Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reflection on My Personal Slaveholders

So, this week is Passover. No, I'm not Jewish; but I did go to my first Seder dinner on Monday. Here's the background: My aunt married a Jewish man when I was seven, thus making that part of my family Jewish. For years I've randomly taken part in Hannukahs and Shabbat dinners when I visit my aunt and uncle. Therefore, I am limitedly informed on Jewish practices, although more than the general Christian public. On Monday nights I have Media Law classes, but my teacher is Jewish so he canceled class this week. (Thus I was able to go to a Seder that my friend invited me to). My teacher put us to the test:

He told us the basis of Passover is the Exodus out of slavery for the Jews. At this time every year Jews will remember the event and thank God for it. Although a lot of the class is not Jewish, he asked us to reflect on three (or more) things in our lives that hold us in "slavery". What three things are we slaves to?

This, of course, is a very intriguing question that we should ask ourselves at any time. So, here are my top 3 things that I am a slave to.

1. Money. Oh boy, are we all slaves to money. Without it we can't do anything - not eat, sleep comfortably, get an education, hang out with friends, go to the bathroom (someone's gotta pay for the water!!) etc. I like to think that I generally shy away from the larger grasp of consumerism. I'm an educated consumer I suppose. I research the products I want to buy before I buy them and weigh the pros and cons of them. But it seems like I'm always losing money for some reason or another (not literally) in the form of bills, crises etc. And of course I'm constantly trying to MAKE money to be able to have a comfortable standard of living that I've sustained my whole life (As a child, thanks to my parents and family). Let's take what's going on right now for an example. I had a substantial amount of money in savings. Enough to be able to move out and into an apartment (so first and last month's rent + deposit and utilities) at the drop of a hat. But then I got sick for a few days and didn't work, right before taking a 10 day vacation out of state. So not only did I not work for 2 weeks, but I was continuing my normal spending patterns (if not slightly more since I was on vacation). I then return from vacation to pay my taxes. There goes another 400 dollars. So at this point I'm basically out around 800 dollars that I would have had. But it keeps on coming. My truck's decided now would be a good time to show that problem that wasn't such a pressing issue when the auto guy told me last year, but is now. So, who knows how much that's going to be. Oh, and guess what! I have to move out in 10 days. But, I'll figure out a place to go. Returning to the slaveholder at hand...I neeeeeed that money. So I'll work as hard and as often as I can, sacrificing my well-being and time with friends.

2. Society. Alright, so. I think that this pretty much encompasses all. How easy is it to be a complete individual in today's society? Probably the most difficult thing there is out there. We all have our ideas -- that have formed because of a reaction or as a result of something in SOCIETY. We dress a certain way, talk a certain way, are raised a certain way. In fact, this is basically the biggest slaveholder the world has. Society molds our brains before we can even walk. And there's no way to escape this slavery except to live on a commune (where that society will become new slaveholders) or to go live by yourself in Antartica where there's no population.

3. Ambition. I'm a slave to my ambition. It drives me to do so much, but sometimes I forget to do the fun things too. This one is probably the easiest for me to overcome, and that's why it's not the biggest thing that I'm a slave to. Also, I don't mind being a slave to my ambition and a workaholic most of the time. I've been working on finding a balance for quite some time, and I believe I'm succeeding.

What things in your life are you a slave to? :)

What type of education am i getting?

Hello, I know it's been forever but things have been SO chaotic. Time permitting I have two blogs today though! Here's the first -- an editorial I wrote for my news blog for my journalism class. Enjoyyy!!

After attending Ohio State for two years and transferring into the California State University system, I'm a little lost in the shuffle. I thought that the state and country wanted me educated to get a job, but instead they're just holding me back.

Maybe I was naiive my senior year of high school about our education system, I was only a teen after all. I was under the impression that I was actually getting an education that would take me somewhere in life. I thought I was learning something, but apparently that's not really true.

California's school system is not very...effectual. Since the enactment of No Child Left Behind and the subsequent dumbing down of our standards, more children have been left behind. Instead of helping on the individual basis and solving the individual problems, we've lowered our standards.

I have always been an honors student; my curiosity for information is insatiable. This could explain how oblivious I was to the education system's flaws. With that curiosity I embarked to The Ohio State University with enough scholarships to pay in-state tuition.

OSU has an exquisite school system. With the most students attending one university in the nation, they have somehow figured out how to run smoothly.

Picture this scene:

Walking onto campus there is an overwhelming sea of red and a buzz of chatter as students show their school pride. Discussions of the game, the parties, class, organizations and events on campus are everywhere. The oval smells of fresh grass and students rush passed others leisurely enjoying the weather. Classes, scheduled with the help of advisors who somehow know each of their advisees personally, have prestigious teachers who are passionate about their subjects, jobs and students. OSU wants you to succeed.

But sometimes things happen and the students have to leave early, carrying with them a pride in a school that's known worldwide and worshipped throughout the state and its many alumni. Upon returning from OSU with an unfinished degree, I submerged myself into the California state school system.

I have never felt more cheated, under-appreciated or unprepared in my life.

America thrives on underdog stories and California definitely sets the scene for those with passion and drive to overcome all obstacles facing them. Those obstacles are staggering.

I'm convinced this school system only cares about my money, which they spend so frivolously that I never reap the benefits. To begin, the advisors neither know what's going on with student's classes and requirements (they solely know the credits they see in front of you), nor are they particularly interested in helping students graduate. Advisors in the CSU system are teachers who must advise, seemingly against their own will or interest.

After seeing several advisors who had no qualms with bringing me to frustrated tears, I've learned to be my own advisor, listening to the advice of students who have taken the classes that I need. It's more become a race of how soon can I graduate and receive passing grades, instead of my usual ardor for knowledge and drive for high grades.

To be frank, this system has made me resort to the popular DGAF attitude. This attitude can be seen around campus with a lack of school spirit and in the discussions of students hoping for nothing more than a C. Because we've been given information that is so much lower than what we are capable of understanding, we have fed into the system. By being treated like we are unintelligent, we have fulfilled that expectation by caring only enough to get a degree to get a job to make money and fulfill the mindless consumer slot America has opened for us. We are so much better than this. We can understand so much more. We can compete in the world market, if only we were given the opportunity and support.

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