Blog Everyday In May – Day 16 – Hating on the system

Day 16, Thursday: Something difficult about your “lot in life” and how you’re working to overcome it

My Day 15 post isn’t up yet because I didn’t have time to edit pictures yesterday! It was more eventful than I had expected, haha.

Now the expected cliche rant for today’s post would have been my lot in life as a brown girl but I think iisuperwomanii‘s Youtube channel has that covered! Her videos are fantastic to understand the plight of brown girls everywhere! I’ll leave the ranting to the expert!

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But hey, I’m not talking ’bout that! Here’s my response instead:

Every person belongs in different groups. I’m not sure what ‘lot in life’ this prompt is talking about, it’s another ambiguous one that makes me wish the person posting the prompts had sort of thought them through better, but I don’t think even she was expecting it to blow up the way that it did.

What lot in life is this referring to? My religion? My finances? My educational? Career? Gender? Relationship status? WHAT LOT OF LIFE DO YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT, HMM!?

I guess if I’m being given the freedom to pick a lot I want to talk about I’ll choose to talk about some of the difficulties I’ve faced being an Indian woman part of a middle-class family. “Middle class” is the worst place to be – you are too proud and not poor enough to accept or receive government help. At the same time, you’re not fortunate enough not to need it. It’s a pretty crappy place to be with the way our system works because if we were any poorer, we’d have it easy with the welfare, stamps, free college, and need-based scholarships. Any richer and we would be comfortably living without needing them. As it is though, we are middle class and face the consequences of a lot of hard work with very little payoff.

I have found it difficult to see students in college receiving so much financial aid solely on their financial status. In fact, I felt pretty offended and took it personally when I came across a student at NYU’s Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) paying pennies per semester to attend and live at NYU while my middle-class parents were scrounging and pinching pennies to afford my tuition. I understand helping the financially needy, that’s not my problem. The problem is how blindsided the government becomes in that situation. Those HEOP kids getting the full scholarships had dismal SAT scores, GPA’s, and resumes compared to many of the middle-class kids spending all their savings and taking out loans to pay their way.

It bothers me that there is such privilege given just for being under a certain income level. If a child is smart, whether middle-class, rich, or poor, they deserve the same scholarship. If you’re telling me that the girl with a 1700 SAT score deserves a full ride and my 2000+ score does not, I’m personally offended. If you tell me that because a mediocre student has managed the great feat of graduating high school in a poor neighborhood, they suddenly deserve free housing and a stipend to pay for their books, it is not okay. 

I haven’t quite overcome my difficulty of accepting that this is how things are. It’s just inherently wrong in my eyes to deny a richer person a full scholarship they deserve more than the poor person who got it. You know what? A middle class student is taking out loans to pay for college because they can’t afford it even with the measly scholarship they got. Just to watch the kid from the bad neighborhood attend college for free, goof off during college, postpone graduation, and get worse scores than them.

I see the other perspective and I’m all for giving an underprivileged child opportunity. When it comes at the expense of academically deserving children though, it gets me pissed. If I had the same scores as that HEOP kid, I deserve the same amount of scholarship as them. If I had better scores, it’s ridiculously backwards and unfair for me to take out college loans, watch the “poorer kids” with the poor scores get more money than me,  and struggle to make tuition payments because I feel guilty asking my middle class parents for money when we are barely scraping by. I HAD THE BETTER SCORES. I worked my ass off to get them. And if the girl with the 3.5 GPA and 1750 SAT is getting a full ride, I damn well think I should be too.

I will try to remain open-minded to discussion on opposing points. If you feel otherwise, don’t hesitate to say so – I’m looking forward to the debate and hope that somebody can prove to me that the phenomenon I’ve described is okay. I want to be more accepting but can’t find it in my bitter heart to do that just yet. I’ve struggled a lot more because my parents were over the “poor” person income threshold, and subsequently have had it harder than the kids whose parents met that threshold and got everything for free. It’s all so backwards to me. Like telling somebody that they’ve been too privileged thus far so they’re going to give all that excess privilege to somebody else who was underprivileged but as a result, leave you feeling underprivileged. Like wtf. Am I making sense? Do you guys understand?

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13 thoughts on “Blog Everyday In May – Day 16 – Hating on the system

  1. Pingback: Blog Everyday In May – Day 22 – Preach | Controlled Derangement

  2. While I have similar frustrations as you re: financial aid, I would urge you to be VERY careful when using the phrase “reverse racism”. Why? Because what you are describing frustration towards financial situations, that while correlated with race, are not solely based on race. There are plenty of low-income Italians from Staten Island receiving full tuition at NYU.

    I am in for maybe 40-50k, not sure yet what the total will be. But until our public education system can separate the effects of poverty on education, the aid given to college applicants of lower finances will be based on the idea that if they achieved “all that” without aid, imagine what they could do with it.

    I know for a fact that people in my high school who were rich enough to hire tutors would do so if they needed help on a subject matter. After second grade, I was on my own in everything regarding schoolwork. While I certainly believe I busted my ass from the get-go, I know that some higher-income kids did not. That lack of work ethic was helped by external actors, and that is where our public education system starts to splinter due to economics.

    The financial system comes in too late to try to retroactively correct these discrepancies, and it is unfortunately the only way our country knows how to handle that problem. It sucks, but I really don’t think anything will change until our public education gets rehauled.

    My two cents!

    • This is why I didn’t use the term in my original response though I thought it up then….it feels almost ‘like’ reverse racism in my discussion comment, but I completely understand that correlation is not causation. The outcome/effects of the system are what FELT like reverse racism, the idea that the standard of achievement should be lowered for those in the minority…that’s what feels unfair. But you are right, there are also non-minority students that receive aid based on lowered academic expectations.

      I never had tutoring either! Maybe we could have afforded it, but luckily for my parents, I loved learning and never really needed somebody. I guess being super nerdy/hard-working has changed my opinion on things like that a little bit…just because a person couldn’t afford tutoring, the academic expectations shouldn’t be lowered. If they had a learning disability or just didn’t literally have the time (due to working to fulfill financial obligations, etc), I can understand. But those other things like tutoring and prep classes are luxuries that shouldn’t determine a student’s potential. Lack of worth ethic is something that permeates through both class and race distinctions, so financial aid shouldn’t need to correct for that.

  3. Ugh I so get what you are talking about! Like omg I know a few ppl who get pretty much full bursary because of their financial situations and I honestly don’t think they need all of it and at the same time I qualify for none because my parents earn a good living, but the thing is we are immigrants and we recently bought an apartment and is paying off the mortgage, so a whole chunk of that income is going straight to that!

    • Exactly! The middle class may have more money than the poor but they have a shitload more expenses too because the government isn’t helping them with everything! And it’s even easier to be upset about it when the kids receiving the full aid don’t deserve it academically 😦

  4. That video is right.. fb prob should come with pepper spray haha. Some of my friends told me about creepy older guys from different countries bothering them on it! Anyway about the other thing, I used to complain a lot about that too xD Since SUNY is a lot cheaper and I don’t get financial aid, my dad was able to help me with some semesters but I took out the rest in loans.. My big bro already read my future “You’re going to be loan slave.” Funny though, I used to be much more bitter about it in high school but now I don’t care too much. Kinda just accepted it as it is. I’m not into education reform or anything xD I totally get why it is the way it is though. Universities are entirely a business. I’d have preferred it if it was like other countries, where you enter university after 10th grade, and getting into schools depended entirely on exams and not money. But it’s not government run, plus they force you to take “cores” that aren’t concise to your career mostly (for me they were pretty much a waste of time, I’d have preferred doing just career-based. I feel 12 credits of science feels more like taking 20 credits. I just really don’t like the credit system and it could have been more spread out :/ )

    But.. yep. The thing is though with all the loans & stuff and being more in-touch with the real world than in hs, I really don’t want my family to be poor. Because it seems really easy to become a poorer class after uni..

    • YEAH THAT LAST BIT IS SO TRUE (I’m going to work my way upwards from this) – it’s a stupid system where the middle-class don’t get financial aid for not being poor enough, pour in their savings, and come out with loans while effectively crippling their family into a poorer class and making it that much harder for them to work their way up. Wheareas now the kids with the full rides and lower scores are totally at an advantage. That’s not equality, that’s just switching one inequality out for another.

      I think that despite my bitterness, I am incredibly lucky to finish undergrad and grad school with no loans – it is a feat for which I thank my parents every day (Okay the grad part is all me, but still). So the bitterness doesn’t even stem for being a loan slave myself, it’s through genuine passionate hatred that this is the way things are 😦

      Haha I get skype friend requests & fb friend requests from random fobby Indians (or bots?) like ALL THE TIME so I’ve had to tweak my fb privacy settings extensively to flush them all out. They’re so creepy too with their “He& bby ur lkin so s3xiii”

      I swear third world countries are not only behind developmentally, but also in the improvements to chatspeak since we stopped being in 7th grade….

      • Yeah I think you’re winning, because I don’t think you will be in huge debt from school! At least not what I’m seeing so far! hahaha oh gosh. D’you think they’re really bots? I don’t even know how they find random girls to stalk, seriously.

      • Yeah who the heck knows what goes through their heads. People who lack proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation in their everyday lives (I don’t mean making typos, I mean that’s just how they talk) are weird…?

  5. Oh my gosh, I thought I was the only one that felt this way!!! I have thought about this ever since high school (I graduated from college last year). I come from a middle-class family, and I was always denied financial aid just because we weren’t “poor enough”. Meanwhile, many of my high school peers who were Hmong and hispanic received full-ride scholarships to Ivy league schools and higher-ranked public schools. Nevermind my 4.29 GPA, community service, 4 years in a varsity sport, taking a 6 AP classes, and playing a musical instrument…nope. I guess i just wasn’t a minority and I wasn’t “poor enough”. The FAFSA always expected my parents to contribute basically their entire life savings and whatever else they make (truly an impossible task), but the FAFSA allows other people who make slightly less money to basically get a full ride or at least take out enough loans to cover everything. It’s like the saying goes: “too rich for financial aid, too poor to pay for college”. It makes me furious, and even though I understand that poor people have a lot of challenges to overcome, I still feel like I’ve worked my butt off and I get slapped in the face with “you’re too rich to get any help”. I’m Caucasian so I feel extra “tension” since I’m not a minority…but that’s another subject for itself. I’m currently applying to medical school and I’ve looked through the national average GPAs and MCAT scores for accepted black/hispanic/minority students, and they are SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER compared to asians/caucasians/indians. How is that fair? Why is their bar set “lower” than everyone else’s? Shouldn’t “equality for all” mean that we’re all competing on the same playing field and not being evaluated just based on our “underprivileged” status? I just don’t get it, and I don’t think I ever will. My dad says that “life just isn’t fair”…and I think that’s just something I have to deal with.

    • YOU ARE RIGHT sista, preach ❤ It's almost like reverse racism – because they are a minority, they cannot possibly achieve the same things non-minorities do, so every little bit (Oh, you passed all of your finals this year? OMG CONGRATS HERE IS A TROPHY AND 5 NEWSPAPER ARTICLES) has to be lauded. That's not fair that the standards are lowered and the prizes are better. I completely completely wholeheartedly agree with your take on equality for all and feel that the financial aid system is completely getting it wrong. I just graduated college last year too and it was 4 years of STRUGGLE, finances-wise. The underperforming "poor kids" with full scholarships are honestly just enjoying the money. I've got a friend who is in no rush to graduate because HEOP has made her life so easy. She could freakin stay in college for 6 years and they would pay her full tuition, housing, meal plan for all of it.

      They do lower their expectations and show greater leniency to minorities and I don't know how it will happen, but it needs to change 😦

  6. Amen. You are absolutely making sense. I was a victim of the broken system as well. Not rich by a long shot, but not quite poor enough either. I have no idea how it can be fixed, but a solution is long overdue. Found your blog through the link up, so glad I stopped by.

    • From the hundreds you could have chosen Allison, I feel so honored! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting 🙂 I was in your boat – not rich by any means, but certainly not poor and thankful for it. The problem, I think, is that need-based aid is one thing, but awarding full scholarships to people who wouldn’t otherwise qualify academically is unfair. In my opinion, a ‘fix’ that would help would be only distributing need-based aid after the person qualified for merit based aid. So if 2 people are equally stellar but one can afford to pay more, then it’s still not as bitter that one got more need-based aid. But when they are poor AND subpar academically AND unappreciative, it just really makes my blood boil!

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