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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Hurricane Sandy

Hi everybody!! The East Coast has been battling Hurricane Sandy (But mostly its aftereffects) this week, and my suburban New Hyde Park, NY is no exception! The MTA shut down Sunday evening in preparation for the storm and my own home lost power Monday just after noon (I think it was between 1 and 2 PM)! With that loss of power, unfortunately, there was also the loss of heat and hot water as our new water heater requires some power to function 😦

As if that wasn’t bad enough, a rather large tree fell across the street in my neighbor’s front yard…while my brother and I were there! (We’re close friends with the family there) In fact, my friend and my brother had been contemplating a quick CVS run to stock up on candy and other noms and were about to step off the front porch when they saw the tree fall and quickly ran backwards JUST in time to avoid being injured!

The tree brought down a lamppost and a lot of power lines, including the ones that run across the street to our house. I know my block still has no power but even if they do restore power to my area, there are a LOT of fallen trees and tangled power lines that need to be fixed before we can have power.

I’m not sure if it was because of that tree or the 2-3 others that fell along my street, but our cable/internet/phone lines seem to have gone down as well so at the moment, my house is in a pretty bad deadzone as far as technology goes. (Oh right, haven’t mentioned yet, but no AT&T coverage in my area right now as well. It’s usually spotty but atm it’s just gone)

Let’s recap – No power, heat, hot water, internet, cable, phone, cell phone, OR LIFE. Argh!

I’m at my Uncle’s home tonight because I wanted to check my LSAT score (They were supposed to release earlier this week, by Wednesday) but got online only to discover that the release has been delayed to tomorrow. Boooo.

But I am taking advantage of the power and internet access to charge my laptop, write blog posts (You’ll see another one up in a few hours, scheduled to be posted in the morning), check my email, and download hw files for next week.

And also email Professors and inquire what’s going on with our syllabus and what exactly is due next week.

Because ahora, yo no se nada!

Character Building

It’s that weird mid-semester slump where we’ve all finished our round 1 stories and are beginning to brainstorm ideas for our second (and hopefully a little longer, around 20 pages or so) round of stories.

To that effect, this week (for class on Wednesday) our Creative Writing teacher has asked us to pinpoint a weakness that we found in our workshops from our first stories and write a piece focusing on improving that one aspect of our writing.

To be more specific, one of my weaknesses was that I don’t follow the “Show, don’t tell” rule of writing and try to tell my readers what is happening rather than show them. So I’m going to try to write something that avoids that creative writing blunder.

How, I’m not sure, but let’s see how it goes. Nabila, you wanted me to keep you updated, so there you go. Find a specific aspect of your writing you want to improve on, and then write a piece where you try to improve on it. It’d be cool to later blog about how that whole process went for you if you’d like.

Odour of Chrysanthemums

Today, I bought a bar of Mulberry Leaf and Chrysanthemum Soap between class on a whim. Coincidentally, today we’re reading an exerpt from D.H. Lawrence’s Odour of Chrysanthemums in class! I want to share it with you – the scene is set so vividly!

ORIGINAL STORY SOURCE HERE – http://homepage.ntlworld.com/chris.thorns/resources/ShortStory/Odour_of_Chrysanthemums.pdf

Below’s the little excerpt from class, I really want to keep reading! Maybe tonight I’ll revisit the link myself and read the rest 🙂

The small locomotive engine, Number 4, came clanking, stumbling down from Selston with seven full waggons. It appeared round the corner with loud threats of speed, but the colt that it startled from among the gorse, which still flickered indistinctly in the raw afternoon, outdistanced it at a canter. A woman, walking up the railway line to Underwood, drew back into the hedge, held her basket aside, and watched the footplate of the engine advancing. The trucks thumped heavily past, one by one, with slow inevitable movement, as she stood insignificantly trapped between the jolting black waggons and the hedge; then they curved away towards the coppice where the withered oak leaves dropped noiselessly, while the birds, pulling at the scarlet hips beside the track, made off into the dusk that had already crept into the spinney. In the open, the smoke from the engine sank and cleaved to the rough grass. The fields were dreary and forsaken, and in the marshy strip that led to the whimsey, a reedy pit-pond, the fowls had already abandoned their run among the alders, to roost in the tarred fowl-house. The pit-bank loomed up beyond the pond, flames like red sores licking its ashy sides, in the afternoon’s stagnant light. Just beyond rose the tapering chimneys and the clumsy black head-stocks of Brinsley Colliery. The two wheels were spinning fast up against the sky, and the winding-engine rapped out its little spasms. The miners were being turned up.

The engine whistled as it came into the wide bay of railway lines beside the colliery, where rows of trucks stood in harbour.

Miners, single, trailing and in groups, passed like shadows diverging home. At the edge of the ribbed level of sidings squat a low cottage, three steps down from the cinder track. A large bony vine clutched at the house, as if to claw down the tiled roof. Round the bricked yard grew a few wintry primroses. Beyond, the long garden sloped down to a bush-covered brook course. There were some twiggy apple trees, winter-crack trees, and ragged cabbages. Beside the path hung dishevelled pink chrysanthemums, like pink cloths hung on bushes. A woman came stooping out of the felt-covered fowl-house, half-way down the garden. She closed and padlocked the door, then drew herself erect, having brushed some bits from her white apron.

HW – Week 2

Social Choice & Politics
[ ] Tuesday: Individual Preferences and Rationality; Analyzing Politics, chapter 2
[ ] Thursday: Voting Rules. Social Choice Functions; Analyzing Politics, chapter 7

Human Rights
[X] Tuesday: Human Rights in International Law, Chapter 2 DONE! 9/10 @ 1:30AM
[ ] Thursday: “Not by Bread Alone . . . but not without bread either.”
[ ] Thursday: “The Full-Belly Thesis: Should Economic Rights Take Priority over Civil and Political Rights? Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa,”

Literature & The English Language (Thursday)
[ ] Deformance and Interpretation
[ ] Hot-Air Textuality
[ ] The Alice Fallacy
[ ] The End of the Irrelevant Text

Creative Writing Advanced Fiction Workshop
[X] Wednesday: Read + comment on 2 stories from the week

OTHER STUFF
[ ] First DAC General Meeting – Thursday @ 7:30
[ ] Meeting with Professor Gilman – Wednesday @ 2:00

101 Things To Do Before You Graduate NYU

  • ✔ See a Broadway show
  • ✔ Run a lap on the rooftop track of Coles
  • ✔ Read the Washington Square News
  • ✔ Take a nap in the Kimmel Center
  • ✔ Take a walk through Central Park
  • Hug John Sexton
  • ✔ Drink Coffee at Starbucks on the Square
  • ✔ Go to a Commuter Luncheon on a Tuesday
  • ✔ Buy movie and concert tickets at Ticket Central
  • ✔ Walk through a movie shoot on the street
  • ✔ Kiss the Bobcat
  • ✔ Ride the NYU Trolley
  • Take a course at Coles or Palladium
  • ✔ Read a book in Washington Square Park
  • ✔ Meet “Albert”
  • ✔ Attend a student performance
  • ✔ Work an unpaid internship
  • ✔ Visit the Wasserman Center for Career Development
  • ✔ Learn the name of an NYU Public Safely Officer
  • ✔ Set-up and use your NYU email
  • ✔ Join at least one listserve
  • ✔ Obtain an article of clothing that has “NYU” on it
  • ✔ Participate in a Community Service project
  • ✔ Meet your Student Senator Rep (Friends with him, worked at the Nassau County Courthouse with him. 1-upped that one)
  • ✔ Learn to do your laundry
  • ✔ Meet at least one undergraduate in each NYU school
  • Participate or cheer in NYU “Tear It Up!” events
  • Attend Violet Ball
  • ✔ Eat shortcake at the Strawberry Fest
  • ✔ Participate in AIDS Walk NYC
  • ✔ Attend a career fair
  • ✔ Buy a book from a street book vendor
  • ✔ Spend time with a professor outside of class (I took my professor cell phone shopping last May, no joke)
  • ✔ Take a Speaking Freely class
  • ✔ Ride the Staten Island Ferry
  • ✔ Go to a museum on free days
  • ✔ Go to President’s Welcome and Picnic
  • ✔ Use your NYU ID to get NYU and student discounts
  • ✔ Explain the Bobcat to non-NYU folk
  • Climb the rock wall at Palladium
  • ✔ Go to the top of Bobst Library and look down at the spiky floor
  • ✔ Go to an NYC street fair
  • Attend Grad Alley
  • ✔ Attend a culture event at Lincoln Center
  • ✔ Learn what CMEP stands for
  • ✔ Check out a book from the library
  • ✔ Talk to a Dean
  • ✔ Learn about five famous NYU Alums
  • ✔ Use Blackboard
  • ✔ See the Reality SHow
  • ✔ Be a tourist for a day
  • ✔ Use the Broke Student’s Guide
  • Visit Columbia University
  • ✔ Memorize the numbers for Public Safety and the Wellness Exchange
  • ✔ Shop on Canal Street
  • ✔ Ice skate at Wollman Rink
  • ✔ Visit the Union Square Farmer’s Market
  • ✔ Ride the subway
  • ✔ Go to the top of the Empire State Building
  • ✔ Find a famous landmark or location from a movie or television show
  • ✔ Visit another borough
  • ✔ Attend a Sexton Town Hall Meeting or Dinner
  • ✔ Attend Welcome Week and Back to the Square events
  • ✔ Attend a lecture or performance at Skirball Center
  • ✔ Ride the elevators in the Silver Center
  • ✔ Learn about the history of NYU
  • ✔ Read the Student’s Guide
  • ✔ Eat falafel from Mamoun’s
  • ✔ Get a slide of pizza from Pizza Mercado
  • ✔ Partake in the fare of Dojo’s
  • ✔ Help a tourist with directions
  • Go to a Yankee’s game
  • ✔ See a celebrity
  • ✔ Watch an NYC movie and count the number of places you’ve been to or recognize
  • ✔ Proofread a friend’s paper
  • ✔ Show off the campus and Village to a family member or friend
  • ✔ Try a different ethnic cuisine
  • ✔ Take advantage of Summer and Winter Restaurant Weeks
  • ✔ Go to an NYC parade
  • ✔ Visit the Health Center
  • ✔ Apply for a scholarship or grant
  • ✔ Use your Campus Cash
  • ✔ Watch $2 films courtesy of the Program Board’s Film Series
  • ✔ Watch NYU-TV
  • Listen to NYU-Radio
  • ✔ Learn the Alma Matter
  • ✔ Vote
  • Study Abroad
  • ✔ Take a break from studying at the library and watch a movie in the Avery Fischer Center
  • ✔ Take the subway to a neighborhood you’ve never visited
  • ✔ Get out of the city for a weekend
  • ✔ Go to a historic walking tour of an NYC neighborhood (Welcome Week, freshman year!!)
  • Play with toys from FAO Shwartz
  • ✔ Rent a rowboat in Central Park (Welcome Week, sophomore year!!)
  • ✔ Picnic in Fort Tryon Park and visit the Cloisters (I went there on a photography outing with my club!! That I will miss to death)
  • ✔ Eat hot dogs from Gray’s Papaya (I can’t eat those, but a friend had some and I had a drink)
  • ✔ Attend the San Gennero Festival in Little Italy (Living in chinatown FTW)
  • Go to a filming of the Daily Show, Conan O’Brian, or Letterman
  • Get your name in the Washington Square News
  • ✔ Attend a free concert in Central Park
  • ✔ Earn your degree

22 things left!!

Pressure

I’m trying to visit law schools this summer, because I know that realistically speaking, it is highly unlikely that I get into a good law school in New York State. Mainly because NYS only has 3 really good law schools – Columbia, NYU, and Cornell – and they rank #3, 6, and 14 respectively. So I don’t think it’s wrong to consider my other options, spend time with friends, and also explore other colleges.

It’s just very frustrating that every time I bring up the subject of….my plans after graduation, my parent’s just take it for granted that I’m going to get into and attend NYU Law School. My dad tells me “Oh you told us that NYU had a 6 year program, that’s why we let you go” and time after time, I remind him that I said absolutely NO such thing. And he’s just rubbing it against me every time and he’s like, “Oh you’re so unreliable”

My mom’s concerns are pretty standard – she doesn’t want me to leave New York because she doesn’t think I’ll be able to survive out there in the big, bad, world. I mean one of her arguments is actually, “How are we supposed to move you in?”

PEOPLE ATTEND COLLEGE FROM OTHER STATES. WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF ARGUMENT IS THAT? A WEAK AND FLAWED ONE. I CAN TAKE CARE OF MYSELF, PACK A SUITCASE, AND GO TO SCHOOL. Other people do it. I’m a big girl.

She doesn’t get that.

As long as I stay within New York, she’s content feeding me bullshit about trust and freedom, but I don’t really have any freedom at all. The second I mention going somewhere else, she just shuts me off completely and feeds me one bullshit excuse after the next on why it’s an impossible idea. Not a bad one, but an impossible one. Completely dismisses me and just flat out says “NO” and stops listening. How am I supposed to reason with that?

I want to visit law schools this summer. I want to get out of New York for law school, and I want to travel regardless of where I end up going for law school. I want to spend this summer as far away from “home” as possible because I hate living at home for extended periods of time. I’ve hated it since about 10th grade. I’m sure I hurt their feelings when I so vehemently told them that I couldn’t wait to go to college, but the oppressive atmosphere at home is just really too much. I have to abide by their rules, and their rules are so old-fashioned and, as I said, oppressive..

It just makes me want to cry when they listen to me so dismissively. They refuse to acknowledge any alternate possibilities and I know that their dream reality is…probably never going to come true. So how am I going to live at home through the disappointment and pity  and anger on their faces when I don’t get in?

She actually had the nerve to throw Hofstra law at my face. Yeah well I’m not doing it. If that’s where I end up, I might as well abandon my plan of becoming a lawyer right now. I can’t end up there, I have to do well on the LSAT and escape. I just have to.

Pressure – Written in anger, unedited, probably complete crap but…words I had to get out of my chest.

There’s so much pressure
Pressure from my home, my family,
Their expectations are a crushing weight and
I’m just struggling to stay afloat.
They know I can do it,
BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T?

I’m smart, I just have to study hard.
Well fine, but it isn’t THEM that’s putting in the hours.
It’s me, AND WHAT IF IT ISN’T ENOUGH?

Where’s your optimism?
Have a little faith in yourself.
They say.

And my family’s expectations,
those heavy, heavy expectations,
loom above me like a challenge and
I’m foolishly standing under their shaky chandelier.

As if I don’t know that I need to study.
I do. I KNOW.
But they aren’t the ones studying,
They don’t know how hard it is, and most of all,
They aren’t the ones with all those expectations of success.

Motivation, stamina, perseverence, endurance.
Just suck it up and study,
They say.

Well that’s fine, but what if studying isn’t all I need?
I need recommendations and I need a good GPA
And guess what, I’m not as smart as they think I am,
Because I don’t even have a good GPA.

It’s just difficult, every time I speak to my mother and
Hear her talk about attending NYU Law. In her perfect
little dream world with all the stupid statistics
That don’t mean a THING. But no, in her world, they mean
That I’m going to NYU Law.

That’s ranked #5 in the nation. Maybe 6.
Either way, that’s a hell of a small number,
When I consider how many law schools there are in this nation.
How am I supposed to get into #5?

What am I, really?
I enjoy graphic design.
I write.
I read. A lot.
I express myself in poetry and
Sometimes in prose.
I have brown eyes.

I am short, not thin,
I’m not always funny, I’m sort of awkward.
Bossy.

Not girlfriend material,
I’ve been told time and time again.

I’m just upset and sad and
Under a lot of that pressure to
Do better than I think I can and
Try not to fail everybody in my family.

They just think we’re naturally good at it,
But I know I’ve slacked. I could have done better,
But let’s face it. I came to college and for the first time,
I wasn’t on par with everybody else.
PEOPLE WERE JUST BETTER THAN ME even when they weren’t trying.

How am I supposed to beat them and get their spot
In NYU Law, when they have gotten better grades than I
Every single step of the way.

This is stupid,
Who do I really think I am?
How am I supposed to achieve my goals
When my family is setting them for me,
Much higher than they should be
And I’m floundering and they don’t understand
And I can’t speak to them about it because
They just don’t understand and…

And they think that I’m throwing it all away.
If I just studied a little harder, spent a little less time with friends.

And that’s fine, I could have done that. It wouldn’t have changed my grades,
My papers would still be the same.
But I’m still just a B+ student
And a B+ doesn’t get you into NYU Law.

I just wish my parents could see.