All Articles Tagged "college"
In second grade, when my best friend wanted to tell me a secret she didn’t say, “Don’t tell anybody.” She’d say, “Don’t tell anybody. Not even your mom.” It was understood that, in my life, my mom was privy to most information. My mom wasn’t just anybody, she wasn’t, as she made sure to let me know, one of my little friends. More often than not, she was unfazed by our elementary school drama. But, if she was interested, even as a child, I appreciated her insight. (And if Alexis is somewhere reading this. Please know, if I said I wasn’t going to tell my mom, I honored my word.)
Honestly, since second grade not all that much has changed. I’m 28 and I’ve talked to my mom three times today.
I love and treasure the relationship my sister and I have with both of my parents but there have certainly been times, from childhood to adulthood, when other people didn’t really understand it. And because they didn’t understand it, they sought to try and belittle it or shame me for that closeness. Most recently, a family member, one who married in, offered a backhanded compliment, saying that my sister and I were perfect, goody two shoes, simply because we had open, honest communication with our parents. It was a thinly veiled insult that didn’t go over my head.
Anyway, today, when I read the story of Nayla Kidd, the once-missing Columbia student, who disappeared simply because she “wanted to get away from it all.” I wished that she felt like she could talk to her mother, the way I talk to mine.
For those who aren’t familiar. Nayla, a 19-year-old from Kentucky, was on a full engineering scholarship at Columbia University, an Ivy League School, when she mysteriously disappeared two weeks ago. She hadn’t been in contact with any of her family or friends and had missed all of her final exams. Her mother and friends said that it was simply not like her to put off her school work. Not only that, her Facebook account, credit cards and cell phone had all been deactivated.
But today, it was reported that Nayla had been located. According to the New York Daily News, a police source said, “Basically, she just wanted to get away from it all. She rented a place in Brooklyn. She didn’t want to be at school anymore.”
Anyone who’s ever gone away to college, even if you personally didn’t have some type of culture shock, emotional of psychological breakdown, you know someone who did or came pretty close to it. Leaving home and everything you’ve known all of your life, to be faced with the rigors of collegiate coursework, and in Nayla’s case Ivy League coursework, is no joke. It can be daunting. It will be stressful. And you will absolutely need someone.
Interestingly enough, when the story was reported on some outlets, because Nayla was found safe, writers made light of her story. They joked about the fact that she moved to Williamsburg. And commenters, following suit, talked about the places they would run away to if they chose to get away from it all, as if Nayla simply went on vacation. They didn’t seem to grasp the fact that just because she was physically safe, that something was obviously wrong. And she didn’t feel like she could tell anyone about it.
And I’m not just talking about a mother or mother figure. Nayla didn’t even have a friend that she could talk to about her plan to drop off the grid. And perhaps that was the point, that no one would know. But at 19, in college away from your family, with parents, getting away from it all, without explanation, is not an option.
Someone mentioned that if they were Nayla’s mother they would beat her a**. And while I could understand the sentiment after all the stress and heartache she caused for more than two weeks, that’s clearly not what she needs right now. She needs someone to listen to her, someone to sympathize with whatever it is she might be feeling right now. Perhaps someone to tell her that they’ll stand by her if she decides not to go back to school now or ever.
And it hurts me that she felt that she didn’t have that person.
Hopefully, now that she’s been located, she’ll receive the care and attention she so desperately need.
Nowadays you can’t turn on a TV without seeing something race-related. Whether it’s police brutality, a racial hate crime, or even a celebrity who’s said something politically incorrect, racial tension in the US is definitely at an all time high.
But when it comes time to choose between all of the colleges and universities, comedian and actress Aisha Tyler wants young African American students to stay open minded and not just apply to schools where they are the majority.
Tyler is a proud graduate of Dartmouth College. According to the Dartmouth site their 2019 class has 1116 students and eight percent of that group is African American. The school has also had its fair share of attention in the media ranging from sexual violence allegations to racism on campus.
In 2014 Dartmouth College President Phil Hanlon said the Ivy League school was being “hijacked by extreme behavior,” when he addressed a group of faculty two weeks after a group of students staged a two-day protest in his office, demanding a point-by-point response to a 72-item “Freedom Budget,” that addressed sexual violence. And in that same speech he also announced the formation of a presidential steering committee who would be tasked with researching possible reforms and presenting them to the Board of Trustees.
However, Tyler thinks African American students should face these schools head on. During an interview with Money she was asked what would she say to students who might be put off by hearing about racial incidents on a campus?
And she replied:
“When incidents of discrimination happen, that is the real world. You know, if someone doesn’t write something nasty on your dorm door, that doesn’t mean they are not thinking it. I applied to Dartmouth the year the school had a big demonstration against apartheid. The students built a shantytown on the green, and some students, ultra-conservatives, destroyed the shantytown with sledgehammers. I told my high school counselor I was going to Dartmouth, and he asked me: “Why go to a school where that happened?” It’s not for everybody. You have to decide what you can tolerate. But my great-great-great-great- grandfather escaped slavery in Texas and eventually went back into post-reconstruction Texas and built a successful business. What would we be like if black people didn’t go into the heart and didn’t try to change things? We would have made no progress in the country. Bravery is the engine of change.
When asked what advice would you give African-American high school students who are thinking about where to attend college she said: “I’d say: ‘Step out of your comfort zone. Don’t pick a college that replicates what you did in high school. Test yourself in an unfamiliar context so that you can learn to succeed no matter where you are placed, so that you know you can excel’.”
For many high school seniors deciding what college to attend and how to begin life after high school is no easy feat but Malia Obama has finally made her decision. After months of speculation and the masses following her college process, the White House announced on Sunday that the 17-year-old will attend Harvard University.
Malia did consider other schools and according to the Associated Press, some stops on her college tour included the University of California, Berkeley; Stanford; New York University; the University of Pennsylvania; Barnard; Tufts; Brown; Yale and Wesleyan.
Both President Obama and Michelle Obama attended Harvard Law School so Malia will keep their legacy going when she graduates from Harvard in 2021.
After graduating from the prestigious Sidwell Friends High school, the eldest of President Obama’s two daughters plans to take a year off before beginning her freshman year in 2017, according to a White House Statement.
Higher education experts tout the off-year as a way to travel, engage in a long-term special project or otherwise use the time in a constructive and meaningful way and Mrs. Obama has said Malia wants to be a filmmaker. Malia spent a summer in New York City interning on the set of HBO’s “Girls,” and in the summer of 2014 worked as a production assistant on “Extant,” a CBS sci-fi drama featuring Halle Berry.
President Obama admitted on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in February that Malia’s departure would be difficult for him and said “I was asked if I would speak at her graduation and I said absolutely not. Because I’m going to be sitting there with dark glasses, sobbing. She’s one of my best friends, and it’s going to be hard for me not to have her around all the time. But she’s ready to go. You can tell, she’s just a really smart, capable person and she’s ready to make her own way.”
Parents will do just about anything to ensure their children can pursue and achieve their wildest dreams — including attend college. They’ll save. They’ll bookmark scholarship websites in their Internet browser. They’ll even crowdsource (if they have to). And while all of these valiant efforts might grant your kid access into a college institution, sadly, if your son or daughter is black, he or she will likely graduate with a significant amount of debt.
A new study published in the March issue of the journal Race and Social Problems is taking a hard look at college students and debt — specifically the disparity between Black and white scholars. Though most of us know all too well that people of color aren’t on a level playing field with Caucasians in many arenas when it comes to access and opportunities — and our children’s future — these numbers are quite disheartening. According to researchers, Black college students carry 68.2 percent more debt than their white counterparts. NBC News reveals that Blacks who earn a bachelor’s degree are more likely to leave college with a higher amount of student loan debt than whites.
The study, aptly titled Young, Black, and (Still) in the Red, does more than just present numbers and say “Here’s the problem.” Researchers wanted to try to find an explanation for this generational divide, especially when you consider that wealthier Blacks find themselves in the same boat as those who either make less or didn’t save much for college.
“The racial disparity in student loan debt is highest among those who come from the wealthiest families. That is, young adults from wealthy white families hold significantly less debt than their less affluent counterparts. In Black families, not only is debt higher, but there is no difference between wealthy Black families and less affluent black families,” notes the report.
In addition to things like family background and prior wealth — stuff we clearly know plays a part in the need to take out a loan — researchers found that Blacks have a harder time transferring their financial assets to their kids. So, what does this mean you might ask? Even if a Black family put away more for their child’s college than a white family in a similar income bracket, Blacks either had significantly less home equity or not as much liquid assets (think stocks and bonds) they could use to put towards higher education.
Simply put: Black college students are less likely to benefit from the transfer of wealth — and that inability is quite costly.
“Not only is it harder for Blacks to become middle class, but Blacks are also at a greater risk of falling out of the middle class than whites. Our findings suggest that rising student loan debt may serve to make the Black middle class more fragile, because the latest generation of Black young adults are more burdened with debt while also getting fewer payoffs to college,” notes Jason N. Houle, study co-author and Dartmouth assistant sociology professor. “In a society where a college degree is increasingly necessary to enter the middle class, and yet college costs have risen dramatically, Black students take on a great deal more risk, and seem to experience fewer rewards than whites.”
As much as numbers don’t lie (we learned that from Jay), I’m determined. I’m determined to continue saving for my sons’ college futures (they both have 529 plans). I’m determined to continue living as debt-free as possible — that enables me to keep putting away for the future — and I’m determined to do my best, so that my children don’t have to rely so heavily on student loans. Thankfully, my college was 85 percent financed which enabled me to keep loans to a minimum. Heck, my little grown sister (I have to call her that because she’s 21 now) is finishing up her junior year in a business honors program at a university that’s paid. (Gotta love scholarships and good grades.)
This study was a huge wake-up call to me, especially the part about there being no real difference in debt among affluent Blacks. In many ways, we’re still playing catch up as those who came before us didn’t have great opportunity to leave wealth for future generations. I feel inspired to continue trying. Call me optimistic, but all I can do is try (and pray).
By Kiara Morgan
After doing something foolish, I often hear, “C’mon on Kiara ! You’re a college graduate.” Most people wouldn’t be bothered by this comment, if it were used in a different context. But the connotation in which it is said displays so much contempt. It’s basically saying, “You’re too smart, to be this dumb.” There have been countless people who have uttered these words to me. Crazy enough, most of the people who have said this to me have not finished college. Yet, they had the audacity to challenge my intellect.
I must admit, I’m not a genius, not by a long shot, but I was smart enough to get a four-year degree–something that not everyone around me has. I don’t go around telling people that I went to college because every time I do, those around me hold me to some ridiculous standard. They even expect me to know things in areas of study I didn’t take up in college.
When I was pursuing my degree, my status was used against me. Often times, when I needed help from others, one cousin in particular would throw it in my face. She would say, “C’mon on. You’re in college; you should know this!” I guess being in college magically made me exempt from needing help from others. Ironically, she studied a similar field in school for two years, so asking her for assistance wasn’t really all that crazy.
After college, when I really just wanted any job to make money, my degree became a dark cloud over my head, like a past mistake or a crime everyone kept reminding me of. I often dreaded family gatherings in fear that they would inquire about my non-existent career. And most of the time, they did question me about it, and I would shamefully admit to my current situation. I got to the point where I avoided these gatherings altogether. My inability to measure up to what college was supposed to make me made me upset.
Initially, I started taking jobs at temporary agencies and during one of the interviews, a male interviewer asked me: “So why do you need this job if you went to college?”
I became nervous. It wasn’t that it never occurred to me that he would ask this question. I guessed that he would. I just felt embarrassed. I didn’t know how to answer him or what lie to make up. I wasn’t a skilled liar and just wanted to tell him the truth : I needed the money. I had put in countless applications, printed out countless resumes and did a ton of phone interviews — all to no avail. I’ve always had a problem getting jobs. The only reason I got my first job at McDonald’s was because my friend recommended me. Needless to say, I failed that interview.
I often ponder what I was actually taught in college. I learned about pathos and ethos and a few other things in regard to rhetoric, but I still find it hard to write research papers or even understand some research studies. If I could describe college in metaphorical terms I would say I was drowning. I was extremely depressed, isolated from others and struggling to do work. I could never concentrate on what I was reading because my mind was always somewhere else.
So it’s safe to say I don’t need a reminder of the dark days when I questioned if I was an idiot. When I asked myself, “Why wasn’t anything easy for me?” and “Why I couldn’t measure up?” Yes, I went to college and I never want to go back, because I learn things at a slower pace and I hate stressing over grades and writing papers that I don’t understand. I don’t miss the days of staying up late writing English papers about Walt Whitman. Nor do I need the put downs behind my back from cousins saying that I didn’t turn out like they thought I would.
I know I was the first and only person in my immediate family to get a degree. I’m grateful that my grandfather spent some of his fixed income to buy my books and pay some of my loans. I admit that I’m flawed, and at 25 years old I’m still finding myself and it’s not easy due to personal challenges. I take part in hours of self-talk, crying due to constant feelings of doubt and just feeling like I’m a failure. I’m always brainstorming ways to make myself a success to fulfill the image that everyone thought I would be — the image I thought I would be.
As a little girl, I always knew I would go to college. My cousin used to say that I reminded her of Rory from the Gilmore girls because I was planning college before I was in middle school. But life didn’t turn out like I thought it would. I didn’t handle the rejection or being fired from two temporary jobs well. I would question if I could do anything right. It always seemed I was doing things wrong.
But I vowed to myself that I would stop living in other’s people image and stop crumbling like glass when people project their insecurities on me. I can’t carry the weight of other people’s goals on my shoulders. I won’t swallow my pride or bite my tongue when my family makes rude comments. I deserve my humanity and respect, no matter what I do in life. We put so much emphasis on what other people do in life. There are a lot of rich people in this world who are often arrogant and selfish. Yet, the doctors and lawyers in this world are treated better than the most giving people. When we die, the majority of our friends and family will remember the type of person we were. Our titles and professions will not be how we are remembered.
I don’t want a title to define me. So 10 years from now I can’t make any promises about what I will be doing; hopefully I will have a published book. Maybe I will have started a successful business. What I can promise is that every decision will be my own. I won’t be living in someone else’s shadow. So now, when I do something that is wrong or say something that is disagreeable, I hope that I’m not going to be told, “C’mon on you went to college.” If they say this, I might just say, “And you didn’t.”
Kiara Morgan is a writer, who has been published in Blavity, For Harriet and Adore Colour. Her writing usually shines light on the complexity of African-Americans and the need for proper representation in the media. You can follow her on Facebook or on Twitter.
Michelle Obama inspires us from our living room or our television screens. So it comes as no surprise that meeting her in person might just change your life. That’s what happened with “The Real” host Tamar Braxton when she sat down with FLOTUS for a special episode where the co-hosts made their way to the White House.
By the time Braxton left the building, she decided she was ready for a life altering change. She posted this message on her Instagram.
If you have been inspired like Tamar or have been making plans to go back to school for a while now, here are some things you need to know.
It’s scary for everybody
Whether you’re entering college as a pimply faced 17-year-old or a the 57-year-old who has college aged kids of her own, going to school for the first time or returning is often a daunting task. But that should never keep you from accomplishing your goals. The point is to know that you’re not alone in your fear. But the desire for knowledge and self improvement should be greater than the doubts in your head.
Hone your focus
One advantage you might have over the younger students, as you return to college–or go for the first time– is that you might have already experienced all the partying that will enthrall and entrap the young ones. I’m not saying don’t turn up or get it poppin’, but remember why you came. Make sure you’re majoring in something you actually enjoy and will utilize once you leave school so you don’t waste time or money.
Your real world experiences can work for you
The experience you have in “the real world,” in the workforce, with varying personality types are all tools you can use while working toward your degree. As the saying goes, nothing from your life will be wasted. Use your experiences to not only give you a leg up in academia but also as a way to help other students who may not have had those same experiences.
Don’t be scared to ask for help
Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you know everything. No one does. And as much as we all know and understand this universal fact, it can be difficult to humble yourself when you’re the one who doesn’t know something. But now is not the time for pride to take over, love. Put it to the side. Remember the ultimate goal is graduating. Let nothing stand in the way of that. When you cross that stage, then you can let pride cook for a little bit.
Know what you want your degree to do for you
Do you want to earn your degree just to prove that you can do it and then go back to the status quo once you’ve crossed that stage? Do you want to completely change your career path or just pick up a few more skills so there is more opportunity for advancement? Whatever your goal, be very clear about it when you enter. Things might change along the way but then you should shift accordingly. The point is, if you go in unsure, it’s easy to look at all the money you’re spending, the difficulties and all the effort you’re exerting and become discouraged. Be clear with yourself about why you’re there.
Those of you who have returned to school as an adult, chime in! What lessons or pieces of advice would you give to those trying to get their education at a later age?
John Singleton’s Son Launches Go Fund Me To Pay For College…Are Parents Obligated To Pay Their Child’s Tuition?
I had a good friend who, after our freshmen year of college, learned that her parents would no longer be paying for her education. She was on her own. They hadn’t lost their jobs. In fact they were doing quite well financially. And, as far as I knew, she hadn’t done anything to displease them. She’d done well her first year. But for one reason or another, her parents felt it was time she stand on her own two feet and pay for school. So she had to take out some additional loans and work a part time job in addition to her coursework.
And while she made it, graduating a semester earlier than the rest of us, I know it wasn’t easy.
Apparently, my friend is not the only one facing this type of challenge.
Director John Singleton’s son, Maasai, has created a Go Fund Me page to help finance his last semester of college.
“So I’m using Go Fund Me to get tuition for the final semester because I was fortunate enough to be helped by my father up to this point but I need to make it this last semester on my own. And the timing of this information is such that I’m not eligible for a lot of financial aid options.”
In an update for the page, Maasai writes that he was denied for a Sallie Mae student loan because he doesn’t have an established credit history of his own. So this means he applied without a cosigner.
I don’t want to be all up in the Singleton family business, but since Maasai is appealing for money, I do wonder why.
Is this some type of test to prove that Maasai can make it on his own in the real world? Is John trying to teach his song about the ways in which less privileged children live? I don’t get it. Perhaps this was Maasai’s idea. Maybe the two had a falling out and now the elder Singleton is forcing his son to come up with nearly $30,000.
It’s all strange to me.
I get parents not being able to pay for a child’s education. I even understand the merits and character paying for your own schooling will allow some people. What I don’t understand is leading your children to believe you’re going to be taking care of the bill only to spring a surprise on them later.
But that’s just me. I only know how my parents and I financed my education. They paid and I took out loans to make it happen.
Perhaps some of you have a different experience.
Did your parents stop paying for school at some point, before you graduated? Did they give a reason? Were you able to make ends meet and pay tuition or did you have to drop out?
In the case of John Singleton and his son, should people give to him, knowing his father has the means to pay for at least some of his schooling?
What do you think?
I am almost at 30. I have crossed the midway point, and I’m now in that weird space where I feel like I should have myself together, but also like I might have a little time left. The pressure is slowly building up, and I’m doing everything I can to avoid it.
Two degrees later with a job and a growing brand, I find myself at a standstill when it comes to finding love. I often meet a lot of guys who seem nice at first, but then it always ends in them not being ready or just flaky. A majority of my friends are getting engaged, married or celebrating longevity in their relationships, and I’m just here trying to make it last longer than a month with someone.
I find that most of my friends “locked down” their significant other in college. I watch their growth and saw them go from classmates to dating and into committed relationships, and I’m left wondering, did I miss the mark? Was I supposed to find a husband while I was in college?
I wasn’t a social person in college until I got midway through and began to join clubs, a sports team and even a sorority. I knew people and people knew me. I had guys eyeing me, but I didn’t give them a chance because I was still trying to make it work with a guy I met in high school. I entered into that new stage of my life with a guy from my past, and that kept me from getting to know the men around me.
I went through undergrad and graduate school and as my friends grew in their relationships, I still found myself searching. How hard could it have been to find someone perfect for me in college? I didn’t have any serious obligations other than class and the organizations I had committed myself to. Now, as a working adult, I barely have time for myself let alone planning dates and being with a guy. I often sit and think maybe if I had found him in college when I had a little more freedom with my time, I would be at that point where I’m celebrating milestones and longevity despite the time constraints. I’m still young, but for anyone else who’s single and tired of searching, have you ever just thought that you wanted a commitment, you want something long-term, but you’re just at that place where you wished it were possible to skip the formalities? You’re at that point where you want to say, “If we’re gonna do this thing, let’s just do it and be committed to it”?
I can’t help but believe that if I could go back to those carefree college days and do it all over again, I would be more proactive in my own love life in addition to focusing on my academics. I would walk away from college with a solid career and a solid relationship with someone I could see myself marrying. Did I really miss the mark or am I overthinking all of this?
Many of us know the struggle of being a college student or are experiencing it right now as we speak. In particular, the financial burdens of college are plenty and heavy. Between paying tuition while you’re enrolled and paying off student loans upon graduation, many are left in whopping debt that forever (or until you pay it off) looms over your head like a rain cloud.
A recent report by American multinational investment banking firm Goldman Sachs suggests that the expense of a college degree is increasing to the point that it might not be worth the money anymore. “The average return on going to college is falling,” Goldman researchers wrote, and “many students are better off not going to mediocre colleges — ones that rank in the bottom 25% of all universities.”
Goldman also broke down the how exactly a college degree doesn’t pay itself off or even break even. The investment banking firm found that in 2010, the average college student had to work 8 years to break even on their bachelor’s degree investment– they’d be nearly 30 years old.
Goldman also offered projections of breaking even for future graduates:
— 2015 graduates won’t break even until age 31
— 2030 graduates won’t break even until age 33
— 2050 graduates won’t break even until age 37
However, Goldman did also note that the payback time varies widely by major, as some degrees are more valuable than others. “The choice of college and major are more important than ever to students given the changing return profile,” writes Goldman. In particular, students who also attend top-tier universities and major in business, health care and teach, regularly have higher salaries. “Graduates studying lower paying majors such as arts, education and psychology face the highest risk of a negative return,” notes Goldman. “For them, college may not increasingly be worth it.”
For myself, who has now been out of college for a year and a half and graduated with a B.A. in Print Journalism/Film Analysis, college was a great experience. I can attest to the fact that my friends and peers who did study in fields like health and business got jobs and way higher salaries than I did straight out of college. However, the experience and knowledge I learned along the way equipped me with the skills to get out in the real world and find a way to make a living off of writing — my true passion.
So, would I say that college isn’t worth it? Yes and no. The amount of loans I have to pay off are a headache and a real pain in the a**, but for someone like myself who loves learning and believe in making do with what I have, I understand the trade-off.
What do you think?
Did we ever mention how much we’re going to miss The Obama’s in the White House? For many reasons, of course, but specifically for the flyness that is First Lady Michelle Obama.
Reason #48573: FLOTUS has teamed up with CollegeHumor to create a music video encouraging teens to go to college, regardless of their career path, and MC Michelle even has her own verse on the song.
“Southside Chicago, we all know, we had to do overtime every night to make it tomorrow,” Obama raps as a throwback graduation photo of her appears next to her recording the song. “And everyone could really make their dream true. Hey, kid listenin’ in Michigan that could be you!”
That’s her only solo verse, but Michelle also sings on the chorus: “go to college” and “fill your head with knowledge,” while dancing on the White House lawn and belting out rhymes in a makeshift recording studio set up inside of her home.
Not to be outdone by one of the most recognizable women in the world is Saturday Night Live actor Jay Pharaoh (who often impersonates President Barack Obama in his skits) who rhymes and dances all over the White House grounds.
According to a statement from the Office of the First Lady, the music video collaboration is in support of Mrs. Obama’s Better Make Room public awareness campaign, which launched last month as part of her Reach Higher initiative.
“This campaign is leveraging traditional and new media platforms to celebrate student stories in the same way that we often celebrate celebrities and athletes,” the statement reads. “Better Make Room strives to ensure that Generation Z, or young people 14-19, understand the steps, tools, and resources available to help them Reach Higher.”