Archives for the month of: June, 2014

Unemployment, plus the anxiety of having to pay my rent for July and my tuition, is taking a toll on my mental health. I’ve been keeping myself busy (and in the loop on which job opportunities might come up) by volunteering at a local activist library, but the library is almost finished, by next week my services will no longer be necessary. Even though I’m excited and proud of how beautiful the library looks, I’m feeling distinctively melancholy that something I was throwing my heart into and which was allowing me to have hope of finding a job is coming to an end. 

While I was walking home, thinking about what my options were now, and hoping that I’d hear about something by the end of the week, I decided to let my thrift-induced guard down for ten minutes and used some money from washing dishes at a graduation dinner to buy some apple cider vinegar (for my hair) some honey (for my face) some rose water (for my mouth) and a mini sour cherry tart (to eat). $15 total. 

Now I’m freshly showered and face masqued and wearing my favourite outfit, eating my favourite dessert with my mouth feeling fresh and my breath smelling like roses, and life looks a lot better, and even though my prospects haven’t changed, I feel so much better about them. 

That makes me feel really reassured. 

I’m going to be twenty-five years old in three months. I do believe this is the age when I start to notice a fracture forming between people in my life who are showing signs of growing and changing and making a healthy transition out of their early twenties, and people who are beginning to crystallize unhealthy, unsustainable behaviors that you can escape or earn forgiveness from when you’re young. 

I’m not talking about partying, staying out at night, or any other hijinks of that variety. That’s not the problem here. What I am seeing though, is people my age who aren’t learning to take responsibility or accountability for their actions, are continuously relying on other people’s goodwill to bail them out, and are reaching the limit of their ambitions now that they’ve finished their undergrad degrees and will focus on making their lives comfortable rather than reaching self-actualization or making their dreams a reality. 

This shouldn’t be a problem for me, but it’s become one, because when you’re starting to notice a divide growing between your life and the lives of your friends, you find yourself with less reasons to keep being friends with them, and in order to keep you in their friends’ circle, some people have decided it’s easier to start trashing my dreams or criticizing me for changing, rather than trying to support me or be a good friend. 

It’s reached a boiling point for me, and my solution is just to keep supporting and encouraging my other friends who are making change and growing, and when I finish my degree here, getting to a new city and forming new friendships with other people who are flexible enough to change and grow with me. 

 

Do you know why I decided to drop everything, move about 1,000 kilometers across a border and a sea, to start over life completely at a new university in a new country? 

Among other things, it was because I was sick of the campus culture at my old university. Football was king, and with that kingdom came the silent agreement that sexual assault on campus, when it was committed by football stars, would be covered up and ignored, and the victims silenced. At the same time, the presence of hate crime organizations and acts grew by over triple digit percentages (Southern Poverty Law Centre pins the spike on about November 2008, make of that what you will). I was also getting sick of being taught by T.As, and extra sick of paying a princely $14000 to do so. I did my homework and discovered that, as a dual citizen, I would pay about $2000 for a Canadian education. And even without my citizenship, the international tuition was the same, give or take a dollar and an exchange rate, as what I’d pay for my U.S education. 

When I actually came here, I was expecting that perhaps UVic would be a little bit more “no frills”, but the opposite was true. UVic had much stronger and more reliable student resources. The only thing missing, which wasn’t missed at all frankly, was the bureaucratic/admin bloat (People at UVic complain that the system there is still Kafkaesque, but compared to what I went through at my old school, I was impressed with how prompt everyone was and how polite they were in person and correspondence) and the culture of sports being omnipresent on campus. UVic doesn’t have a football team, and while there are still sports teams, they don’t compare to the old school, at all. With that, the culture of fear, intimidation, and feeling like “fresh meat” as a female student was absent as well. The student organization for addressing sexual assault wasn’t powerless or gagged by the administration. I’ve been taught 99% of the time by actual professors, majority of whom are full professors, not adjuncts. 

Why am I telling you all this? Because, with the news that the U.S government wants to introduce new systems of rating universities, and continue to ignore or decenter actual issues for universities, like adjunctification, neoliberalization, corrupt diploma mills targeting poor and working class young people for exorbitant loans, failure to acknowledge and stop sexual assault on campus, and a myriad of other issues, I am 100% convinced that the U.S is basically begging for a brain drain. Canada’s education system isn’t perfect of course, but compared to the U.S, especially with the price being the same, I am predicting that even more American students will seek greener pastures up North, and then seek their permanent residency and then their citizenship here. There are already a number of American students here doing just that, at the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

I’d warn America to avoid that inevitable brain drain if they continue the present course, but I don’t expect to be taken seriously. The system as it stands now creates too many cushy jobs, I suspect, for them to heed the warning.