Category Archives: parenting

What is a Disenfranchised Student?

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So, with this whole scandal and debate about college students and admissions, it has got me thinking a lot about my time in college, both in undergrad, and now as a grad student.

On top of that, because of the scandal, I’m hearing a lot of the “White privilege” argument. So it’s got me asking myself a lot about my time in school – This article is not going to try to say that white privilege doesn’t exist, because it does.

This article is actually about me asking, What is a first generation student?

Who deserves resources?

What groups are being forgotten?

Let me explain my situation with college. I am not the first generation of my family to go to college. My parents were the first (which is rather normal in America, so I’m going to make this about my parents being “first gen” or anything)

I am, however, the first in my family to go to what I’m going to call ‘real college’. My parents went to the local university in my hometown. This university is what’s considered a “not ranked” school. Meaning, it’s not competitive and it lets anyone in. Your ACT and SAT scores don’t matter, they don’t require any essays to be written, no recommendation letters – nothing. This university will even have billboards up during the first week of classes that saying things like “Classes have only just begun! You can still enroll! Call now!” 

Students and tourists rest in lawn chairs in Harvard Yard, the open old heart of Harvard University campus

Back when my parents were in school, college was also much different. They paid their way through full-time school with their part-time jobs – Something that can’t be done today. They both lived at home as they attended school (as many in my hometown do) and after graduating, their part-time jobs turned to full-time and so they never had to deal with internships and applying to jobs “within their field” and all of that.

In recent years, this particular school admits tons of low-income and minority students. To make sure that these students don’t drop out, the university has instated a massive grading curve. So a B- student becomes an A+ student leading the class.

So, my point is this: Yes, may parents wen to “college”. But they had never gone to anything that resembles what Americans think colleges are.

I was the first in my family to have to save up for college while in high school. I was the first to take an ACT test. I was the first to write admissions essays. The first to need letters of recommendation. The first to leave my hometown. The first to live in a dorm on campus. The first to compete for internships. And now, the first to attend graduate school.

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I had no help or guidance on these things, because nobody in my family had ever done any of it before. So, am I a first generation student? 

And if not, what am I?

I think of all the mistakes I made while in school. All the things I didn’t know. I went from being harassed for being gay every single day in my hometown by my peers, to suddenly living in a building with hundreds of them. My parents had never had an internship before and had no idea what and internship actually consisted of. I didn’t know what entering a job market looked like. There’s so much I didn’t know. So much I didn’t understand. And so much I did wrong, out of ignorance.

But because I’m a white male who’s parents technically attended college, nobody ever paid a single ounce of attention to me. There was no help. No resources. No programs. No groups.

Nothing.

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And it’s still hard. It’s hard that in this 2019 environment, anytime I open my mouth about a difficulty I’ve been through, everyone just moans and groans, and gives you this “UGH, ANOTHER WHITE PERSON WHO THINKS THEY HAVE PROBLEMS….”

So, the question becomes: Are we still forgetting about students? 

Is there a group of young people out there that society is assuming is doing fine, but is actually lost? Are there people out who need help but don’t know where to go, and feel as though they have no options?

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I think we can all admit that my college situation is very different from Felicity Huffman’s daughter. So why is it just assumed that all white people are the same?

Our society needs to focus on race. We needed affirmative action to get people of color into schools and jobs. We need groups for minority students who are disenfranchised. We need funded programs for first gen students, I am in no way saying that needs to stop. 

What I am saying though, is that there are disenfranchised white people too. Liberalism and #Wokeness has seemed to become just as blinded by anger against whites as the racists they claim to hate. The world isn’t as clear and simple as “White people get everything, colored people get nothing.” We won’t solve real problems that way.

Oppression comes in various forms for different people. Oppression, discrimination, domination can come in forms beyond race – there’s age, wealth, sexuality, gender, history of abuse, mental illness, religion, and more. It’s complex. It’s messy. It’s shitty.

But it’s reality. 

Harvard campus with brilliant fall foliage

So, I pose this question to the world.

What do we do?

How do we ensure that we’re helping all people who need it. How do we help prevent people from falling through the cracks of society?

How do we help make things better?

 

~ The Dark Horse

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Dear Mom and Dad (A Letter They Will Never Read)

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Dear mom and dad, Im writing this because I know you’ll never read this.    I just wanted to let you know that yesterday, after leaving you at the airport, I arrived safely in Cambridge.   I will begin school next Monday and honestly, Im so excited.

 

I know that I never ever tell you this, but I love you both so much.   You guys have done so much for me and have made so many sacrifices.    Granted, we rarely see things eye-to-eye, and I know you guys don’t get me and my dreams.   But I don’t blame you.   We’re just different types of people and thats fine.

As you both know, I move around a lot.  And Its because I’m trying to find myself.   I have this deep need to be better.  To achieve greatness.  To try and take the world by storm.    But at the same time, I’ve been deeply hurt in my life.  From people who don’t get me.  From people who don’t want watch me succeed.    And in part, I suppose I have left their words and actions affect me to much.  Furthermore,  I can tell you both that it does get lonely when you constantly restart in new locations.  And I do miss you.   And I do have times where I just want to hop on a plane and come home.

 

The reason I never mention any of that to you is because I have too much pride.  I don’t want you guys worrying about me.  Fearing for me.   I don’t want you to know that Im not superhuman.   They say that every child has that moment where they realize their parents are only human.  Merely two flawed Earthlings.   When I found that out about you guys it broke my heart, and so I never want to make you two go through that same thing.

 

 

However, there is good news too.  I have really good hopes for this!  I think my intentions of going back to school are pure.  I almost feel a sense of innocence again.  Kind of like how most kids must feel when they start undergrad.  A blind-hope.  Some kind of just pure happiness and a thought things are about to be awesome.   I think I’ll learn a lot at Harvard.  I think I’ll be challenged.  Be bettered.   I have this sense of optimism and hope.  A feeling that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be right now…. a feeling I haven’t had in a very long time.

 

 

One day I hope that I can make you both very proud to be my parents ( I know you already are )   But still, I don’t feel proud to be me yet… Maybe thats what Im really hoping for.  And thats something Im never able to tell you.  That I feel like a failure.   I feel like a pathetic and complete failure.   I thought I would be so much more at age 27 than what I am.

 

But again, right now I’m feeling good.  Im feeling hopeful.   Im feeling optimistic.  And I just wanted to let you both know how much you mean to me.  How much I miss you every time I leave, and how grateful I am for your love and unending support.

 

~Love your son, The Dark Horse

The After-Christmas Blues

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Ugh….  The Christmas music is gone.  The family has all parted ways… The presents have been opened… and now here we are.  Stuck with the post-christmas lows.

 

Its always weird for me.   Everyone always acts so busy at the holidays.    Like, “Oh I just couldn’t possibly stay any longer, I just have so much to do I have to go right now!”

Does anyone else feel like thats how everyone is?  Even at the family Christmas there are people who come, eat the food, and then are like, “Ok everyone we have to go, bye!”.   And I’m like… Where exactly is everyone going all the time?

If you’re going to come into town Christmas eve night and leave at 8am the day after Christmas what exactly are you even coming home for?     Like, seriously people… if you’re lives are so full-on that actually breaking away from your job for JUST 1 DAY  is now a chore, don’t come home!

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But as I grow older thats how life has become.   Christmas is this whirlwind now consisting of 1 day.  Where I hear nothing but family complaining about how tired the holidays make them, how busy they are, how quickly they have to rush out right after Christmas…. and then before you know it, its December 26.  Everyone is gone.  The mad dash to go somewhere else is in full-swing.

We spend 2 months putting up lights, listening to Christmas carols, buying presents, baking cookies….. all for one day where EVERYONE ON EARTH just complains about how tired these two months have made them.  How they’re just too stressed right now… and how they have to leave immediately.

Well human population:  You’re negativity, lack of enthusiasm, and commitment to your jobs which must be working you 60 or 70 hours a week with how much you complain about them, has left me now tired, depressed, and empathetic.

Your Christmas has ruined mine.  I hope you’re happy.  

And now you’re all gone.  Back to your jobs which you hate so much.   Back to paying off your mortgages, your kids, your cars, and the presents you couldn’t afford.    You’re back to living your lives you complain about so much.     And Why? 

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Now don’t get me wrong.  Im not some unemployed welfare muncher.  I work as well.    And no, I don’t like my job.  But you know what people, I’m doing sometime about it.  Im going back to school.  Ive never invested in things that would keep me tied down to consumerist culture like buying a house, buying the newest car, or  the crappy gadgets that don’t do anything (talkin’ to you fitbit and apple watch people).     Because without having any of that hanging over my head I’m free to switch up my life.  Im free to change things.  Im not tied down.  I don’t have anything looming over my head.   I am not happy with my life, and therefore I am changing it.  You people are not happy with your lives, and yet you just sit in your filth.   You tie yourself down.   You get stuck, trapped, and captured.

Then this one time of year comes around meant for family, fun, and friendship.   It could be so beautiful.  The lights, the trees, the time spent together….but no.   Instead you’re so frazzled that the holidays have become a pathetic spectacle.   Christmas is now just one more day in your life that has clearly become so boring, so routine, and mundane that you just could’t give a fuck anymore.

And thats sad.     And it makes me sad.    And what makes it even worse is that you’re all convinced thats just how life is.   Working a job that doesn’t really make you happy is something you believe everyone just does.    Buying too many presents for people who don’t actually need them is just part of the season.   Getting fatter and fatter every year is just part of getting older…and so on and so on.    If your 15 yr old self saw you right now, what would they think?

Apparently to most of you, adulthood is the end of your life.   All you have is the memories of your youth now.

I don’t want that as my life.    And I’m sorry that so many of you have let that become you.

Sorry for the horribly negative post, just something Ive been noticing.

~ The Dark Horse

Ok, Let’s Talk In Vitro Versus Adoption

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So let me start by saying this is sooooooo far off from what this blog is normally about, but I don’t care.   This issue has been a source of many debates between me and others in the past and yesterday it was brought up again and so I’ve decided to write about it.

I will begin by putting it all out there:  I am totally against In Vitro.

And this has nothing to do with a religious stance or bias or anything.  I am a gay atheist.  Trust me….Its not religious

But here is my main reason:

 It is a horrendous waste.

In Vitro costs 15,000 dollars per cycle. What I mean by “per cycle” is that in vitro doesn’t always work the first time.

In fact, the average success rate of in vitro is about 35%….which means a lot of women pay more than once.

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Furthermore, and here is the most important one:

It is horribly selfish. 

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Can your brains comprehend how many kids would love to have a home?   How many out there would love to come home with parents like you?  Parents who want a child so badly they are willing to spend almost twenty thousand dollars multiple times in order to have kids?

These kids were born to parents who literally threw them away.

Parents who didn’t want them, or were too young to handle them, or too poor to keep them.

If you’re able to get in vitro you are none of these things. 

Don’t deny kids a happy life simply because you want your baby to have your DNA

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I mean really?  what is so damn special about your DNA anyways?   One could possibly say in vitro is pure narcissism.

In closing, think about others.  Don’t just think of the economic cost of in vitro.  Think of the social cost as well

~ The Dark Horse