I don't feel fine -- I need some moral advice

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  • #1
Utilite
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Hi i am a freshman at physics. I am probably posting this somewhere irrelevant but I need some advice.
See I am a considerably successful student and I applied for some scholarships. Here in my country education isn't paid for, there are private schools but some public schools are better than most private schools. Anyway I applied for scholarships and I have 4 scholarships. Those people didn't really check other scholarships for some reason I have all of them.
So I am being paid a lot. I am being paid 4.3k liras a month which is around 1.5-1.6k dollars but here living is extremely cheap compared to USA. I have a free dorm room, my textbooks are free. I was guaranteed to have 2.9k but those extra scholarships was a surprise.
I am not a spender and also my family sends me money. They are retired but they told me to save my money. Anyway I told my friends about my 4th scholarship which is a large one. 40 people get it and I am accepted. they got really crazy and they are like my best friends. They accused me of being cheap and being greedy but money isn't really one of my interests I only spend money at vacations and stuff. Money is like a tool i might need in the future so I am standing with my parents on this one.
I really feel bad about getting the last scholarship, my friends drove me mad I can't sleep properly last couple of days? . Should I cancel the last scholarship, or should i keep it or do something else? Any suggestions.
I am just an 18 year old who wants to do science and hangout with my buddies but now money is involved and my relationships are being destroyed.
Btw there is a fifth scholarship i am not supposed to get it I just applied because of my parents but now I have a chance of getting it.
Again I don't think if i should post this here but you guys always seem to help about these things and I just need some help.
 

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  • #2
Dr. Courtney
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If it's all legal, do what you want with the money, do not feel guilty, enjoy yourself, and work hard and get a good education.

Ignore the jealous SOBs who want to get you down.
 
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  • #3
Thewindyfan
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Do what you want with your extra money, but tbh what you're doing right now is good. Save it for when it's necessary instead of unnecessarily spending it. I don't see how it's greedy to earn money for your merit.
 
  • #4
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They accused me of being cheap and being greedy but money isn't really one of my interests I only spend money at vacations and stuff. Money is like a tool i might need in the future so I am standing with my parents on this one.
I don't see this as a moral dilemma at all. I take it that you competed for the scholarships, and received them on the basis of your past hard work. There are a lot of people who spend whatever money they have, plus a lot more that they don't have (using credit cards). Being able to go to college without having to amass a large amount of debt is a good thing, despite what some of your "friends" say.
 
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  • #5
Utilite
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i don't really know they want to buy expensive alcohol luxury clothes and stuff like that. One of my best friends told this to me. "you are a bastard and from now on you are going to pay for everything when we meet." isn't this very disrespectful, he is an amazing guy normally. One friend of mine accused me of being cheap simply because i don't have a beverage with my meals. As you can see i am deeply stressed about this thing.
 
  • #6
billy_joule
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i don't really know they want to buy expensive alcohol luxury clothes and stuff like that. One of my best friends told this to me. "you are a bastard and from now on you are going to pay for everything when we meet." isn't this very disrespectful, he is an amazing guy normally. One friend of mine accused me of being cheap simply because i don't have a beverage with my meals. As you can see i am deeply stressed about this thing.
The only problem you have is that you need new friends. Real friends would be happy to see you succeed.
 
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  • #7
ZapperZ
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Actually the only problem that you have is your need to blab about all your scholarships to your friends. Why do you even tell them anything in the first place?

You are learning, albeit painfully, one of the things that an ADULT has to learn, which is when to be discrete and keep private things private.

Zz.
 
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  • #8
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Like some have mentioned, if your friends are anything but happy for you (or outwardly showing anything other than this), then you need new friends. Don't you dare cancel your last scholarship; it sounds like you've worked hard and earned it. Like you, I am also over-scholarshipped, and get several thousand each school year outside of tuition/housing/books. My advice is to use it to pay off any already-existing loans, and beyond that to either wisely invest it or save it.
 
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  • #9
Utilite
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Actually the only problem that you have is your need to blab about all your scholarships to your friends. Why do you even tell them anything in the first place?

You are learning, albeit painfully, one of the things that an ADULT has to learn, which is when to be discrete and keep private things private.

Zz.
Well I guess you might be right but this thing was quite obvious we have been talking about this for at least half a year. The real shocker for them was me getting the last one I think.
 
  • #10
Thewindyfan
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One friend of mine accused me of being cheap simply because i don't have a beverage with my meals. As you can see i am deeply stressed about this thing.
If your "friend" is stressing you out over something as trivial as that, you need to get new friends. It sounds like you're in bad company right now.
 
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  • #11
micromass
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Yeah well. Scholarships are supposed to help the poor. So you taking these scholarships means some other poor guy might not be able to complete his education because of money issues. Sure, go ahead and take the money. Everybody would. But don't try and feel like a "good" person at the same time. Not that it's entirely your fault that those organizations didn't check that you already had several scholarships. But it sure isn't exactly a very moral thing to do.
 
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  • #12
Silicon Waffle
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i don't really know they want to buy expensive alcohol luxury clothes and stuff like that. One of my best friends told this to me. "you are a bastard and from now on you are going to pay for everything when we meet." isn't this very disrespectful, he is an amazing guy normally. One friend of mine accused me of being cheap simply because i don't have a beverage with my meals. As you can see i am deeply stressed about this thing.
Eating a meal, drinking a coke only offers some tiny calorie intake. The whole point is socializing, if you don't want to socialize with people or the people you are interacting with always show bad attitudes towards you and your works then you can refuse to hang out with them. Your friends sound like shopaholics or types of long-legged big boob women only billionaire men prefer. It is definitely all about one's manners and attitudes to me that I will decide whom I should make friend with! And I really have a heartache feeling sorry a little for you after reading your OP.
 
  • #13
micromass
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Yeah, but we only got the perspective of the OP here. I'm not saying he's lying or anything, but perhaps things are much more complicated than we think.
Assume for example that one of his friends has a lot of money problems, but he's too ashamed to really talk about it. Then suddenly the OP starts bragging that he won 4 scholarships and has a ton of money now. Yeah, if I was his friend, I would probably be pissed off too. That does not excuse them to treat the OP like this obviously, but it does make it understandable. The moral is of course that you should never talk about money issues with other people, definitely not if the issue is that you have too much money.
 
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  • #14
Utilite
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Yeah, but we only got the perspective of the OP here. I'm not saying he's lying or anything, but perhaps things are much more complicated than we think.
Assume for example that one of his friends has a lot of money problems, but he's too ashamed to really talk about it. Then suddenly the OP starts bragging that he won 4 scholarships and has a ton of money now. Yeah, if I was his friend, I would probably be pissed off too. That does not excuse them to treat the OP like this obviously, but it does make it understandable. The moral is of course that you should never talk about money issues with other people, definitely not if the issue is that you have too much money.
Yes I think one of my friends are having some problems with money but she is the most respectful of four people. This has been long going I am avoiding unnecessary expenses for years. I don't really buy expensive stuff unless I actually want to. I prefer nice little restaurants, I have regular black coffee instead of those filled with sugar and fats. Just because I am waiting for Christmas sale to buy some video games doesn't imply i am cheap does it?
I think what pissed of those people is me having those scholarships and not spending the money, they would be totally cool if I spent like crazy. Also they are questioning me saving my money. For them money is just something to have fun with, for me it is a tool i might use for a better future. I don't know what should I do with that money right now but there is a huge possibility of me needing it.
Btw my parents were doctor's so whenever I asked for something I somehow got it unless it is really absurd. I think they didn't really have that kind of chance so I think they just can't understand me
 
  • #15
Cruz Martinez
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So, why are you keeping the scholarship if you do not need it. There is GOOD reason why organizations which grant scholarships do backround checks looking for others you maay have, the funds are limited and the purpose is to help as many people who need it as possible.

Also you complain your friends didnt have the kind of chance you had of getting everything you wanted, and so they can't understand you. Well, perhaps it is you who didnt ever have to worry about money and don't understand them?
 
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  • #16
micromass
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Btw my parents were doctor's so whenever I asked for something I somehow got it unless it is really absurd. I think they didn't really have that kind of chance so I think they just can't understand me

Yeah, you were a spoiled child (compared to them), they weren't. You said it yourself that they have struggled with money their entire life. Then you walk in as the child of a doctor and you start bragging about how you played the system and obtained 4 scholarships and maybe even a fifth one. Do you really find it surprising that they don't like this from you?

Don't ever talk about money with other people. And perhaps start thinking about giving back the scholarship money. You're not supposed to have it and you're taking away the opportunity of another student to get an education.
 
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  • #17
Utilite
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Yeah, you were a spoiled child (compared to them), they weren't. You said it yourself that they have struggled with money their entire life. Then you walk in as the child of a doctor and you start bragging about how you played the system and obtained 4 scholarships and maybe even a fifth one. Do you really find it surprising that they don't like this from you?

Don't ever talk about money with other people. And perhaps start thinking about giving back the scholarship money. You're not supposed to have it and you're taking away the opportunity of another student to get an education.
Yes you are right about one thing, I can't have these scholarships and be a nice person at the same time but does keeping these scholarships make me a bad person. See money is independence and right now I am not really dependent to anyone so that's a nice thing. Not all of those four people have struggled with money. Two of them are also doctor children, only one of them seems to be in need of money.
And also these scholarships aren't need based. Three of those are gvt scholarships, I got two of those because of my success at exams. And one is because of studying physics very little people study sciences in here unless they have to (all of those four people are at medschool). One of them is a foundation I am having 'High Achievement Scholarship' that foundation also grants scholarships to people in need.
Anyway thanks for your comments really. I am still not fine with this thing but the solution is not to talk about money and all that caused this problem. If keeping these aren't-you know-evil I intend to keep the money. Btw retirement salaries of my parents are quite low I am almost making as much as they do.
 
  • #18
micromass
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Yes you are right about one thing, I can't have these scholarships and be a nice person at the same time but does keeping these scholarships make me a bad person.

I don't know. On the one hand, you didn't do anything illegal or anything. You applied for the scholarships and won them fairly. It's not your fault that they're giving away money in this system. You are simply using the system in the way it is designed. The question is, is it the right thing to do, to use the system like this? I'd say no and I wouldn't feel good about myself. But somebody else might very well say yes. We would both have good arguments. In the end, you need to be able to live with yourself. That's the important thing.
 
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  • #19
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Those people didn't really check other scholarships for some reason I have all of them.
It can be quite hard for one scholarship awarding body to be aware of other scholarships that you may have been awarded - because well, there is no reason why they keep each other updated of their own lists at all. That being said, it might be prudent of you to check the relevant terms and conditions of your scholarships as to whether it is indeed legal to hold several simultaneously. Many scholarship awarding bodies, as I know, usually require that you keep them informed about any other awards/scholarships/etc. that you are holding on to / are awarded.
 
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  • #20
Utilite
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It can be quite hard for one scholarship awarding body to be aware of other scholarships that you may have been awarded - because well, there is no reason why they keep each other updated of their own lists at all. That being said, it might be prudent of you to check the relevant terms and conditions of your scholarships as to whether it is indeed legal to hold several simultaneously. Many scholarship awarding bodies, as I know, usually require that you keep them informed about any other awards/scholarships/etc. that you are holding on to / are awarded.
Yes I did check everything and I actually talked to the foundation that granted me, they know that I am getting a big scholarship from the gvt I don't think they care
 
  • #21
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Well, if none of the scholarships are needs-based, then honestly there is no need to be so hard on yourself, because there is no guarantee that they would go to a needy student anyway. As many have pointed out, what is important is that you are able to live with yourself. If you still feel bad, why not consider donating a portion of your stipend to a needy student fund or to charities?
 
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  • #22
Utilite
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Well, if none of the scholarships are needs-based, then honestly there is no need to be so hard on yourself, because there is no guarantee that they would go to a needy student anyway. As many have pointed out, what is important is that you are able to live with yourself. If you still feel bad, why not consider donating a portion of your stipend to a needy student fund or to charities?
Yes I intend to donate some money to syrian refugees. We are full of refugees here. I mean I probably won't pay much but I will help them monthly so that will be a good thing
 
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  • #23
bcrowell
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Yeah, you were a spoiled child (compared to them), they weren't. You said it yourself that they have struggled with money their entire life. Then you walk in as the child of a doctor and you start bragging about how you played the system and obtained 4 scholarships and maybe even a fifth one. [...] You're not supposed to have it and you're taking away the opportunity of another student to get an education.

This seems much, much too harsh to me. As far as I can tell these are merit-based scholarships and very competitive. The fact that he won them probably means that he showed exceptional academic merit. He could choose to give back some of the money, but I don't see that as any kind of a moral imperative.

There is lots of illogic and inefficiency in the way various societies subsidize education as a public good. The fact that merit-based scholarships may be awarded independently of one another is arguably such an inefficiency, but it isn't a huge one in the big picture, and it's certainly not a moral issue on the individual level. A real example of inefficiency would be the fact that the state of California spends 7 billion dollars per year on its community college system, providing approximately a 75% subsidy, and yet the community college success rate is only about 10% (by various measures such as achieving a stated goal of transferring to a four-year school within 5 years). If there is a moral imperative for the OP to give back his scholarship money, then there is a vastly greater moral imperative for millions of middle-class community college dropouts to give back to the state the money that it wasted trying to educate them.

Yes I intend to donate some money to syrian refugees. We are full of refugees here. I mean I probably won't pay much but I will help them monthly so that will be a good thing

Good for you. You seem like a very compassionate and moral person.
 
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  • #24
Dr. Courtney
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There is lots of illogic and inefficiency in the way various societies subsidize education as a public good. The fact that merit-based scholarships may be awarded independently of one another is arguably such an inefficiency, but it isn't a huge one in the big picture, and it's certainly not a moral issue on the individual level. A real example of inefficiency would be the fact that the state of California spends 7 billion dollars per year on its community college system, providing approximately a 75% subsidy, and yet the community college success rate is only about 10% (by various measures such as achieving a stated goal of transferring to a four-year school within 5 years). If there is a moral imperative for the OP to give back his scholarship money, then there is a vastly greater moral imperative for millions of middle-class community college dropouts to give back to the state the money that it wasted trying to educate them.

Wow, someone actually wrote that. I certainly agree.

The most immoral and wasteful thing I see in public education is lazy students who never really intend to work hard and learn avoiding real life by pretending to seek an education on the taxpayer's dime.

Of course, the profs and administrators who allow them to are even greater moral failures than the lazy students.
 
  • #25
StatGuy2000
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Yeah well. Scholarships are supposed to help the poor. So you taking these scholarships means some other poor guy might not be able to complete his education because of money issues. Sure, go ahead and take the money. Everybody would. But don't try and feel like a "good" person at the same time. Not that it's entirely your fault that those organizations didn't check that you already had several scholarships. But it sure isn't exactly a very moral thing to do.

micromass, you have often expressed views of which I agree with, but on this front I would have to respectfully (but strongly) disagree. Contrary to what you have expressed above, the primary purpose of scholarships (unlike bursaries or grants which are provided to students for that very purpose) are not to help the poor, but to reward hard-working and talented students to continue to pursue higher education (some scholarships are tied to studying specific subjects, others are more broad-based). In other words, scholarships are by their very definition merit-based, and it is quite common in Canada and the US to be awarded more than one scholarship.

So long as the OP was eligible for being awarded that scholarship, then he is fully deserving of that scholarship, and he has absolutely no reason whatsoever in returning it. He earned it "fair and square" and has nothing to be ashamed of (unlike your assertions in this post). I agree with the other posters that his supposed "friends" who expressed anger and jealousy are not really his friends -- a true friend would be happy and supportive of his successes, not resentful. And I am frankly disappointed that you feel otherwise.
 
  • #26
micromass
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micromass, you have often expressed views of which I agree with, but on this front I would have to respectfully (but strongly) disagree. Contrary to what you have expressed above, the primary purpose of scholarships (unlike bursaries or grants which are provided to students for that very purpose) are not to help the poor, but to reward hard-working and talented students to continue to pursue higher education (some scholarships are tied to studying specific subjects, others are more broad-based). In other words, scholarships are by their very definition merit-based, and it is quite common in Canada and the US to be awarded more than one scholarship.

Well, I'm sorry then as I did not understand how scholarships worked over there. In my country, we have scholarships but they are strictly need based and never merit based. Never. It's good that I understand more about this now, so I won't make the same mistake again.

I agree with the other posters that his supposed "friends" who expressed anger and jealousy are not really his friends -- a true friend would be happy and supportive of his successes, not resentful. And I am frankly disappointed that you feel otherwise.

I never said the friends were not to blame though. I think behaving like they did is not good. But I also remark that we don't have the full story. We only have the OP's version of the story, which is what he thinks and feels about the situation. I was trying to invent some reasons for why his friends behaved this ways. Sure, his friends may be genuine a**oles (as is what the OP makes it appear). But they might have other reasons for behaving this way. For example, they might be just teasing him and the OP might take it too seriously. Or like I explained, they might feel bad because they're struggling financially and he gets 4 scholarships. The behavior of the friends is certainly not cool. But he shouldn't immediately drop them. He should talk to them and figure out what's going on.

I stay with my statement never to talk about financial issues outside immediate family though. But my scholarship remarks were wrong and misguided. I do however question a system where somebody can get 4 scholarships of 1000's of dollars just like that...
 
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  • #27
StatGuy2000
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Well, I'm sorry then as I did not understand how scholarships worked over there. In my country, we have scholarships but they are strictly need based and never merit based. Never. It's good that I understand more about this now, so I won't make the same mistake again.
OK, I see where you are coming from, because I am aware that in some countries university funding to students is purely need-based (more along the lines of bursaries of grants as I've stated before). So I can see why you think it isn't truly moral. In Canada, student funding often comes with a mix of merit-based scholarships, grants and bursaries, and student loans, so that was the frame of reference I was thinking of. Hopefully I didn't sound too harsh to you -- it's an honest misunderstanding. All is good! :)

I never said the friends were not to blame though. I think behaving like they did is not good. But I also remark that we don't have the full story. We only have the OP's version of the story, which is what he thinks and feels about the situation. I was trying to invent some reasons for why his friends behaved this ways. Sure, his friends may be genuine a**oles (as is what the OP makes it appear). But they might have other reasons for behaving this way. For example, they might be just teasing him and the OP might take it too seriously. Or like I explained, they might feel bad because they're struggling financially and he gets 4 scholarships. The behavior of the friends is certainly not cool. But he shouldn't immediately drop them. He should talk to them and figure out what's going on.

Yes, I do agree with you that we only have the perspective of the OP on this. In my response I was basically taking the OP's statement at face value (not knowing the posters personally, that is the general position I take with any new posts unless something in the post leads me to strongly question what the poster has stated). At the same time, any possible reasons either you or I state about the reaction of his friends is essentially speculation (we have no idea whether his friends are actually struggling financially, nor if his friends are merely teasing him in the way friends often do -- the fact that the OP is troubled by his friends' responses frankly suggest otherwise for the latter). Whether the OP should drop his friends is his choice, but if they are genuinely resentful a**oles, then he deserves better friends.
 
  • #28
Dishsoap
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Why would you discourage talking about financial issues outside of family? Something like winning a scholarship or getting a raise has attached to it much more "value" than merely financial - would you not tell your friends that you won a prestigious award just because there was money attached to it?
 
  • #29
atyy
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Yes I did check everything and I actually talked to the foundation that granted me, they know that I am getting a big scholarship from the gvt I don't think they care

I presume you also checked with the govt (and all the other scholarships) that each is ok with you having multiple scholarships? If they are fine with that, then there is nothing wrong with what you are doing.
 
  • #30
micromass
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Why would you discourage talking about financial issues outside of family? Something like winning a scholarship or getting a raise has attached to it much more "value" than merely financial - would you not tell your friends that you won a prestigious award just because there was money attached to it?

Getting a raise at my job? No, I would never talk about that to my friends. And I clearly don't understand the scholarship thing, but isn't it very different from an award? Of course I will mention an award, but a scholarship seems to be people helping you with money. I would not talk about that for sure.

Again, this might be a cultural issue. We really don't like to talk about stuff like that because we see it as bragging. I once won an award at my university for being the best student in the entire university. I didn't tell anybody about this.
 
  • #31
Dishsoap
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Getting a raise at my job? No, I would never talk about that to my friends. And I clearly don't understand the scholarship thing, but isn't it very different from an award? Of course I will mention an award, but a scholarship seems to be people helping you with money. I would not talk about that for sure.

I guess my experience as an undergrad so far is that the line between "scholarship" and "award" is very fine, which is something I hadn't previously thought about. When I entered as a freshman, I got a nice scholarship, but as an entering freshman I hadn't really done anything to deserve it besides doing well on some standardized tests, and volunteering. The primary virtue of that accomplishment is that it comes with money, so I'd call it a scholarship.

On the contrary, getting an award like you did, being the best student in the university (congratulations, by the way), is important to you not because it came with money (assuming it did), but because getting it means you're the best damn student in the entire university! Similarly, I won a national award a few years ago for doing research as an undergrad, and the money that came with it was non-negligible, yet I consider it to be an "award" because I would have still been quite proud even if no money had come with it.

I might be rambling a bit, but you raise an interesting point: I wonder if the difference between a scholarship and an award is the importance (not the value) of the money that comes with it - whether it exists to recognize someone for an accomplishment, or to help them pay for school. I don't know :)
 
  • #32
micromass
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On the contrary, getting an award like you did, being the best student in the university (congratulations, by the way), is important to you not because it came with money (assuming it did)

Well, it came with 15 euros haha. I couldn't even spend it anywhere, I had to spend it at the official shop of the university. I think it's very clear we don't like to spend money for awards like this. We only really spend money for people in need. I find this way more logical actually than somebody being able to get 4 scholarships because of good grades. But hey, if the system works like this...

But yeah, in the case of awards, I'd have to agree with Feynman

I might be rambling a bit, but you raise an interesting point: I wonder if the difference between a scholarship and an award is the importance (not the value) of the money that comes with it - whether it exists to recognize someone for an accomplishment, or to help them pay for school. I don't know :)

Yeah, I don't really understand this entire scholarship system...
 
  • #33
Student100
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I don't understand why the distinction between need and merit based rewards play a central role in the conversation here.

Even if the scholarships were merit based, it's likely that somewhere in the pool of applicants there is a student who is just as deserving who won't be able to attend university because he doesn't have the money needed to go. To just willy-nilly accept all those scholarships, after his tuition and living expenses are paid for, is morally wrong.

Enjoy your vacation money, possibly at the expense of some other student not being able to afford their education.
 
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  • #34
Dishsoap
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I don't understand why the distinction between need and merit based rewards play a central role in the conversation here.

Even if the scholarships were merit based, it's likely that somewhere in the pool of applicants there is a student who is just as deserving who won't be able to attend university because he doesn't have the money needed to go. To just willy-nilly accept all those scholarships, after his tuition and living expenses are paid for, is morally wrong.

Enjoy your vacation money, possibly at the expense of some other student not being able to afford their education.

I'm not sure that taking OP on a guilt trip is the way to go. I think it's safe to say that the situation is morally ambiguous - if OP feels bad about taking it, then he/she should give it back. Clearly he does, so that is the best choice.
 
  • #35
micromass
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I don't understand why the distinction between need and merit based rewards play a central role in the conversation here.

Even if the scholarships were merit based, it's likely that somewhere in the pool of applicants there is a student who is just as deserving who won't be able to attend university because he doesn't have the money needed to go. To just willy-nilly accept all those scholarships, after his tuition and living expenses are paid for, is morally wrong.

Enjoy your vacation money, possibly at the expense of some other student not being able to afford their education.

It's cultural I guess. The OP doesn't really have much expenses and has 4 scholarships. I would feel very guilty with that. But apparently, the culture of the OP makes it more acceptable.
 

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