April 2, 2009, 2:33 pm

Apparently, I Don’t Exist

beautyI just could not resist this picture!

Seems the older I get the longer it takes me to make myself presentable to the outside world.

In the old days, a whip of blush, a slicker of Yardley lip polish (I’m dating myself horribly here…) and I was good to go.

Now it takes five layers of Bare Essentials over six layers of concealer, Skin Revver-Upper, moisturizer and a smooth silicone base.

I can’t smile, my face will crack!

I’d like to say, “Take me as I am world, what you see is what you get!”.

I think they’d return me for a refund.


This is a tough topic to tackle.

I have debated whether I should even try.

I’ll be treading a very fine line.

I don’t want to sound whiny.

I don’t want to sound judgmental.

I don’t want to sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself.

I’ll probably wind up doing all three.

I apologize ahead of time.


Apparently, I do not exist.

At least as far as financial aid is concerned.

The government has decided that I do not deserve any help.



Well, let’s see.

This list is based on what I have observed in my quest for scholarships.

I did not make these up.

(I am not making value judgments, so hold your fire.  I understand that “life” happens and we often find ourselves in situations we never expected.)

This is why I, personally,  am not eligible to obtain financial assistance from the government, at the BSN level of education.

  • I am not a person of color, although my cheeks tend to get a bit red.
  • I am a woman (hear me roar).

(You would think that would help, but in a female-dominated profession, I’m just “another one”.)

  • I have no ethnicity.  “American” doesn’t count.

(Although my ancestors came from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy, I am, at the very least, a good three generations away from that making any difference.)

  • I am not a single mother.
  • I am not unemployed.
  • I am an American citizen.

I’m willing to take on education loans, but I’m not even eligible for a Stafford, subsidized or unsubsidized.


So, according to the federal government I am not eligible for any financial aid whatsoever, despite the fact that I am back in school to obtain the education needed to fill the oh-so-vacant job of nursing educator/researcher.

I look to private scholarships and I am not eligible for the majority of the reasons stated above.

I’m not rich.

My cars aren’t fancy, my furniture shows wear and my house is no showplace.

It can be said that I have what I have because I am fortunate and there are those less fortunate than myself.

It can be said that I’ve even been lucky.

Yes, so far in my life I have been fortunate.

I spent my life making the right decisions at the right times,working through obstacles and hauling ass so that my family had what they needed to succeed.

It’s called the American dream and I work every day of my life to keep it.

I guess I’ll just bust my derriere that much harder to improve it.

Pull up the bootstraps, tighten the belt, rethink the spending habits, put the nose to the grindstone.

Because the government has decided that being a Caucasian, employed, married mother of three makes me undeserving of any financial assistance.

I guess I do exist.

I just don’t deserve any help.


Epilogue: Well, I did mange to sound whiny and sorry for myself.  Maybe a little judgmental, too, although that was definitely not the intention.

Despite all that, every single word that I’ve written is based on my experience.

They say that you appreciate things more when they aren’t handed to you on a silver platter.

If that’s the case, this education is solid gold.


  • AmyT

    April 2, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    From one Caucasian, employed, married mother of three who needs lots of time (and products to get presentable) to another — I hear you! It’s tough being “mainstream” in rough economic times. My illness costs us a pretty penny, and sometimes I feel we are slaves to the insurance coverage.

  • medXcentral

    April 2, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Welcome to purgatory. 😉

    …amazing story…and I don’t doubt one word.

  • Nurse K

    April 2, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    If you go to an online school, no, but if you go to college in general, there are private scholarships galore. One time I walked into the health services office and walked out $2200 richer–all private scholarships no one had claimed.

  • Kevin Kruse

    April 2, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    I thought nurses were so in demand that hospitals would actually pay for both nurse education to get nurses, and advanced education to keep the ones they have. This isn’t the case anymore? Or just not in your area?

  • Candy

    April 2, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    This wasn’t whiny and you didn’t sound like you felt sorry for yourself. The system sucks, plain and simple. This was spot on and really, really sad.

  • Susan

    April 2, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Sounds familiar! When I went to college at age 18, my parents (who generously paid!) weren’t eligible for any help because they did things “the right way.” You know, saved money, lived within their means, etc. We never went on lavish vacations or anything. I know people who didn’t do this and they got tons of money for school. I’m very fortunate that my family was lucky enough to support me, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense!

    Same thing happened when I went to nursing school (second degree!). Everyone said there would be nursing scholarships left and right, but since I’m an upper-middle class white female without hardships (but a really stellar academic career!), no money.

    Again, I’m lucky to be where I am and have what I have, but I just don’t get it sometimes.

  • Bardiac

    April 3, 2009 at 8:20 am

    If you take a look around, you’ll see that since the 70s and especially 80s, government funding for education (especially higher education) has gone down. As a society, we’ve decided that education is more of a private good than a public good, and we’re not willing to help pay for it as much. Tuition at public universities has gone up, while funding from states has gone down. (You can look up the salaries of each of your UW Greenbay [?] profs on the state Redbook; you’ll see that they’re not making millions. Take a look at what the Wisconsin state budget is doing to UW Greenbay and weep.)

    For students, this means there are more loans available than grants across the board. (Look at the GI bill these days and compare it to post WWII, for example.) It means tuition, even in-state tuition at public schools is higher. It means fees for education are higher. It means it’s harder to get into classes, and classes are more crowded.

    (Financial aid grants really should be targeted at helping folks who aren’t in the middle class, not at folks who are already there but want to improve their situations, right?)

    Every single one of us who’s voted for lower taxes, lower property taxes, and so forth is responsible. This is the legacy we’ve voted for as a society. (As a professor, I think it bodes poorly for our future, but I’ve done my part with my votes for higher taxes and more government funding of schools.)

  • Wanderer

    April 3, 2009 at 11:46 am

    I feel your pain – except I’ve got one more “strike” – male gender. When I went to nursing school there was nothing, nada,zip, zilch. So we buttoned down, cut back as much as possible and gutted it out. It sucked going to school full-time and working full-time, but the ends justify the means (I guess…)

    My work does offer reimbursement of schooling, but it’s about $1500/year tops, which pays for oh, 3 credits or so. Hence, why I haven’t headed back for my BSN!

  • NPs Save Lives

    April 3, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Sorry to hear about your luck with financial aid. I’m surprised that you don’t qualify for the Stafford loans. Put some ads up and you will at least make a little bit toward school, if others will support them! I know that I would!


    April 4, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    I can’t believe that the teaching schools don’t offer some sort of aid given that they are so desperate for educators. It seems to me that would be a simple solution. Helping fund an education in exchange for a few years of educating. They do it for nurses why not do it for the teachers…so simple

  • Healthcare Today

    April 6, 2009 at 5:16 am

    Apparently, I Don’t Exist…

    The government has decided that being a Caucasian, employed, married mother of three makes me undeserving of any financial assistance….

  • JButler

    April 7, 2009 at 7:43 am

    I completely understand. It is sad when we get penalized for being “too normal” and for working hard. It seems if we do nothing and dont try, we get all the help we need handed to us, but those of us who work our butts off cannot get any assistance in times when we need it. Good luck to you.

  • Megan

    April 16, 2009 at 8:43 am

    No, what you’ve said is true. People talk about equaility while at the same time they descriminate. People are people regardless of the color of their skin and it’s wrong to treat them so differently. This is why I don’t put my race on offical forms…

    And penalizing people for doing the right things for themselves is just wrong…no wonder there’s such an attitude of entitlement in our society today. I hope you can get some financial aid soon, don’t give up!

  • Kim K

    July 28, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Thank you for saying exactly what I have been experiencing and feeling. I’ve worked since I was 15, supported myself since I was 18 and because my skin is white, I used birth control, worked two jobs, and made good decisions I HAVE NOTHING COMING. I’m not looking for a free ride, but it’s complete BS that living your life in a responsible manner puts you on the bottom of the list, if at all.

About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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