My name is Cordelia and my life is a lot like the first chapter of a chick lit novel.
I’m a 28-year-old “nontraditional student” at the University of Iowa. Today I’m in the journalism school. Last year I was a genre fiction major at another school. Tomorrow–who knows, I might have enough credits for anthropology and English minors?
I work all the time.
I’m an Etsy shop owner, freelance writer, and aspiring Amazon erotica bestseller. When I grow up, I want to write romance novels. Or edit Martha Stewart Living. Or maybe become CJ Cregg.
I’m an orphan.
My parents and I have not been on speaking terms for a decade. I’ve been managing adulthood on my own and I think I’m doing a pretty okay job. I have a great support network, I know how to file my taxes, I can feed myself and my cats. Things could be a lot worse.
I’m 28 years old and I’m still trying to figure out how to be a grown-up.
I’m broke, single, and my main source of income is super unreliable.
Won’t you join me on my journey to adulthood?
Being an orphan in college comes with certain challenges. Without a support network of family, it can be hard to find the resources to manage even the simplest of tasks like applying for financial aid or signing a lease.
I gave up the first time I tried going to college and focused on Other Adult Responsibilities—and even now that I’ve gone back to school, I have my moments of self-doubt and hopelessness.
When I started planning to go back to school at 24, I had to figure out everything myself; I didn’t have any parents, teachers, or guidance counselors to point me in the right direction. I made a lot of mistakes and hit a lot of dead ends, but I kept looking and kept trying.
After I found out I had to pay a lot of my private school tuition out of pocket because the university’s financial aid office didn’t provide me with options beyond private loans, I went out on a limb and Googled “how do orphans pay for college?”
There weren’t any helpful answers online.
The Orphan Survival Guide
My friends found my #orphanproblems tweets amusing, so I started writing The Orphan Survival Guide to document my experiences and struggles with managing life and college all by myself.
You don’t have to be an orphan to identify with a lot of these struggles or even to use the tips I’ve found; you also could be an orphan who doesn’t find the posts helpful. Everyone’s experience is different, so I welcome submissions, suggestions, and collaborations.
My goal with this blog is to start building a collection of resources and stories to help keep other orphans, students, lonely grownups, and everyone in between, so people stop getting stuck in the same places I did.