Screaming would help

by Sarah Luna

The past week I’ve felt like this.

First things first. I love my department, and I love the people I’m with. And those are the greatest blessings. My frustrations sadly enough merely have to do with money.

So let’s begin:

  • late February: I get accepted to Cornell with a 29K/year stipend; roughly $1200 biweekly or $1080 with tax taken out. Good deal.
  • late June: I sign up for direct deposit. (if only this had worked…)
  • August 20th: first day at Cornell. I was told my first payment would be deposited August 31st
  • night of August 30th: Pop calls telling me that a check (???) had been sent to California (AGHHHH!)
  • August 31st: Pop is out of town and cannot deposit check (I in no way blame him for anything. He is wonderful.)
  • September 1st: Pop deposits check in my CA savings account at 9:31am PST (basically as soon as he can)
  • five minutes later (12:36 EST): I walk into BoA to open a local account
  • oh no…apparently they already have an account with my SSN (WHAT???)
  • I walk home and back with a copy of my SS card to prove who I am.
  • Open BoA account
  • BUT WAIT!
  • CA bank will only allow withdrawals of $500 a day.
  • 2:34pm: I withdraw $500 and use it to open account

recall: rent is due; rent > $500

  • I email the landlady who is really sympathetic to my situation.
  • Sept 2nd: classes occupy me from 2pm-6:30pm (too late to make the second $500 withdrawal 24 hours after the first)
  • Sept 3rd (today): walk to BoA at 9am and withdraw $500.
  • phew, now my account has $950 ($50 to a new savings) I can pay my rent and get some groceries.
  • BUT NO
  • balance shows $750
  • Time Warner Cable (internet provider) charged me $199 instead of $100

That was the last straw. I could feel the rage coursing within me.

Since this wasn’t the nice bank teller’s fault, I keep it together and walk home. I call TWC. I rationally explain that I was overcharged by $100. The lady is quiet…”hmm…I don’t know why you were charged that?” At this point I want to CRY OUT (but don’t):

YOU STUPID PEOPLE!! BECAUSE OF YOU I CAN’T PAY MY RENT ON TIME. BECAUSE OF YOU I CAN’T BE A RESPONSIBLE TENANT. BECAUSE OF YOU I’M STRESSED OUT OF MY MIND. FIX THIS NOW!

But they can’t fix it.

The best they can do is credit it to future payments. Which is of no help to me now. I had to email my landlady again apologizing profusely.

**Oh, and then I went to classes…

Tomorrow I will make the third withdrawal from my CA bank. By Tuesday, I will be able to pay my rent. Hopefully. Who knows?

Please note: I do not need money. I’m used to being a poor student. I really am. It’s exhausting now because I’m in a new place on my own. And more importantly, I thought I was done with this. I thought I was done wondering when my next paycheck was coming and if it would be enough.

I have $60 in my wallet. I have a tiny bit left in my TX account. I can survive. I did a food insecurity project at A&M that required me to eat only using the amount allotted for food stamps. That came out to less than $17 per week (at the time of the project). Been there, done that. Lots of women have to feed themselves and their children with that. Every time I think about that, I tell myself to stop being such a whiny brat. My life is good.

Here are ways to help people who really need help.

Kiva: loans that change lives
Clean water

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