My scholarship is a noose

Jayde Teutsch, Staff Writer

Most students attending Wayne State College will have the same answer when asked why they chose this school: they received a scholarship. While free money is an amazing thing at first glance, it can also lead to a lot of pressure.  

According to the school’s website, WSC offers more than 200 types of scholarships. They awarded $3.3 million in scholarships during 2020 and the average scholarship award is around $2,581. Almost every student needs aid when it comes to paying for college, so it is inspiring to see WSC doing what it can to help. Few people talk about the stress that comes with receiving a scholarship though.  

Throughout high school, my guidance counselor would always emphasize the importance of applying for scholarships. I ended up receiving one from WSC that covers tuition for up to four years, so I decided to come here instead of another school. Without this award, I don’t think I would be able to afford college and there are no words to describe how thankful I am for the money I receive. However, nobody ever prepared me for the hardships that silently come along with scholarships.  

In order to renew my scholarship each year, I have to maintain a 3.25 GPA. I am thankfully able to achieve high enough grades to maintain that 3.25, but I rarely aim high in my classes for my own sake.  

There are few grades I am pleased with because it could always be better. I could have studied longer for a 95% or done extra credit for a 101%. I am only able to accomplish the things I do because someone decided to gift me money, so I don’t take pride in what feels like their accomplishments. Anytime someone compliments my efforts, I shrug it off and say I do it because of my scholarship. 

I came to college with enough credits that I was a semester ahead. Once I had picked a major, my advisor suggested taking up a second one so my tuition wouldn’t go to waste. I decided to choose a second major and a minor to ‘make the most’ out of the money I felt I wasn’t deserving of simply because WSC wasn’t my first pick. My family is counting on me since I am the first to go to college, so go above and beyond to prove myself to them and the ones who awarded me the money.  

An article written by Hot Courses Abroad describes this as ‘imposter syndrome.’  

“This makes students feel that their success or achievements are not deserved because they don’t believe they have the necessary abilities or talent,” the website says. “Students feel like a fraud and that one day someone will discover the ‘truth’, that they are not good enough.” 

This guilt I carry goes beyond grades though. I never allow myself to miss class no matter how burnt out I am. There were only a few days I missed this semester when I was sick, and I gave myself one day after I ended my year-long relationship. Most of my assignments are turned in several days before their due date and I think I would rather get hit by a car than ask for an extension. I put an insane amount of pressure on myself because I think I should be able to tackle it all. I did receive a scholarship after all.  

I may be the only one who sees their scholarship as both a blessing and a burden, and some people may see my problems simply as good habits from a good student. For my sake though, I hope to someday let myself take pride in my accomplishments because they are mine. I hope to feel I am worth more than a couple thousand dollars and the few graduation chords around my neck that seem to be weighing me down more than they are lifting me up.