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College Student Embarrasses Dad By Telling Family He Hasn’t Actually Been Helping Pay Tuition

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We all hope that our loved ones will be unconditionally supportive of our dreams.

But sometimes, it just doesn’t work out that way.

In fact, conditions seem to be at the core of many people’s “support,” according to the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor yeasothat decided to be honest about their father’s supportive nature of their education.

But when their father pushed back, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they should have said anything at all.

They asked the sub: 

“AITA for ‘announcing’ that my dad’s not paying my college tuition?”

The OP had a strained relationship with their dad.

“My aunt and uncle are paying for my cousin’s college.”

“My dad had a college fund for me, but he had stipulations, like he wanted nothing below a B for grades and to pre-approve any classes I take, weekly meetings to discuss grades, and a bunch of other stuff.”

“Which would be fine if you have a normal dad. Mine isn’t.”

“My dad has a temper and I spent 6th-12th grade stressed out about grades and being screamed at or grounded over things that sometimes weren’t even my fault, like a teacher not updating online grading and an assignment being marked ‘missing’ because of it.”

“And getting my backpack and locker randomly searched by him for no reason besides ‘to make sure I’m not hiding anything’.”

The OP decided not to accept funding from their dad because of this.

“I decided to pay for school myself because of 1. not being stressed over getting screamed at and 2. I didn’t feel like constantly worrying that he’d disapprove of a class or a grade and decide not to pay. Which I could totally see him doing.”

“I’d rather be in debt than controlled for 4 more years.”

“I just finished my first year.”

“Well, my family got together on the 4th and… well, sometimes they’re nosey.”

“They were talking about my cousin’s school and my uncle looked at my dad and said, ‘Well, how much is – my name- school costing you?'”

“I said, ‘What are you asking him for? I’m the one paying for it?'”

The OP’s dad didn’t appreciate the OP’s honesty. 

“Later on, my dad was p**sed off and said that it was out of line to say that and I embarrassed him.”

“I didn’t do it to embarrass him, I was just being honest. He doesn’t even know how much tuition is so he was the wrong person to ask.”

“AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in: 

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

Some applauded the OP for distancing themself from the negativity. 

“Props to OP for ditching his dad’s toxicity and being his own man. Now his pops has nothing to hold over him and he can tell him to kick dirt when he does something toxic again, such as being mad about telling his uncle he is paying for his own school.”drunkinmidget

“They aren’t even requirements, they are flat-out demands, and I am willing to bet my arm that daddy dearest would move the dang goalposts for OP.”

“I’d be willing to bet a leg too that those demands would get more ridiculous even if OP managed to get the first set done.”

“I sure don’t blame them for taking that debt themselves over being treated like a circus monkey forced to dance.”ThrownToDiscard

“This is exactly why I moved out of my parents before dropping out of college. I had taken loans out but my staying there was conditional based on grades and classes. And the ‘requirements’ kept getting more and more ridiculous.”smolRage

“And be treated like a prisoner, with your controlling, and emotionally terrorizing antics. OP, you should be so proud of yourself that you took that power from him!”

“Having something as substantial as college tuition constantly being dangled in your face while you’re already stressed enough just trying to get through school!”

“YOU didn’t embarrass him, and you’re NTA. He embarrassed himself by being controlling, overbearing, and manipulative! And he’s also 100% TA”turd_ferguson083

Others pointed out that paying tuition could be a source of pride.

“My dad didn’t pay for my school, I did. And he was VERY proud of that and told everyone that cared. Some people care about their kids and some don’t, glad I’ve never had that doubt about my dad.”Past-Inspector-1871

“Dad here. My children never lacked anything. We covered food and clothes and some trips that my kids took to help them see a bigger world than where they lived. We helped with community college but 300+ / per hour is out of our range.”

“I’m beyond proud of my kids for doing what it takes to get the job done. I love bragging on them. (I’m 53 and it took until I was 48 to not live check to check).”Agretan

“I had a mom like OPs dad and it happens ALL. THE. TIME.”

“I was forced into a major I didn’t want because it was the one I hated least that fit her criteria. She made me drop classes because they were ‘distracting me from my major and I should focus on that’ even though I had to get credits outside my major.”

“I was forced to quit everything I actually enjoyed about school because of threats to stop paying, just like OP.”

“OP, I admire you. I wish I had the guts that you do. GOOD FOR YOU!!!”

“NTA”Bash_is_my_copilot

It surely would have been beneficial to the OP to receive assistance with their college tuition, but the subReddit agreed, only under different circumstances. With so many stipulations in place, it’s hard telling how enjoyable of a time the OP would have while in college, or throughout the rest of their life, if they chose a major they did not enjoy.

In this particular case, it was best for the OP to show off their independence and major in something they love. If their dad wanted the OP to tell people a different story, he really should have responded better to their interests.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.