Growing Up… Low Income Household


How being low income has impacted a Parkview student before and after the virus made it’s way to America. (Photo courtesy of currency news)

Like millions of others worldwide during this pandemic, Aminah Ceesay, a senior at Parkview, has struggled with money. Making enough money to supply a household with their needs is an issue many families face today.


Before the virus, Ceesay and her family experienced rough patches due to their financial situation. She explains she is technically considered middle-class and qualified as a low-income household because of her family. She lives with her two parents who work, three siblings, and her aunt. Her parents are currently the only ones in the house who work, while Ceesay states for herself: “…I am trying to look for a job so I can earn my own money and not always have to rely on my parents.” 


Programs set up by the school have benefited the senior who expresses how the free/reduced lunch program has helped her family not worry about lunch. She qualified to take the SAT for free, and the College Board has provided a  fee waiver for college admissions. Typically, college admissions can cost between $40 to $60 per institution. When applying for several colleges, the price can rack up and be costly. Ceesay has stressed that: “I think a challenge for others in my situation… is just thinking about the costs of some of these colleges.” 


To help with the expensive costs of colleges, she has participated in clubs and sports. With being involved with extracurricular activities, one’s chances of getting scholarships increases. She currently plays lacrosse. For her, she reiterates, “…I did lacrosse last year, and I may do it again this year; it depends on the price.” She says this because of what occurred last year when her parents debated whether they should go through it. “I told them I really wanted to do it, so they just gave in and paid, but I’m not sure if they will do that again this year because money can get kind of tight sometimes.”


Unfortunately, some students experience bullying and harassment for things that they can not control,  including family income. For Ceesay, this is not the case. She mentioned that she has never experienced such cruelty, but she has felt embarrassed because she may not have the same privileges as others, like traveling to foreign countries.


The virus had dramatically affected her family as she states, “Before COVID, we didn’t do much traveling, but we always found something to do and somewhere to go.” This was an adjustment for her home since they had planned to go to Gambia, a country in West Africa that her father is from, this summer. 


While being in the middle of a pandemic, things have been even more challenging. As Ceesay’s family has been staying at home more, she mentions how they now have to pay for groceries often and how bills have gone up. Having seven people in the house becomes a lot to pay to ensure everyone’s needs are met. 


Ceesay exclaims she plans to go to college and become a vet. “I feel like if I were to be a veterinarian, it would be helpful for my family; my parents plan to go to Gambia when they retire and to have a farm, so they want me to help out with the animals there as well.” She also says how this is not related to her situation. Even amongst the hardships she faces, she has always wanted to be a vet since elementary school. 


With that unwavering determination, she encourages others to do the same by saying that, “… [her advice] for those who are struggling in the same situation right now during this time is that you can’t dwell too much on the negative. Yes, it’s hard, especially during a pandemic, but things will turn out fine in the end. I think this virus has affected me and maybe a lot of other people mentally, but if someone else is going through this, know that you are not alone, and eventually, it’ll be okay.”