Coldplay are one of those bands that do help. Listen to the lyrics they put in there songs, feel the emotion they put into it! It might help you understand that not everything you do has to involve your family. If college makes them happy it's enough, after your education you can get a well paying job that will help your parents. Study hard and listen to music (especially Coldplay) they will help you through it. Try writing lyrics and putting your feelings into it to help you, think of the positives NOT the negatives. Thanks, Sarah.

When it comes right down to it, a parent's true job is to grow a human being. Wow, what a daunting task - arriving with no instructions, speaking a foreign language, and dripping from every possible crack and crevice. Parents have to take this gift (you are the gift) and make sure that it can take care of itself, make good choices, and build some solid character along the way.

For right now, going to school is your job. Recognizing your parent's sacrifice, coupled with the fact you are concerned about their finances, makes you a pretty awesome human being. Write them a thank you note telling them that they have done a great job! Clean up after yourself, and help out when you can.
My advice to you, Jojo, is this - do your best in all things - "Do, or do not, there is no try"- Master Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back. When you do your best it minimizes regret and you'll never curse missed opportunities.
I'll let you in on a secret - you're only borrowing their wallets, you own their hearts. Graduate from college and they'll have no regret.
Be Well-Be Blessed-Be Yourself (everyone else is already taken).
Cheers, Dani USA.

My advice would be to get a job. If your parents are in debt try to help them out a little. Talk to them about it and agree on the amount of money you will give them every month or week(I don't think you should give all the money you earn to them, you should save up for your own future as well). Maybe it's a good idea for your parents to write down everything they spend in a month to see if they can save money on something? I'm a full-time student too and I work nights and sometimes on the weekends. It's not always easy, but lots of students do it. But if you really feel like it's becoming too much for you, listen to your parents advice and finish your school first. Education is very important. Good luck! Amanda.

I think you don't have to feel guilty. Most of the parents believe that the only valuable thing they'll give to their children is education. That's why they don't want you to be distracted. But it doesn't mean that you can't help them with some tasks. There are some options you can do.
1. Find a part time job.
2. Help them with the house work chores. You won't earn money but they'll get time to rest.
3. Remember that when you finish your studies, you'll have the opportunity to get a job which will give you the economic resources to help your family. That'll make them be so proud of you.
Best wishes Isabel, Mexico.

I think it's admirable of you to see the bigger picture with your family. I'm proud of you knowing that you are sensitive to how your parents are struggling, even though they tell you "things are okay".
Don't feel guilty. Feel empowered to help in any way that you can! Can you find a part time job, still go to classes and maintain your GPA? If you can, then go for it. Any little bit could help, maybe you could buy groceries for the week, or treat your family to something, contribute to the phone bill? Your thoughtfulness and gestures would certainly mean the world to your parents and working while attending college does look good on your resume.
You should be proud to have learned empathy and compassion. Some people never get it.
Take care of you and your family.
Wishing you continued success in your studies,
Best, Julie.

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