Saturday, January 12, 2013

Class Issues

I'm pretty sure I was who Shakespeare was referencing when he wrote "green-eyed monster" in Othello. I am an insanely jealous person.

Not so much about material things.
I don't care if you have a nice car, or if you have nice clothes (well I kind of care--like where you purchased them from, but I'm pretty sure that is another topic).
I am really jealous of people who have an insane amount of privilege AND they don't realize it.
They realize it and squander it.

This all began upon listening to an old Savage Love podcast (which is a godsend when I'm about to stab my eyes out writing copy for glitter-bomb sweatshirts). A caller was wondering what to do because she was dating an older man that her parents didn't approve of, and they were threatening to cut her off financially. She was getting her bachelor's degree in something that required her to continue on to graduate school. So she was going through a first-world Sophie's Choice.

Because, you know who put me through college?
The plus side: I could do whatever I wanted during my college years (which are still going on by the way). This meant I could move in with a boy I like. Or not go to class because I didn't feel like it. I didn't have grades to keep up or anyone to answer to financially.

The down side:
I had to work through college. I still have to work through college. This not only means that I don't have the free time that other students have, but I don't have the option of getting an unpaid internship which could give me other connections/experiences which could help me get a job/ins/contacts for the future.

And this is just the business side of things. As a graduate student who works full time, I'm unable to attend roundtable/brown-bag lunches and/or take part in other academic endeavors that tend to take place during the work day. While my work is currently VERY flexible (and I am SO VERY THANKFUL FOR THAT), they aren't THAT flexible. I can't take two hour lunches without me staying until 8pm, which would then cut into my homework time see where this is going?

I am an adult. I know I have to do certain things, and I have made certain choices. I chose to go to graduate school when I didn't have an assistantship. I could have quit my full time job, but I was left with a house due to a split, yadda yadda yadda. I understand that these are the choices I've made.

But think about people who aren't as fortunate as me.
There is an excellent New York Times article which talks about this issue in depth, by following three low-income girls who succeeded in high-school but are having a tough time succeeding in college. It's a class issue. I was raised in a middle class family, or maybe I just thought I was? Except for my first semester of college, I went to public, state schools. Upon completion of my master's, I will have $40g+ of debt.

College costs are going up. It's not fair (and yeah, I know life isn't fair. I'm just venting), but what are people/kids supposed to do?  Think of those who don't have flexible jobs, or people with kids who are trying to better their position? How are they supposed to compete with those who don't have those responsibilities?

I don't have answers.
I'm not saying that my life is SO HARD.
Cos it isn't.
I love school. I actually do really like my job. I am super-duper fortunate that I even have a job and an undergraduate degree and an almost master's (first one in my family, yo!). But sometimes, I get a little testy when I hear people complain about their free money getting taken away. People get by on so much less all the time. And I sometimes wish people would be cognizant of that. Not everyone has the luxury of pulling allnighters or going for that internship.

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