If you, your parents and grandparents all grew up wearing hand-me-down clothes, were constantly moving from place-to-place, only went to the dentist when it was absolutely necessary and know what it’s like to not get any gifts for Christmas then you’ve probably experienced generational poverty.
Generational poverty occurs when a family is caught in a seemingly inescapable cycle of financial and spiritual impoverishment that repeats itself with each new generation.
Some of the results of generational poverty include homelessness, malnutrition, anxiety issues and low self-esteem, all of which can motivate anyone who was raised under these conditions to develop what’s called a “poverty mindset.”
What is a poverty mindset?
People who’ve experienced generational poverty often exhibit some of the following symptoms:
- Instead of seeing yourself as “living” you see yourself as merely “surviving” from one day to the next.
- You blame your parents, teachers, employers and the government for your current financial situation.
- Practically every decision you make is rooted in some sort of financially-based fear.
- You believe that no matter how hard you try to improve your circumstances your life will never be any better than it is right now.
- You’re critical and judgmental toward other people who appear more financially secure than you.
- You’re unable to stop worrying about your finances from the moment you wake up until you go to bed.
- You experience guilt and remorse every time you even consider buying something you need.
- You experience moments of extreme despair that motivate you to make impulsive decisions you later regret.
- You’re dishonest with other people about the severity of your financial situation because you’re afraid of being judged.
- You use drugs and alcohol to numb your feelings and escape the apparent hopelessness of your situation.
- The thought of taking any kind of risk — like applying to a college — fills you with a severe sensation of dread.
- Your fears about your finances prevent you from even considering bettering yourself by going to college because you “just can’t afford it.”
How can I reset a poverty mindset?
Anyone who wants to change their attitude toward being financially challenged should consider the following suggestions:
- Seek Out a Mentor: Find someone who has over come some of the same challenges you’re facing and ask for their support, guidance and direction.
- Avoid Negative People: Instead of hanging around people who reinforce your feelings of self-doubt and despair, try finding people to spend time with who inspire and encourage you to have a more positive outlook on your future.
- Develop an Attitude of Gratitude: Stop focusing on all the material things you don’t have and make a list of everything you have to be grateful -- like a roof over your head and a place to sleep.
- Start Formulating a Plan: Create a list of all the positive changes you would like to see occur in your life. Then start exploring ways that can help you turn those dreams into a reality.
- Put Your Plan into Action: If your goal is to get a better paying job, find out what kind of training and degree you need to make yourself a more qualified job candidate. Also, start seeking out schools that can provide the training you need and apply to them.
- Commit to Bettering Your Life: Make commitment to do at least one thing every day that has the potential to make your situation better.
- Become a Mentor: Embrace every opportunity you get to offer your guidance and support to anyone who has been in your shoes. You’ll be helping someone else break the cycle of generational poverty in their own family.
How can Hocking College help students from generational poverty-based backgrounds?
Set against the natural beauty of Wayne National Forest, Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, is a unique two-year postsecondary school that specializes in offering students a hands-on education with an entrepreneurial mindset.
The college offers more than 50 majors in variety of categories:
- Allied Health and Nursing
- Arts, Business and Science
- Natural Resources
- Public Safety
- Workforce Development
Does Hocking College offer financial aid?
Hocking College’s Financial Aid staff can assist you in identifying the best financial package to cover your educational expenses. The financial package may include financial aid, student self-pay, or a combination of the two.
For more information contact the Financial Aid Office by email at email@example.com or by phone for students whose last names begin with A-L should call 740-753-7056, last names M-Z should call 740-753-7058.