Dear Urban Diplomat: Can I ask my boyfriend to stop competing in the same academic competitions as me?
Dear Urban Diplomat,
My boyfriend and I are University of Toronto students, and we apply for the same awards. He’s won out over me twice now. I know I should be happy for him, but his family is super-rich and he doesn’t need the money; he only applies because the awards look good on his resumé. I’m working two part-time jobs and carrying a hefty student loan. It’s not fair. Can I ask him to stop applying?
—Starving Student, THE ANNEX
No, you can’t. Universities create awards based on financial need for just this reason. When it comes to the merit awards—those given out based on accomplishments and abilities—your boyfriend has every right to apply. You’re making the assumption that if he weren’t in the mix, you’d win, but for all you know, you could be coming in dead last every time. If you ask him to stop applying, then maybe neither of you will benefit. Why not ask him to help, instead? He’s clearly got a knack for writing proposals, and poaching a few of his strategies might improve your chances. If, along the way, you feel like saying, “Thanks for your help, honey. I’m desperate to ease my soul-crushing financial burden, but the competition is so stiff,” then so be it. It’s not fair to ask, but you can always drop a few hints.
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