All Articles Tagged "college"
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.”
In light of the happenings at Mizzou and other college campuses around the U.S., it was ignorantly implied over the last few weeks that the solution would be for the students to “just come on back home.” Or in other words, just attend a Historically Black Campus and University (HBCU). But that suggestion does nothing more than sweep the issues of racism and a lack of campus diversity under the rug, only for things to bubble up and have to be dealt with down the road.
I didn’t attend an HBCU. In fact, I attended a state university, a predominantly White school. I grew up in Trenton, New Jersey where about 50 percent of the population is Black. For all I, and other residents knew, it was just a Black city. Not Haitian, Jamaican or filled with proud cultures–just Black. And the other 50 percent of the city is Hispanic. Not Puerto Rican, Dominican–just Hispanic. You get it.
In Trenton, there is only ONE high school. It’s the same high school my mom went to, as well as my aunts and my uncles. The population of Blacks and Hispanics were about the same in the high school as they were in the city. An even divide of families living well below the poverty line and some fortunate enough to just make it over. This was my whole life.
Growing up in Trenton with little Black kids in elementary school to pre-pubescent Black kids in middle school and adolescent Black kids in high school, to me and my friends, I was just Black, and everyone was just Black or Hispanic. We had adopted the notion that if we saw White people in this urban city, it was for three reasons: either they worked here, they were poor like everyone else, or they sold drugs in the area but didn’t live in it. Trenton just wasn’t that diverse.
So naturally, by the time I made it to my senior year in high school, all of my teachers and some guidance counselors who were Black (and Greeks) tried to persuade me to go to a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). So I applied. I filled out an application for Howard University, Shaw University, and Elizabeth City State University, but none of them were where I really wanted to go because, honestly, with my mindset at that time, I was tired of being surrounded by Black people all day every day. My rationale was that I wanted more diversity in my life. I wanted to experience other cultures and travel abroad like in the stories I’d heard. You know, the stories where high school alumni come back and speak to the graduating seniors and share tales of how they spent their spring break overseas in some place like India or China with a roommate’s family? I decided I wasn’t going to go to an HBCU. My parents didn’t really care since neither of them went to college. And at the end of the day, they just wanted me to go to college, didn’t matter which one as long as we could afford it.
And despite the fact that so many people were advocating for me to attend an HBCU, I found it ironic that I got the most money in financial aid and scholarships from PWIs.
So in August of 2007, I packed my bags and traveled about 60 miles to Rutgers University in Newark. And despite the sea of White faces, it was there where I developed Black pride. I didn’t realize how much western whitewashing had brainwashed me from grades K-12, so I went into this PWI with my white-washed glasses on. I felt bamboozled when I really started to learn the history of my people and the history of others. It was at Rutgers that I learned how to appreciate the different threads of blackness, the different threads of being Hispanic, the different threads of being Asian. I learned that people were more than just what I called them back in Trenton: Black or Hispanic or Asian. There were some serious levels to this sh-t.
There was a Haitian Student Association, a West Indian Student Association, a Black Student Organization, an Organization of African Students, a Filipino Student Association and a South Asian Student Group. The list went on! All organizations meant to teach, embrace culture, and provide a place of comfort amongst people who look the same. I was so in love with it all and I wanted to be a part of it so bad. I wanted to learn more about being Black and all its intricacies. I wanted to learn about everybody. There was a sense of pride and unity that developed amongst the students of the African diaspora and I was a part of creating and nurturing that culture on my campus. I loved attending Rutgers, and I learned so much about myself and others culturally. I don’t believe I would have had such an experience at an HBCU. But that’s just my perspective.
People ask why I chose Rutgers over Shaw or Howard and I think of an interview with James Baldwin in a 1977 issue of the New York Times where he states, “A lot of young American’s white or black, rich or poor, have wanted to get away, as a means of getting closer to themselves.” Ain’t that the truth?
He discussed how he had to leave his people and travel thousands of miles away with nothing but $40 in order to better assess what was happening and why, to better understand. And that’s why I believe that I attended a PWI, and I don’t regret it. Because I couldn’t have felt more pride watching Blacks and all of the diaspora coming together as a unified body on campus in times of crisis, leading a revolution in a place that wasn’t built to understand us. And yet, we MADE them understand us. We made our presence known. We made an impact.
If someone says or does something you don’t agree with, what is your reaction? Do you shrug your shoulders in a let’s-agree-to-disagree kind of way, or do you write them off — never to give them another chance?
When it comes to colleges, President Obama believes the more differing viewpoints, the greater the opportunity for discussion. In fact, he thinks those campuses turn away speakers because students don’t agree with their views are, in many ways, doing a disservice to themselves.
Much of his sentiments about the matter are in an article on the Vanity Fair website that reveals POTUS isn’t always down with being politically correct.
I’ve heard of some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative. Or they don’t want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African Americans, or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women.
I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of views.
Should college campuses stop being so PC and turn away individuals — and anything else for that matter — that don’t align with their values, or beliefs? Is there no room at the table for those to serve up an opposing viewpoint? Ideally, the answer seems simple: Allow for others to express their opinions — and if you don’t like it, don’t attend the next event. At least if you hear or read something you don’t agree with, you can use it to fuel your argument.
Then again what can be said about certain individuals who some believe have crossed the line?
Is it reasonable to say individuals like Donald Trump who referred to Mexicans as thugs and rapists — not to mention, continues to disrespect women time and time again — get banned from a campuses who don’t need to hear anything else about what he stands on certain issues? Or should he still receive an invitation in the mail just because he has a “conservative viewpoint” (I use that term lightly as not all conservatives agree with Trump) that needs to be studied more in depth? Or what about a figure like Bill Cosby who has yet to be found guilty of the crimes he’s been accused of, but admits to more than questionable behavior? Are students “coddled” for not wanting him at their school?
Even though President Obama was talking about political views, you have to wonder if the sentiments of banning a speaker for the sake of political correctness translate elsewhere. Given most public speakers require a fee, or some sort of financial incentive, should an institution’s money fund that individual’s agenda, or invite them with open arms for students to come to their own conclusions?
Where do you stand?
In addition to having an opinion on whether or not black lives matter, it seems there’s also some discussion about historically black colleges and universities — and whether or not they’re still relevant, or will survive for that matter. As you might expect, those outside “the community” have quite a bit to stay, but what’s interesting is this Newsweek article that heavily critiques another article and book that take jabs at the importance of HBCUs. What’s even more astonishing is both articles hail from Newsweek. Talk about keeping it real in the workplace.
Three authors have no problem going toe-to-toe with a fellow colleague who constantly tries to make the assumption that HBCUs will be a thing of the past, and has come to a crossroads where a lack of funding will make them extinct. Fighting point by point, Felecia, Andrés and Marybeth debunk common generalizations about black institutions that will hopefully encourage more to purse their higher education at one of these historic establishments.
Simply put, HBCUs have proven to be resilient and continue to stand the test of time. Whether dealing with limited funding and resources, or working to serve those who don’t come from pedigree, there are plenty of reasons why a historically black college or university might appear to be on the outs — but that doesn’t automatically make it doomed to fail.
One of the biggest areas this article highlights is something opposing authors failed to realize: Prejudice and racism can affect perception. It’s clear as day that Alexander Nazaryan (author of the Newsweek article in question) feels HBCUs miss the mark when stacked up against PWIs (predominately white institutions), but what he doesn’t seem to understand is that his constant criticism further reiterates the sentiment that everyone needs to fall in line with a “white standard” — as if that’s a desirable end game for everyone who wants to obtain a college degree.
Whether or not you believe HBCUs are still relevant is your opinion. Assuming all will have a negative financial fate based on one or two colleges, however, can be a damaging generalization. Who knows what the answer is, but it’s certainly not some finger waging comparison to ivy league institutions that singles out HBCUs, when the average non-black college or university would have a tough time meeting the same thresholds.
What do you think about HBCUs?
Student loan debt is no joke as many millennials look for ways to pay back their IOU for advancing their education. One can only hope there’s a great job in your forecast with a chance of promotion or high earning potential so you stay on top of those monthly bills.
They say kids are smarter than ever these days because of all the access they have to technology and that appears to be true as college students look to crowdfund their education. Yes, you heard right: College students today are taking to sites like GoFundMe to get others to finance their education — without strings or repayments — and are unashamed.
Honestly, I’m not too surprised considering all the stuff you see on crowdfunding sites these days. Even celebrities have used them to finance upcoming projects that had some giving the side eye. So Should college students be any different?
It’s one thing if you’re ambitious and don’t have access to any financial means of attending college (i.e. denied a loan because your parents have really bad credit), but it’s a completely different story in my book to try and solely rely on the kindness of others to get you through those four years (in some cases two).
Perhaps Uncle Sam and other institutions should take note of this growing trend and rethink some of their own practices. College tuition has grown a bit out of hand, to say the least, so much so that it’s no longer makes a realistic option for some to even consider. Couple that with grants and scholarships drying up and you have a very serious problem — one prospective students are trying to remedy with crowdfunding.
My younger sister is now in her junior year of college. Thankfully it’s completely financed thanks to her high school hustle to maintain a desirable GPA for her university’s honors program. Considering I dang near researched my finger tips off trying to scrounge up enough scholarships to make my dreams real (I had good grades but apparently not her luck), I personally wouldn’t want my sis to try and get an education off the assumption someone else will pay for it.
Now who am I to say a student can’t raise money however they can? If people believe in your goals and want to help pay for them, by all means, do you boo boo. But that doesn’t automatically make me kosher with the idea when you consider others use crowdfunding to pay for those they’re unable to bury due to lack of insurance — or super expensive medical procedures. I guess that’s actually the beauty of crowdfunding sites, you get to pick and choose who you want to support. *Kanye shrug*
What do you think about using crowdfunding sites to pay for college? Nothing wrong or overstepping boundaries of kindness?