(LEFT: NIKKI MANCUSO, RIGHT: TAMARAH MACASAET)
It’s that time of year again where seniors everywhere are trudging their way through the last days of high school. Yet what’s meant to be an exciting period of transition and excitement does not translate to all student’s and their stories; however some have been able to come to terms with the reality that we truly can’t always get what we want. Students everywhere face the difficulties of financing their education. The lack of money set aside for scholarships aimed at all appropriate candidates are forcing students and their families to think creatively and ultimately make some of the hardest decisions in their lives. Nikki Mancuso and Tamarah Macasaet are prime examples of this. Their stories prove that although we may not always get what we expected there are ways to work with the resources we have and make the best of them.
Originally both girls planned to attend LIM College (Laboratory Institute of Merchandising.) Here’s what they had to say:
What was your immediate reaction to being accepted to LIM and then being accepted to FIT afterwards?
NIKKI: My reaction to being accepted to LIM was a bit calmer than my reaction to FIT. After going on a tour of LIM and speaking to my area’s admissions counselor at a college fair held in my high school’s event arena, I figured getting in would be the easy part; to me, the hard part was ALWAYS finances. However, I was afraid of not getting into FIT. According to College Board, only 38% of applicants get in, and to be one of that lucky 38% made me shake as I opened my packet. It was an incredible feeling.
TAMARAH: LIM was the first college acceptance that I had ever received so I was ecstatic but like Nikki, my reaction was much more calmer versus my reaction to FIT’s acceptance. It’s not because of the school name, not at all. It’s because of the financial issues that my family is struggle with right now.
What originally made LIM stand out more than FIT?
NIKKI: LIM’s size and friendly faculty made it stand out to me. I find smaller schools to be a better fit for my personality because I have very intimate relationships with people, whether it be fellow students or my professors. I ask questions, I listen, I make small talk, and I breathe in my environment, so the size of LIM and its cozy atmosphere was what made the school perfect to me.
TAMARAH: I’ve always wanted to go to business school and fashion school at the same time. When I heard that LIM’s logo was “when business met fashion” it instantly fell in love. The students to faculty ratio also appealed to me. I never was the type to want to go to this huge college. Having older friends, I have always heard them complain that their professors don’t even know their name. The class sizes always appealed to me. Coming to this huge city is such a huge transition to me, I want to know the people in class, get to know them. Not just go to class and not talk to the other students on the other side of the class room.
Were there any outstanding financial circumstances that hindered you’re ability to attend LIM?
NIKKI: I have grown up with a single mother. At one point in my childhood, she worked multiple jobs to raise me, and she did it all on her own. We make enough money to hold our house up, eat, buy clothes and pay the bills, but definitely not enough money to send me to college unaided.
TAMARAH: Just last March my parents divorced. Life has always been easy for me, I mean… money was never an issue until the divorce. My mom moved to Chicago with her boyfriend and rarely sends me and my two younger brothers child support. It’s hard, and I feel bad for my dad all the time. He’s a nurse but when it comes down to it, he pays for the house, the mortgage, miscellaneous stuff on his own. It’s sad and I hate seeing my dad work his ass off for us. My younger brother (9) recently went to me and said that he hates seeing our dad work so much. I would go to LIM, but going to LIM means that my dad has to work his ass off to support my college and my younger brothers lives by trying to keep it as normal as he can. So please everyone, I can’t go to LIM because I don’t think it’s not as “well-known” as FIT. No, I can’t go because I cannot live with myself knowing that my dad will be working his ass even harder to put me to this school. FIT is my only way to get into the fashion industry without going broke. It’s my only option.
Now that you’re going to be attending FIT what are you looking forward to the most?
NIKKI: I’m looking forward to a broader range of people to meet. LIM is all about business, but FIT has design categories, so I feel that FIT will have more creative/artsy people than LIM will.
TAMARAH: The different types of people. F.I.T has so many majors to offer, not everyone is doing the same thing so I find it interesting to have a friend in visual marketing or designing.
Would you ever consider transferring to LIM as a junior?
NIKKI: Right now, I definitely would, but it depends on how much I end up warming up to FIT.
TAMARAH: I would consider transferring to LIM as a junior. It’s always been my dream to go there. If financial issues work out then it’s a no brainer.
How do you feel about the issue of college tuition prices and how it affects other students? Do you feel that the college system is providing enough aid to those who deserve it? Do you believe there is anything we as students can do to change this?
NIKKI: I really believe college prices and tuitions are ridiculous. Money makes the world go round, I understand that, but these private and elite schools refuse to give students the money they NEED for an education. I often feel inferior because I had the intelligence to get into LIM, but I can’t go because of something as stupid as money. It is not my fault that my family isn’t rolling in money.
TAMARAH: College tuition right now is ridiculous. I don’t understand how colleges expect for us to pay for not only tuition but for dorming and other miscellaneous stuff. No, the college system isn’t providing enough aid. How are you going to not give enough money to a person that could be your brightest student. It’s like slapping them in the face saying “Yes, you’re smart enough for our school.. but you don’t have enough money, SUCKS FOR YOU.”
As the country’s economy continues to evolve and (hopefully) revive itself from the recession we can only hope that there are more students like Nikki and Tamarah who will make the best out of their situation and contribute to making a brighter future for students. Best of luck ladies!
Interview/Post by: RACHEL