Help Me Go Back to School

Hi! My name is Max and I am a 20 year old man living in Washington, D.C. 

I moved to D.C. from outside of Pittsburgh, PA, in August of 2016 to go to college at the American University where I studied psychology and gender studies. I have always been a dedicated student, and I went to American with an academic scholarship for my efforts and successes in school. After three semesters, however, my education was tragically cut short. 

In the middle of the fall semester of 2017, I came out as a transgender man to my parents. My parents up until that point had helped me to pay for the costs that were not covered by financial aid and my scholarship; I was fortunate enough to have this help from them. When I came out as trans, I was given the ultimatum to stop transitioning and return home to go to conversion therapy, or they would no longer financially assist me. 

I was given no choice but to stop going to school. I finished the semester of fall 2017 but was left with a balance of $4,505 (the 5000 on the fundraiser calculates in the extra cost that GoFundMe takes from every campaign) that has prohibited me from going back to American or to transfer to another school; AU will not release my transcripts to transfer until I pay the balance. The financial aid office at American was unwilling to reduce or excuse the balance as well. This remaining balance has left me feeling completely stuck. I cannot move forward with my education, my life, or my goals. I feel so far behind my peers and terrified that I will never finish my degree, even though I have plans to go to grad school, and ultimately have high-reaching goals for myself. 

I now am fortunate enough to have a job that I love and for which I am very grateful, that helps me to afford all of my living expenses. Even so, I cannot afford the $4505 that I owe my university, especially when I am trying to save up to go back to school. 

My plan is to pay off American, then transfer my credits to a public university I can afford on my own or with financial aid. I intend to graduate within the next few years with my undergraduate degree in psychology or social work. Then, I intend to apply to grad school programs and get a graduate degree in clinical therapy/ psychology and eventually achieve my dreams of being a clinical psychologist and helping younger folks, especially other LGBTQ folks, with their mental health. 

I am so very lucky to have an incredible support network of friends and chosen family. I would not be where I am after the incredible stressful and transitory year that I have had without them.  I am also very lucky in regards to my transition: I have been able to receive the gender-affirming care I need, including  a very important gender-affirming surgery I had earlier this year, and I have already made all the necessary legal changes I required. Now that I am able to live my life as myself, I feel it is time to move forward with my goals, but I cannot do it on my own. I am completely financially independent, and I need your help to move forward with my education and achieve my goals. I would appreciate any and all help you can offer, whether it be some finances, support, or by sharing this. Thank you so much!


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Maxwell Durbin 
Washington, DC
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