The high cost of college for family trailblazers


Deciding which college to go to can be stressful, and it doesn't help that a plethora of misinformation exists out there. But what if the misinformation comes from your parents -- from your family? Or what if you don't get any information whatsoever?

I like to joke about coming from across the sea, from Hungary, a post-Commie country -- but there is nothing funny about my journey to get to the United States. When I was six, my mother told my then-best friend's father that I would go to Stanford or Princeton, because those were the best colleges and her daughter deserved the best. The father laughed and told her it was very hard to get into those schools -- and that I wouldn't make it. His laughter galvanized my mother's resolve and as an adolescent, I was reared to prove that I would be a good addition to this country. I would not let this country down; I would contribute to its prosperity. I would go to Princeton, or Harvard, or Stanford, and become a scientist and cure cancer; a politician and reform something that needed reforming; or an astronaut and colonize Mars for the United States. I was an immigrant, so therefore I had to do great things ... I had to prove my worth.