Tag Archives: education

What is a Disenfranchised Student?

college

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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This World’s a Bitch, and Don’t Let a Bitch Hold You Back!

planet

So, life is insane, ya know that?  I mean like… it’s really fuckin’ crazy.

One of the craziest things is how your life can change.

 

When I was 22 and graduated from undergrad, I was lost and broken.  I had no friends, I didn’t take advantage of an University resource (because to be honest, I didn’t believe that my University cared about me.)  I left college with no internship experience, no references, and no plan.

The only thing I managed to do in undergrad was manage a Pinkberry so I could I could afford to pay for college.  However, 14 an hour doesn’t go very far when you combine living in LA + college tuition (even with the financial aid i received).  And furthermore, when you spend 50hrs a week at Pinkberry, you don’t really have the time utilize the school you’re working so damn hard to pay for!

This, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the biggest problems with America.  This “meritocracy” is fake as fuck.

It’s a hard-ass world out there if you’re not born into money.

 

But that’s a different blog post for a different day.  The point of this post is talk about how, despite the fact that the odds are stacked against the common man, we can still overcome them.  We can still thrive.  We don’t have to bend over and blindly let the world fuck us silly.

It’s time to rise up and fight back, after all, this is our lives.  We can’t give up and accept defeat that easily.  They may have more tools and resources, than we do.  But some spunk and moxie can go a long way!

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So the past few years I’ve been wandering around the world, doing random jobs and being bored to death and feeling like no matter where I go in this world, I’ll still be bored and lonely.

I was mad because I knew I was smart.  I knew I was intelligent.  I knew I could do all the things that I wasn’t getting the opprotunity for.   I knew I just needed a chance.  I just needed some symbol that showed others to take me seriously.

So I had an idea:  The prestige of the world have more resources and reputation… so why not use those too?  So, I applied to Harvard.  I was going to FORCE this world to take me seriously.

Elle Woods became my hero.  She was a symbol of someone that the world didn’t believe in.  But she believed in herself.  She knew was smart.  She knew she could do it.

elle

 

Anyways, lets flash-forward to right now.  I’ve been at Harvard for about a year now and I’m absolutely loving it.  And no, not every second has been daisies and lollipops.  Just like anywhere else, sometimes you get professors who don’t like you, and sometimes you do bad on a paper, but overall, I think it’s been an amazing experience.  The people I know here are, in general, awesome.

 

But most importantly, I’m growing as a person and the doors of opprotunity are finally opening up for me (which for a good number of years there, I genuinely thought would never happen).

For example, I just got word that I got accepted as a summer intern in Kuala Lumpur!

KL

 

 

And now, next week I have an interview for an internship in China!

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Ok, also I realize this post is bordering on sounding like I’m bragging.  I promise that’s not the case.   Don’t get me wrong, Im proud of myself and Im so fuckin excited for the summer now.

But I’m writing to show an example that even raging shit-shows can work hard and make something of themselves.  It’s never too late.  You’re never too old.  You’re never too stupid.

As my therapist always told me, “Stupid people don’t know they’re stupid and even if they knew, they wouldn’t care…that’s part of being stupid.  If you’re fearing that you’re not good enough it’s most likely because you are in-fact good enough.  Usually it’s the smart people who have the ability to question their abilities.”  

 

So cmon people.  Let’s rock this shit out.  Our lives can be so meaningful.  And if you’re someone who already feels like your live has meaning, than that’s awesome!  I hope someday we all can.

 

And remember, when the world’s being a bitch….

bitch please

…put on your shades and give em’ hell. 

 

~ The Dark Horse

I do too my proofreading for school…so no, i didn’t proofread this post 🙂