8 student confessions that make me think differently about money — and merit.

Hard work does not equal financial security.

In March 2015, a group of Columbia University students created a Facebook page named Columbia University Class Confessions.

The group behind the Facebook page is known as First-Generation Low-Income Partnership, otherwise known as FLIP.


Their goal? To provide lower-income students at Columbia a space to voice their realities.

Their realities are pretty darn harrowing.

Before Columbia, Stanford had already launched a class confessions program a few years back:


After Columbia and Stanford launched their Facebook class confession pages in early 2015, other colleges followed suit.

Brown

Williams

There's a lot we can take away from these stories. They're intense; they're saddening. But here's one thing we should definitely note.

Hard work does not equal financial security. Social mobility isn't as easy as some might think.

When the Fight for 15 protests happened across the nation in favor of raising the minimum wage, one of the most common counterarguments was: "Why don't they just go get a college degree?"

Well, look at these college students working hard — to feed themselves, to get a roof over their heads, to get the medical assistance they need for depression or other health conditions, to support their struggling families back home. They went to go get that college degree that is supposed to help people out of poverty. They even worked hard enough to apply and get accepted into incredibly prestigious colleges, colleges that one would think would be the golden ticket to success.

And still, they're struggling. "Hard work" doesn't always give lower-income folks what they need to survive and fit into a world that's not made for them.

And the sad reality is that many lower-income people will still be struggling after graduation thanks to a weak economy — and a lot of debt.

From the Institute of College Access and Success: 69% of the Class of 2013 graduated college with an average of $28,400 in student debt.

Lower-income students clearly have more difficulty navigating things that others might take for granted — simply because they never had access to the resources some have always had — and don't know how to use them.

Check out more stories being read by students in this video below:

We all deserve the right to survive without struggle. These students show that hard work doesn't cancel out the obstacles that many lower-income folks face when trying to move up the socio-economic ladder.

Maybe their stories will help stop the unfair judgement of lower-income people and help others be more aware and understanding at the same time.

Most Shared
Rice University

A plaque marking the death of a glacier comes with a haunting message to future generations.

The former Okjökull glacier in western Iceland is the first to lose its status as a glacier due to climate change. Known now as simply "Ok," the once sprawling ice sheet has melted to about seven percent of what it was a century ago and was declared no longer a glacier in 2014.

Scientists predict that in the next 200 years, if the climate crisis is not mitigated, the rest of Iceland's 400 glaciers will meet the same fate.

Next month, the land that Ok once covered will be marked with a memorial plaque. Researchers from Rice University in Houston, Texas, Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason, and geologist Oddur Sigurðsson—who first declared the glacier's lost status—will unveil the plaque in a public ceremony on August 18.

The plaque's text begins, "A letter to the future," then reads:

Keep Reading Show less
Planet
Photo by Raul Varzar on Unsplash

A quarter of domestic cats have had their claws removed. Even though it might make the owners lives a little easier, the procedure can be incredibly painful for the animals and has been described as "barbaric."

Most of Europe and Canada have banned cat declawing (onychectomy), as well as several U.S. cities, but New York just became the first state to do so. Now, any vet who declaws a cat in the there will face a fine of $1,000, unless the procedure is medically necessary.

"Declawing is a cruel and painful procedure that can create physical and behavioral problems for helpless animals, and today it stops," New York GovernorAndrew Cuomo saidin a statement, per USA Today.

Some people get their cat declawed to stop their furniture and flesh from being destroyed. However, declawing a cat isn't the best way to stop a cat from scratching. In fact, it's probably the worst. "If a person has an issue with a cat scratching, well, first of all, I'd advise them don't get a cat because that is the very nature of a cat. But, secondly, there are ways to change cats' behavior. Get scratching posts. There are vinyl sheathes that could be placed on the nails," Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal said. Rosenthal sponsored the bill and is a cat owner, herself. "[T]here's many ways to address that behavior." None of the ways you address the problem should include taking it's claws off.

Keep Reading Show less
Cities
Alie Ward

Your dinner plate shouldn't shame you for eating off of it. But that's exactly what a set being sold at Macy's did.

The retailer has since removed the dinnerware from their concept shop, Story, after facing social media backlash for the "toxic message" they were sending.

The plates, made by Pourtions, have circles on them to indicate what a proper portion should look like, along with "helpful — and hilarious — visual cues" to keep people from "overindulging."

There are serval different styles, with one version labeling the largest portion as "mom jeans," the medium portion as "favorite jeans," and the smallest portion as "skinny jeans."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

In today's installment of the perils of being a woman, a 21-year-old woman shared her experience being "slut-shamed" by her nurse practitioner during a visit to urgent care for an STD check.

The woman recently had sex with someone she had only just met, and it was her first time hooking up with someone she had not "developed deep connections with."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being