“I don’t want to be homeless!

Anonymous: My family is so toxic!  I am 20 years old and I currently live with my dad. Before living with him, I lived with my mom, but that was a nightmare. My parents are emotionally and mentally abusive and it is really taking its toll on my mental health.

I would love to move out, but I have nowhere to go and I do not want to be homeless. I cannot get a job because my dad will not let me, he says that if I do, he will kick me out. I don’t know what to do! I don’t want to be homeless, but my mental health is really taking a dive.

Okay, I am assuming you are in college, is that correct? Hopefully, you are, that way the advice I am about to give you will be pertinent. If you are in college, which I think you are, apply to ALL the scholarships that you can. Apply over the summer, apply in the fall for tuition and fees for the spring, apply in the spring for tuition and fees for the fall. Try to apply for 40 to 50 scholarships per school semester.

I know it may sound like a lot, but you can handle it. Just recently I applied to 10 scholarships for the month of June, and I plan on applying for at least 15 more by the beginning of August. You can do it; you just have to try. And just say you apply to 40 scholarships and win 10, you would have enough for on-campus housing and tuition and fees for part-time credit hours. But also, reach out to your Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships and see what scholarships are available to you based on merit and your department.

If you are based in the US, there are great websites that can help you find scholarships. I have linked two websites, that I personally use, down below and these should get you started when it comes to finding scholarships. I have also chosen a link that will help get you motivated. It is a link about a guy winning over $100,000 in college scholarships. He has really great techniques that can help you get the money you need for school.

Now, it may be a little too late to acquire scholarship money for the fall semester, but it is the perfect time to apply for scholarships that will help you in the spring semester. And again, apply to as many scholarships as you can. Apply for the small $500 scholarships and the big $10,000 scholarships. Remember, money is money and every little bit makes a difference.

And helpful tip, a lot of these scholarships have the same writing prompt. So, don’t be afraid to use an essay more than once. And believe in yourself, you got this, and you are more than capable of winning as many scholarships as you desire. 

So, the next thing to do is wait and bide your time. In the interim, focus on creating an amazing resume and cover letter. I know you may not have any job experience, but you could reach out to your University’s Career Center and have them help you with a kick-ass resume and cover letter.

I know it may suck, biding your time, but you stuck it out for 20 years with your toxic parents, so I believe you can stick it out 3 to 4 more months until everything falls into place. And once the scholarship offers come in, you can begin to look for jobs on campus or within walking distance of campus.

My advice, attend school part-time in the beginning, that way there is not a lot of pressure on yourself to win as much scholarship money. But, attending part-time will also allow you to work full-time. You could have 2 or 3 part-time jobs. You could work at the campus bookstore, the dining hall, the campus library or even restaurants and shops within walking distance of the college. And it is important that you work full-time, because of the next step. 

You could apply for financial aid as an independent, even though you are below the age of 24. I have done it, so I know you can. It requires you contacting your Financial Aid Office, having an income that allows you to provide for yourself, and proof of why you are independent.

My proof was a detailed letter by my on-campus therapist who I spoke with about the abuse I experienced from my parents, and how I was trying to make it on my own financially. And that was enough for me to become an independent and I was able to file for financial aid that way.

So, for the next school year, you could have your tuition, fees, and housing paid for by financial aid. But again, still continue to apply for scholarships, you can never have too much money and you could be eligible for refunds, which means you could pocket some money and create a nice little nest egg for yourself.  

And continue to try. I know this may seem like a lot of work and effort, but it is worth it to be away from the very toxic and negative environment that you currently live in. And you should give counseling a try, group, individual or both, it could get you in touch with others who are experiencing what you are experiencing, and it would help you feel less alone on your journey.

And since I have not said it, I am so sorry that you were not given loving parents who treat you the way you deserve to be treated. I am truly sorry that you will have to sacrifice your college years and grow up faster than you should have to, I really am. But, through this whole process, just stay positive and believe in yourself and I know that you will succeed. And just reach back out if you need any more help, advice, or just someone to listen. Good luck!