DEAR ABBY: My daughter attends an expensive university. She will max out student loans, and slowly but surely we will use up all our savings to pay it off.
Your college hires resident assistants (RAs) to help freshmen adjust to college life. In return, RAs receive free room and board. This would be a great financial help to our family and could also allow us to pay off some of his unsubsidized loans next year.
My daughter agreed to apply to be an RA in her third year, but has been discouraged ever since. She says that all of her friends are moving off campus and she will be “stuck” in a freshman dorm. She sympathized with her concerns as the social aspect of college life is important. On the other hand, my husband and I are making tremendous sacrifices so that she can go to the school of her dreams.
She is generally outgoing, likes to socialize, and her temperament is well suited to an RA role. So, to be completely honest, I am angry that she is seeing this opportunity as a burden rather than an opportunity to significantly improve her and our family’s financial situation by taking a job that could be rewarding.
Am I wrong to ask my daughter to apply for this position? If we were a rich family, I would never ask, but we are not. I fear that she will face greater sacrifices in the future if she enters the working world with substantial debt. — NOT MADE OF MONEY IN NEW YORK
DEAR NOT MADE OF MONEY: Although her daughter is enrolled in an expensive university, she seems to lack financial acumen. If she were more mature, she would recognize that this job would benefit her entire family. Since she’s not, it’s up to you and her father to instill that fact in her.
Of course, socializing in college is important, but taking the RA position won’t rule you out entirely. Being an RA would give her valuable leadership experience, which could help her in the future. Many graduates fondly remember the resident assistants they had in college and the guidance they provided them.
DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law constantly calls my husband and always reminds him not to forget her. If we don’t answer the phone, she will leave a message asking, “Where is my son?” She will then add: “Don’t forget about your mother.”
I’m tired of it, and my husband won’t stop it. He says that she is her mother and that he needs to respect her. I feel like, even after all these years, she hasn’t cut the cord and he’s still attached. Any advice? — ANNOYING IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR ANNOYING: Your mother-in-law seems insecure and wants more attention from her son. This has nothing to do with you, so my advice is to ignore any message that isn’t meant for you and try to be less judgmental. If she and her husband resent being told not to forget her mother, he’ll take care of it. Trust me on that.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.