I got a great note yesterday from a guy named Tony who’s in a tough spot, so I thought I’d use his letter as the basis for today’s post. Tony may just be the poster child for this time and place in our history, and I hope he’s in the beginning stages of what turns out to be a great American comeback story.
Read his story, read my advice and give him some of yours. He deserves your time and attention.
First, i want to commend you on your efforts to be brutally honest with people. That in itself is not always an easy job.
Thank you! You’re right, it does rub some people the wrong way, but I figure nobody else is doing it so why not me?
I have a question as to what the best approach would be for me when I apply for scholarships. I have read some pretty creative essays, as well as your blog, and I’m not sure which road to take. Here’s my background information:
I am 31 years old, a husband with 3 children. I quit school in the 10th grade to go to work to support my first child. I have worked in the transportation industry since. I hold certifications for equipment operation, and have “run” my own business as a contractor.
I was laid off a year and a half ago. I took that opportunity to obtain my GED through the local career center. I had tried many times to do it on my own, but I found a structured program was the key for me to concentrate on studies.
Congrats! I know it’s tough to get motivated to do that once you’ve taken off into family and career and you have the whole “life gets in the way” excuse to NOT do it.
My family is in financial ruins, from the lay off. Every penny we had saved, we had to spend to stay afloat at that time. We now live paycheck to paycheck and have NO extra income.
Gotcha. A tough spot that a lot of folks are in these days.
I have always been interested in heavy equipment and have 15 years in the industry. I have enrolled in a school for Diesel Technology, knowing it will be a good fit, given my experience, and new found motivation to further myself. My wife is also attending school for her Nursing Degree. Her job offers tuition reimbursement up $1000/year, mine does not. I will have to cut down to part time status at work to attend school..
OK — good to know you’re back into a job, even if it’s going to be part time. Also, good to know about your wife — nursing is a great profession in terms of demand and salary as well.
Do I mention the financial hardships and family situation?
Tony’s asking about his scholarship application/essay here. And my answer is definitely yes, as long as there’s some free-form essay portion where you’re asked to discuss yourself and your situation, then absolutely, talk about what’s happened with the layoff.
Not only that, but I’m absolutely in favor of you talking about dropping out of school in the 10th grade to take care of your child. I’m guessing you were 15 or 16 at the time. You were dealt a difficult hand and you took a tough road that you knew would probably limit your future options, and you did it because you wanted to do right by your new family.
Some will disagree with me here, for sure, but I’m a father of two children myself, and I say your decision to drop out is something to PROUD of. I don’t have to tell you this, but obviously life throws you curveballs sometimes, and you gotta do what you gotta do for your family. A lot of guys in your shoes take some sort of chickenshit route to duck their responsibilities — whether it’s denying paternity (although that’s a lot harder these days than it used to be), moving away, or just refusing to support or acknowledge the child. You stood up and took responsibility, which is what guys like us are supposed to do.
So, should you mention that? Hell yeah. To me, as a judge, it says you were made of the right stuff from a young age, even in the face of difficulty. People who make sacrifices for their families often think those stories aren’t worthy of writing about, but they are, and that’s why one of the first tips I ever wrote for my book was Don’t Forget About Your Family.
I know many others have experienced the same thing, so my situation is not unique in any way.
Well, yes and no. Sure, other guys have dropped out of school, and other guys have been laid off, etc. But nobody’s story is completely unique, and just because it’s not completely unique doesn’t meant it’s without merit. Not to get all Tony Robbins on you, but your story is unique to YOU — it’s the only story you’ve got, so tell it. There are two ways of looking at it — “I’m no more important than the next guy” and “I’m just as important as anyone else.” They mean exactly the same thing, but they’re worlds apart in terms of perspective, right? Choose the second one.
I have found many scholarships simply ask how the scholarship will help you and why do you deserve it. I am an honest person and not ashamed of my situation, but when answering these questions, I can’t help but feel like I’m sending an invite to a pity party.
That doesn’t surprise me. If you were the kind of guy that took every opportunity you had to showcase your situation and soak up the pity of others, then you probably never would’ve made it this far. You’re probably the type who suppresses the urge to do that sort of thing, and that’s probably good. It does make it difficult to reverse course, though, when the occasion arises where you MUST inform others about your hardships, like a scholarship essay.
The key, really, is in HOW you convey your situation. There’s definitely some subtlety involved; there’s a thin line between a compelling tale and a sob story. I have a few tips on that, and most of them I’ve written separate posts about, and when that’s the case, I’ve linked them:
a) Committees like stories of overcoming adversity. Your story sounds good to me so far — a guy who turned rough early circumstances into a successful life. Well, now you’re faced with adversity again. Are you ready to overcome it again? Committees like to hear this stuff. It makes us feel like we’re really helping someone.
b) Don’t act like you’re owed the scholarship. I doubt this will be a problem with Tony, but while you do want to mention your hardships, you don’t want to act as if you are OWED the scholarship because of them. That’s where Tony’s earlier observation about his situation not being unique comes in. Lots of people are in a tough spot, and that fact alone doesn’t entitle you to someone else’s money! You’ve got to make your case.
c) If you mention a hardship, say you don’t want special treatment (even if you do). This is gamesmanship, of course, but it’s acceptable gamesmanship. I mean, the whole scholarship application process is all about getting some special treatment, in the form of scholarship money. But there’s something about people who come right out and say they don’t want to be treated different that makes people want to sometimes — well, treat them different.
I have also found it difficult to find scholarships for adult students, as most applying are in high school or recently graduated. Fresh out of school with big dreams and goals, I am concerned my application will simply be set aside. I have goals, not just dreams any more. I am motivated and ready to take this head on.
Well, you may have just discovered the best angle to take in your essays. You’re right — a great majority of scholarship applicants are younger students with lots of dreams and their whole future ahead of them. After a while, they all start to run together. If I were you, I’d zero in on the fact that you’re NOT a teenager with dreams, but an adult with real responsibilities and a family to provide for. That’s a good angle to take — one that a lot of judges can empathize with.
With all that said, I have filled out the financial aid package and checked out the scholarships offered through the school I’m attending, but nothing fits (scholarship wise). The deadline has passed, you have to attend a particular location, or I’m enrolled in a program that is ineligible. I am willing to put in the time and effort to bridge the financial gap. I just need to find something that fits. Do you know of any resources for adult students? I appreciate your time and any information you may have available.
Well, I don’t know of any great clearinghouse of nontraditional-student scholarships, but I would say this, and I hope I’m not being Captain Obvious here — but I think that, in your particular spot, you should take all the student loans you possibly can. And I mean every single dime they’ll give you, subsidized or unsubsidized.
If ever there was a situation tailor-made for indulgence in student loans, yours is it — you’re trying to further your education and you’ve got a family to feed and you really, really need the money. Remember, student loans aren’t intended to be solely for tuition — they’re there to support you in whatever way you need support while you’re attending school. As in, tuition, books, food, shelter, living expenses, etc. Depending on how far you are along in your field of study, you should be able to get between $9,500 and $12,500 from Stafford Loans alone. Here’s the Department of Education’s student loan information.
My advice is to take ’em. You’ll be a diesel mechanic and your wife will be a nurse someday soon; you should be able to handle the payments, and it sounds like you could use the cash on hand. Good luck!
What about you guys? Any advice for Tony? Leave it in the comments section below.
23 thoughts on “Three Kids, No Money, a GED & Plenty of Heart (Tony’s Story)”
I thnk what you are doing is awesome and going back to school and an amazing thing to do. Because you are not only dong this for your self you are doing this for your family your kids. You are showing your kids that no matter what never give up. you are showing them that second chances can happen and that its never to late to pursue a dream. So i say keep it up keep your head high and do what you have to do to get to where you want to be. You are an inspiration to your kids and your family whether you know it or not. Good Luck and God bless
I’m only 20 at Saint Louis University,so my situation obviously not like his, but here goes:
1.Family and friends- do you have anyone who would help that fall into these cateories? Even if you think they won’t, it wouldn’t hurt to ask, since it’s for a very good cause. If not tuition, they could help with buying books for a semester or two.
2. State grants- Try applying to the state you live in for some grants
3. negotiation- just a thought, but maybe you can work out a deal with your part-time employer that you’ll work for them for x amount of time if they contribute a certain proportion?
4.Alternative loans- Many banks offer private loans for education in addtion to the subsidized and unsubbed Stafford Loans.
Quick tip- when it comes to buying books, never buy them at the school bookstore! They’ll charge you a ridiculous amount. Ebay and amazon will be your friend. School bookstore should be last resort. Example- A friend of mine(with same major) bought books from the b-store, totaling over a thousand for a semester, while mine only totaled to about 350….reaaalllly big difference.
That’s all I have so far. I hope you achieve your goals and your dreams.
Hey Tony – more power to you! One thing to think about, and I just read an article about it in the NY Times – make sure the school you are going to actually leads to a job – a lot of “trade schools” are springing up around the country to take advantage of the looser student loan requirements that are part of the new administration’s plan to get people educated – but people graduate, have a huge loan payment, and find that their school didn’t actually prepare them for anything. Make sure you talk to some actual graduates and some actual places that hire diesel mechanics, and make sure your school is one that fits people for actual jobs. You may have already done this, but I know several people who have been tricked like this, and it’s really awful.
On another note, if you do take out student loans, there are programs in place that make sure you pay no more than a certain portion of your income in loan payments, so that if you have to take a lower paying job when you first get out to “pay your dues” you don’t end up starving. Look on the web for that. Also a program of the new administration.
I am in a similar situation with kids and age, but I received a scholarship. My advice would be to take it longer as the course load will be less. Running a household is very difficult with a full course load and money being extra super tight.
Try and get your name out and network so that you have a job lined up. Otherwise once you graduate, you will be in same position as before you went in and just pushed the problems for later.
I’m also a mature student (30) living on my own, no family financial support. All I can say is go for it and don’t give up, don’t give up, don’t give up. Because, as with many students, the idea will cross your mind.
It’s statistically proven that each year of post-secondary education that someone has increases their annual income. So, just GETTING the education is the obstacle right now.
If/Once you’re accepted to school speak with your registrar’s office! They often have a wealth of financial information for you or can provide you with councilling for such advice.
Again: don’t give up, don’t give up, don’t give up. Remember those words when the day comes and you want to……
YOU CAN DO IT!
You don’t say how much longer until your wife completes her schooling or whether her salary will be enough to support your family for a while. I see too many changes in your family’s future and chaos…good chaos, but still. If your kids are little, I say stay home with them and go to school part time. Kids grow up way too fast. Help out your wife as she finishes school and adjusts, then let her return the favor. Make sure to grow together and not apart. It sounds like you both have great career paths. Good luck.
I, too, have three kids (18, 15, 12) and just finished my degree May 2009 at the “Non-traditional” age of 38. BTW – non-traditional student = high degree of motivation!
The fact that you have dreams AND goals is a great essay intro. Dreams turn into goals – and obtainable. Go for it.
Do whatever you need to do to earn that education. Whatever it takes, requires, anything and everything you need to do to achieve this goal. I don’t regret it for one single second. My education is something that no one can ever take away from me.
That said, I am unemployed and thankful to have a working spouse. Encourage your wife to stay in healthcare and go after her degree as well. Your three kids will see this behavior and it will inspire them to do amazing things.
My loans are 6.8% (I know, stupid) and I owe $20K. Not terrible, not great. I have an interview next week (second one in over 6 months – great time to go to school – wish I were still there). The job market sucks and I couldn’t imagine the competition without having a BA.
Write first – pour your heart out.
Edit later. Edit as follows:
Intro (3-5 sentences about you and what describes you, and most of all why you are applying for the scholarship/loan/acceptance – 4W’s – who? what? when? where?
Body: (2-3 main points that describe your strengths, experiences, motivations – base your essay about these points. Keep it short and sweet – concise.
Conclusion: Agian, 4W’s and remind the reader why you of all people are the best pick. Connect the intro with the conclusion.
Good luck to you! Don’t quit.
Tony, first let me say I too applaud you for making the right decision all those years ago, and I wish you luck in your new adventure. Imagine what an inspiration you and your wife will be to your children when they are old enough to consider college!
I am in a situation some-what similar to yours. I am a stay-at-home mom, I have three kids, I was homeschooled and only have a GED. It has been ten years since I was in school. I understand your wondering if there is any way you can compete with fresh faced high school grads in a scholarship competition. But here is my philosophy on that situation…
My “dreams” have not gone stale, they have not died, they have simply matured! I may not see the world as naively as I did 10 years ago, but I consider that a benefit when faced with a decision as big as “what I want to be when I grow up!” The time I have spent growing up has only made it clearer to me what I can, and want to, do with the rest of my life.
If you think about it…I don’t think it is uncommon for someone to go BACK to college as an adult because they are dis-satisfied with their chosen career. If you WAIT until you are an adult to go to school then you already have the hindsight to guide you! And if you start your college career already knowing for certain what you want to major in then that’s a benefit as well. I have spoken to several young collegiates who say they have taken “extra” classes in an effort to discover what they want to major in, or have had to take an extra year of classes because they got through their Junior year and decided to change majors. As an adult going to college already knowing before I start exactly what career I want when I’m done, then I can avoid all the superfluous classes!
At least that is the philosophy I plan on using to my advantage when filling out my own scholarship applications, perhaps that can help you as well.
It’s wonderful that you and your wife are continuing with your education and trying to improve your family’s financial situation. Another angle you can mention when you apply for applications is what your children will learn from your example. You are not just going to school for more money, but it will also show your children that it’s never too late to get an education and you can always learn more while improving yourself and your environment with studies.
Too many times, young kids just getting out of school with no responsibilities are the ones to get the scholarships. While it’s great that they apply and even receive these financial breaks, I would think (and certainly hope) that many judges would be just as interested in your story and the fact that you do have people relying upon your achieving a goal, not just a dream.
Good luck to you and your family.
Tony, I am a 44 year old single mother. I have 4 kids, 2 still at home (ages 11 and 8) and believe me its hard. I work as a dispatcher for a guy who is leased to Landstar trucking company. I get paid a commision for the loads I book. When I started he had 5 trucks. Now he has 1. My pay went from 450.00 a week to 250.00 a week. Then it got to where he was having trouble paying me. I have 5 ruptured disks in my back so I can’t get just any job. For 2009 I made $8750! But I have been in school since Feb. 2009. I get a Pell grant and a student loan. I just barely make it but I am making it. Trust me if I can do it so can you. You just have to decide how bad you want it. The lowest grade I have received so far is a A-. I have a 4.0 GPA and I am proud of it. Also during this time I have been in school my 20 year old son passed away. He was also attending school and had a B average. What I am trying to tell you is you have to get it into your mind just how bad do you want to give your kids what they need and sometimes what they want. Thats what I did. Oh yea and the kids learn by example. If they see you going to school and making good grades then that is what they are going to want to do. I hope you make it and remember as you are going through school to make good contacts with your instructors. They are your gateway to good jobs.
I completely understand how hard it is to go back to school with kids and a life. My husband and I are going back to school to get our teaching certificates, we have 13 and 14 year old daughters. It is hard to choose between keeping a full time job to provide for your family and continuing your education to benefit them in the future. Just remember why you are doing this and that will help you get through.
I agree, take all of the student loans you qualify for, you will definitely have some left over after paying tuition. Remember that they pay at certain times during the year and budget accordingly. I try to budget for my biggest bills from my left over financial aid and use my part time job to pay the little stuff. Also, look into other options than your book store for your books (ie. rent them from Chegg.com or try Half.com, Amazon, or Abebooks). Good luck!! You made the right decision!
I think it’s awesome that you are taking this initiative and have so much tenacity to undertake this. I am a traditional college student myself (late teens), but I can offer you some advice about what to do once you get in. First, I really like what Glenn said about textbooks. They are definitely very expensive. My suggestion would be to go to http://www.bigwords.com – this site compares book prices from sites all over (e.g. Amazon, half.com, ecampus, etc) and you can pick what you want to order. Another thing is to sell your textbooks once you finish the class- you can definitely choose if you want to keep the book after you finish the class, e.g. if you want to use it for future reference or something, but at the same time if you know you’re never going to need the book again it would be useful to sell it, to gain back the money you used up in buying it (or at least part of it). Some times libraries might have the books you need and therefore you can also just borrow books from there. Of course, you can always buy books from friends who have already taken the course – my friends and I buy each others’ books all the time, and the best thing is that we really help each other out because we sell them to each other very cheaply ^_^
More power to you dude! Go for it!
I am a mother of four children under seven (one being a 3 month old), with a unemployed husband. I’ve been in school now for about 7 years, I have my associates and am currently working on my B.A. in Social Science and a minor in Anthropology & History. I graduate next Spring, and then apply for grad school for teaching. One of the most difficult things has been finding funding, oddly enough, there just isn’t a lot out there for folks over 25 who only go to school…I wanted to get involved in school activities for my scholarship resumes-but with four kids, how can one do it? So I started my own club that works via email-and throw social activist events every month or so…it’s not easy, but I am happy. I want my girls to be proud of me-I want to set a example, I want to be apart of the solution. It’s not easy, and oddly enough-when you’re a parent, folks tend to think you should be working to provide for your kids rather than going to school. I think that is ridiculous! I’m going to school so I can some day help my children attend school, sure, i’m racking up doubt and i rarely get any sleep-but to me, it’s worth the world. Hang in there no matter what anyone says, no matter how difficult it is-how hard a class is, or how many loans you have to take out. Education is the answer-it’s the key-it’s the solution. And as parents, we have got to be apart of a solution-for the future of our own kids. You can do it man, and remember there are others just like you-busting our rears as well!
Food for thought re diesel mechanic profession. A recent USA today article interview of Warren Buffet. He purchased a railroad. He sees that will be how most freight will be moved due to so few roads being built. Railroad companies need diesel locomotive mechanics, make sure your education includes that arena. In twenty years will you be physically able to still do this type of physical work. Keep expanding your education so potential health issues don’t put you out of work. Have a plan for continuing education. I am married to an exdiesel mechanic with a tool chest taller than I am of expensive tools that are just sitting. He was self taught and has been a prophotographer for 25 yrs. The profession is now in less demand and his business is almost nonexistent. An unpleasant place to be at age 55 and in this economy. Have a plan for continuing education and follow through.
Ditto to what Mulan says. Our college age daughter is doing exactly that with her books. Purchase used and resell as soon as you are done with it. Get rid of it before it is not the current book of choice by the professors. Private scholarships and Pell grant are what is funding our daughter. She treated scholarship research and writing like it was one of her 3 part time jobs. Researching and writing were job #3. She applied for at least 25 scholarships and was uncomfortable putting her real story out there, but it paid off in a big way!
I want to thank you all for your support and advice, all of which will be utilized in one way or another. To answer a few of your questions, my wife is exactly 3 courses from starting the nursing program. She had to put school on hold when we almost lost our son to menigitis last year. When it rains it pours! Since then, her course and work schedule conflict, and there is no room for change in either. I am able to attend school without conflict. After graduating, She will resume her studies.
The program I will be attending is a solid year, no breaks, no option to prolong, unless you don’t pass a class. The end result with be a diploma and certification as a diesel mechanic, recognized everywhere. Trucking is in great demand in our area, especially mechanics. With a list of contacts and my previous experience, I know I have oppotunities awaiting me.
I have seen firsthand, adults layed off, or changing careers because of a lack of certification and or a diploma of study. They have experience, but not paper in hand. Years ago you could attend a few classes and become an engineer, but with the economy now, are lay offs. Why? The company can hire a student fresh out of school with a degree for 1/3 of what you are paid. Great for the payroll, not for you. This doesn’t happen everywhere, and yes there are graduates that can’t find a job.
Yes! Education is everything today. The up side to my choice… I will have the ability through my school to further myself upon graduation. Thank you Shelley for your concern. I have seen how the industry has changed over the past 15 years, and if needed, I will make my own changes when the time comes. I want to inspire my kids to follow their dreams, and that all things are possible. I want to be a role model for them and the other young adults in my life. My experiences in life are a base on which to build my future. There may be unseen turns in the road ahead, but I will follow it where ever it may lead. My motto in life is all things happen for a reason, although we might not realize why ,later when you look back it’s perfectly clear.
Again, thank you all for your support and advice. I wish you happiness, health and luck in your future.
Peace and Blessing Tony,
There are no excuses in order to WIN. The first step is to see the vision and WIN IN YOUR DREAM THAT DREAM. Then the second step is to DO IT make the possible from the impossible. I had to do it with four children one in which had battled cancer for all four years of her life. When I went back to school. I had no partner to help me, no husband , no parents or family near. I had only the motivation of seeing my girls see me accomplish my dream! I had to be the BLUE PRINT for them. I have to, you have to give your children the “show how” not the “preach how”. Nothing worth having comes without struggle and hard work. YOU CAN AND WILL MAKE TO THE OTHER SIDE JUST KEEP WINING!!!!!!!!!!
Don’t give up, Semper Fidelis and god bless.
Tony, if you ever doubted it before, you have to know now that you’re doing the right thing!
I had a pretty difficult time getting scholarships and grants because I had a job and I’m a non-traditional. My work schedule also made it impossible for me to complete my degree. So. I took the plunge, quit the job and took loans to cover me til I finished. I don’t like being in debt, but I liked being stuck in a flat career path far less. With three young children you wiill hopefully be able to get some grants as well, with loans to cover the difference in your living expenses. Look at possibilities at your local community college before signing up with one of the commercial schools – tuition is usually far less and the teaching is first rate, plus they have a vested interest in keeping local merchants happy with viable grads. There usually aren’t accreditation issues down the road, either (in case you decide to do something different later, it’s nice to get some transfer credits). And definitely, buy used whenever possible. Calc book was $200+ new at our bookstore, $60 on Amazon used and comes with the CDs. The only thing better is free.
I use fast web to search for scholarships as well. Talk to the financial department at your school (repeatedly if necessary, and it probably will be). Sometimes, local merchants associations sponsor students – sometimes national ones do too.
Check out FastWeb if you haven’t already. That’s where I found these guys.
I think what you’re doing is commendable! Just research before committing to any loans, or even a school for that matter. Do a little legwork and talk to some alumni to see where they are in their careers, if possible!
And if you just shape what you wrote on here a little more, you’re well on your way to what seems like a scholarship winning essay! Best of luck to you and your family. Your story touched my heart!
Thank you Josh, for creating this space where your daily advice is sound and this environment exists where different perspectives are shared. It brings tears to my eyes to read all the stories above, with the other parents with goals and the difficulties we face in regards to how we proceed hereon. It is inspiring.
I, myself have scrounged for jobs, left and right, trying to do anything that might provide an income. I owe, I owe, I owe, and the student loans I took are insane, and the diplomas I earned have no transferrable credit. It’s been 10 years since I held a real job. I am a Gemologist/Jeweler/Designer but since 9/11 the industry is very tight on hiring people with bad credit. I stopped working before then to have a child and in the years since, my loans went into default. I’ve been a single parent for the majority of the time and trying to break through the damage of domestic violence- whilst protecting my son from having to experience any of the bull has taken its toll. Stress will kill you and it almost did me. Now 35 and still on welfare I am trying to apply my ability with any type of scholarship or artist opportunities available. The reality is you can’t go far without the degrees. I feel cheesy with my resume as it seems so pretentious and bourgeois with it listing my skills and accomplishments from my ‘over-achiever’ years, 2 decades past. Large gaps call for the ‘skills resume’ and generally I am disqualified at first glance- however anything less will be not enough….
So…. how does it work if I want to return to school to acquire credits, working towards a degree? I’m not sure- but I’m following the advice of the many before me- which is: Don’t give up! Don’t give up! Keep focus on your goals and keep your chin up!
I believe that you could have continued your education back in high school. You certainly seem motivated enough to have put forth the effort and succeeded. Instead you chose to take of your family. I have to say that your decision is one that should be applauded! I think you should take the loans. Your wife is about to become a nurse and that means more income. Plus, you are a heck of alot closer to being in a position to pay them back than I am at this point! We certainly need more men in the world like you! I wish you all the best!
I think Josh’s advice is spot-on! I am a 28-year-old single mother in an equally stressful financial situation as you. I just went bakc to school a year ago and got some great advice. Someone once told me to think back to all the work, struggle, and sacrifice I made for my child through the past 6 years. She said to muster up that same kind of gusto for school and GO! Not to let anything stand in my way, money included.
One thing I’d like to add though, is financial advice I heard from Suze Orman, a financial genius who knows how to handle money when you have very little of it. She recemmends not taking more of a loan for school than you can expect to make in your first year of working. Not that you will use every cent of income to pay back your loan in one year, it’s just a good rule of thumb. Also, don’t forget to research what you can deduct from your taxes in your area. In my state I can deduct school supplies (ink, pencils, computer, etc) up to a certain dollar amount. Find out if your school has an adult services department too. They can hook you up with more circumstance-appropriate resources.
I feel you are doing the right thing going back to school. With your children learning new things and also getting a career now. When the Job Market starts pick back up you will make good money. P.S. Stay Smart and Stay Bless through your Struggles toward your goal.:)