“I’m not hungry” THERESA’S STORY (PART 1)

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“Theresa” would prefer to remain anonymous, so here’s a stock photo of a sad woman from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

“Theresa” has always worked hard. She’s a full-time student at the University of Pittsburgh, she works part-time at a retail store, and she holds a second job on the weekends. Surely, Theresa is a model citizen and student, but she claims to have one fault:  “I don’t like to ask for anything,” she says this as we’re sitting in her third-floor apartment just outside of town.

“I’d like to live closer to school, but the cost is just too much,” she says.

Theresa had a rough time her first few years of college. Although Pitt is a public university, the costs were still overwhelming. As a non-traditional student, Theresa had little-to-no parental support and little hope of finding scholarships that would fit her situation.

“Oh, it was awful,” she says remembering the adjustment to a four-year university, “I clearly had no idea what I was getting myself into.”

The “what” in this situation is the cost of attendance. Collegedata.com states that the average monetary sum of a year at Pitt is upwards of $33 grand; that includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, and a category simply marked, “other expenses” (which totals $3,222).

“I was scared shit-less when I first got to school,” Theresa says cynically, “I refused to buy anything out of fear that I would need it to buy a book or a fucking pencil for Christ’s sake.”

She stops suddenly and looks up to the ceiling, imitating herself, “I remember laying in bed repeating the words, ‘I’m not hungry, I’m not hungry, I’m not hungry’ just to convince myself that I wasn’t [hungry].”

[End Part 1]

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“5 percent of men, compared to 3.4 percent of women reported that they’d undertaken sex work at university” – VICE

Untitled.pngNiamh McIntyre, a contributing writer for VICE released an article describing the statistics of a report titled, “The Student Sex Work Project” (WARNING:  NSFW, must be 18+ to read the VICE article).

The Student Sex Work Project (TSSWP) is a three-year project led by Terrence Higgins (Swansea University), the University of South Wales, the National Union of Students Cymru and Cardiff, and Vale University Health Board.

The goal of TSSWP was to gather knowledge and understanding of student sex workers  across the UK and Wales. An unintentional outcome of the project was providing information and support to students involved in the project.

McIntyre’s VICE article took it a bit further with detailed interviews of three separate sex workers paying their way through college, two females and one male student.

On the subject of internships, “Abigail” says, “I don’t have a family who could support me, so I’m not privileged enough to work for free.”

Two of the three students mention their family’s inability to support them financially as an underlying reason for going into the profession.

Although their stories seem bleak, none of the students interviewed seem entirely ashamed of what they do. It appears that their decisions to go into the controversial field was one of necessity. One girl goes so far as to describe her decision to go into sex work as, “ruthlessly pragmatic.”

“Claire” says, “Sex work among students is much more common than people think, and is likely to increase as long as fees, rent, and the cost of living is so high.”

“As the cost of university has risen, so has the number of ‘sugar babies'” – THE ECONOMIST

The Economist released an article focusing on the two issues that this blog is all about:  mounting student debt and mounting creepy old dudes.

The article describes recent data that reveals an increase in sugar babies parallel to the increase of college expenses.

“What’s a sugar baby?” You might ask. A sugar baby is a young female (typically 18-22) that exchanges her time and sometimes even sexual favors for gifts, favors, and/or monetary compensation.

SeekingArrangement.com, one of the top sugar baby providers has had an influx of babies after the recession of 2008. “The site hosts some 900,000 profiles of sugar babies enrolled in American universities, up from 458,000 two years ago,” the Economist explains.

Every day, around 2,000 new profiles are posted on the site using a university email address.

INTRODUCTION

This blog was created with the hope of bringing attention to the very real struggles involved in an individual’s survival in a first world country, particularly those of college students. There is mounting awareness around the issue of student debt, hardships, and other distractions while seeking higher education; hopefully the accounts listed here will push that awareness over the edge.

The persons featured in this site come from diverse backgrounds, upbringings, and realities. Oftentimes, the individual’s identity will be changed in order to preserve their anonymity.

Although this blog focuses on stories that just happened to occur in America, that is not to say that these same instances do not happen in other countries as well. I’m not indicating that any one American has it harder than any one Syrian, North Korean, or Ethiopian.

I regret to inform you that a majority of this blog is not be intended to be funny. Stories, images, and videos on this site will touch on issues ranging from homelessness to sexual violence. The content featured (both displayed and described) may be disturbing to some audiences.

Proceed with awareness.