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Teen Upset After He Can’t Go To College Of His Choice Because Dad Gambled Away Family Savings


As much as we would like everything to always work out, we know sometimes things will not work out the way we want them to.

When that includes our future, it can be easy to lash out at the people that we love, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor bluebanisterz turned to his mother to blame her for her involvement in his father’s gambling addiction after he gambled away the family’s savings, including any money for college.

But when he started thinking about who had done the gambling, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he was too harsh on his mother.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for being mad at my mom for not letting me attend a university of my choice?”

The OP’s mother recently gave him some terrible news.

“I (18 Male) just graduated from high school and am browsing around some local universities.”

“There’s a specific one I’ve always wanted to go to (let’s call this uni A), but it’s a little on the pricier side since it’s a very popular uni, so I’ve also been looking at other places, taking the tuition fees into consideration and expanding my options.”

“So one day at dinner, my mom told me that I don’t have a choice but to go to this other uni (uni B) because it’s all we can afford.”

The OP’s dad had previously gambled their money away.

“A little backstory here, about 3 years ago, my dad had a gambling addiction, and one night he gambled all of his and my mom’s savings away.”

“As of now, we are living paycheck to paycheck, and things have been a little difficult, but we are still getting by.”

“Before all of this, we lived a very comfortable upper-middle-class life, I had everything I wanted, and life was amazing. As you can probably imagine, going from all that to almost nothing, has been a very drastic change for me. I am still adjusting to living less comfortably.”

The OP had a tough conversation with his mother. 

“My mom said uni B was all we can afford because uni A is about 3 to 4x more expensive.”

“I was a little upset but understood given our circumstances, it’s a fancy uni and I don’t need that.”

“So I compromised and suggested uni C, the fees are already one of the cheapest but slightly more expensive than uni B (just under $2k, AT MOST) but still nowhere near uni A. It also has great facilities, and my cousin whom I’m extremely close to goes there.”

“She told me we can’t afford it either.”

“That was when I started to get really visibly upset because uni B is NOT a great uni, to the extent that it even has a bad reputation, hence why I really don’t want to go there.”

“I was also very upset because I had no idea we were in such a state where we can’t even afford a $2k difference, and it’s for my EDUCATION.”

The OP started to have mixed feelings after the talk.

“Another thing, my brother had the chance to go to uni A (albeit this was when we were still living comfortably), so I was very upset that I never got the same opportunity.”

“But I don’t complain because I am not one to lash out at my mother, so I didn’t say anything, but I showed my anger by storming out of the room.”

“My mom saw this and she doesn’t say anything either.”

“And this is when I also start getting upset at my dad too for his past mistake, which he caused us to live in this state.”


The OP also added there were a few unworkable obstacles to his situation.

“Also, loans are not an option due to my dad’s history. He has to be a co-signer for collateral purposes.”

“I’d work to pay the difference, but I’m due to enter uni in a month or 2. Where I’m from, tuition is required to be paid upfront.”

“Mom had a fair play in dad’s addiction as well, hence why I’m also mad at mom.”

Fellow Redditors weighed in, declaring:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some said the OP would have to figure out another way.

“YTA, unfortunately. Yeah, your brother got to go to University A, and you won’t get to go because your father has a gambling habit and wiped out the father’s savings. It sucks and it is unfair.”

“Life is unfair. But it is also unreasonable for you to instruct your parents they are required to beggar themselves so you can go to University A.”

“I’d like to suggest a different approach. Ask your parents how much money they are able and willing to commit for annual tuition.”

“Once you have that number in hand, look for alternate sources of funding. Student loans. Scholarships. Work-study. Grants.”

“Check with the university’s financial aid department and see what’s available.”

“Choosing a university is your first adult decision. But paying for it is also your first adult responsibility.” – ForgottenTrail

“Since uni starts in a month or two and needs to be paid up front, defer a semester to work or take a gap year.”

“If you want this specific uni, those are your only options as your parents aren’t in a position to do more than they’ve offered.”

“Also, stop being mad at your mom. Shooting the messenger is never helpful.” – Adept_Award_3046

“OP could go to Uni B this year and then transfer in a year to Uni C once you save up money to cover the difference in tuition.” – These_Are_My_Words

“The fact that they waited to tell him this close to the start of university is what makes me lean towards ESH. They knew this beforehand and let him get his hopes up.”

“If they had told him towards the beginning to middle of his senior year, he could have tried to work and raise the extra 2k during the school year and summer while getting a part-time job during uni to raise the money for the next and so on.” – melodytanner26

“Final option, see if you can start at the cheaper university and transfer to the better one to get the degree (make sure the degree will pay off any loans you might have to take, no underwater basket weaving).”

“Cool story: I went to a semi-fancy private college thanks to a lot of scholarships. My coworker went to a large state university.”

“Coworker likes to point out that we have the same job. Coworker is not wrong.”

“Unless you are going into law to eventually be a supreme court justice, the actual university you go to matters less than the degree, the internships, and how well you understand the material.” – PokeyWeirdo12

Others agreed and said the OP needed to take responsibility for his education now.

“Even if OP’s parents weren’t financially struggling (regardless of reason), they don’t owe him a paid-for college education.”

“He’s legally an adult and ultimately it’s on him to find funding for college.”

“If an 18-year-old is lucky enough to have a family that can afford (and are willing) to pay for college for them, that’s great, but the 18-year-old has no grounds to demand that parents pay for that.” – TexasRedJames1974

“He’s been seeing how they’ve had to live paycheck to paycheck for the last 3 years and he still can’t figure out that THEY ARE HAVING TO LIVE PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK AND CAN’T AFFORD CERTAIN THINGS.”

“OP is an a**hole for blaming his mom who is having to live paycheck to paycheck just like the rest of them.”

“If they are paying, these are his options. He can certainly work to save up the money for his own tuition or save up to pay the amount that goes over what they are able to pay.”

“It’s not like his parents have the freaking money and just want to go on vacation instead of helping him pay for uni.”

“This is what they can afford. It sucks but it is what it is. I don’t think his mom wanted to be living like this either.” – Automatic_Western_50

“He’d be better off being mad at his dad, but I’m not sure it’s fair to say he’s entitled to being a bit miffed his parents have actively put him in a shitty situation. Anyone would be.”

“The real villain here is education that’s designed to freeze out poor students, like much of university education in the west is. Especially when there are no options for state loans like there is where I live.”

“But that doesn’t mean that the unfair and unequal situation his dad has put him in isn’t a good example of fairly poor parenting.” – Civil_Illustrator230

“Not everyone’s parents can afford tuition; university is hella expensive.”

“If you can’t afford it, look into options for financial aid.”

“Check with the uni in question; maybe they can help you with something. Exhaust all avenues.”

“As a last resort, you can take a gap year, work, and then go the following year. I had to do that.”

“My parents are immigrants and every cent went towards food/roof over our head so I had to take a year off, work for my tuition, get a loan via financial aid and then go the following year.”

“You want it bad enough, you will find a way.” – rudebish

While the subReddit sympathized with the OP’s situation, they decided it was more important to take action now than to be angry, especially with the person who didn’t have a gambling problem.

And while he might not be able to take out loans, there are other opportunities he could look into that could help him reach the goal he’s aiming for, even if it takes a year to get there.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.