June 28, 2005

And the oscar goes to...

Last Friday night, Shannon and I drove to Parkersburg for a nice dinner and movie date. I was definitely disappointed with my movie experience though. We saw “Batman Begins” at the theater there, which turned out to be a pretty good movie. I give it two thumbs up. My problem isn’t with the movie at all, but with the theater and the movie industry.

We paid eight bucks to get in. That alone, I believe, is ridiculous. Back in Columbus at a nicer theater, I don’t remember it ever costing more than 5 or 6 bucks while I was in high school. Presently at the uptown Athena, movies are 6 or 7, and at the Nelsonville Movies 10, which is not an especially nice theater, prices were recently increased from four to five dollars. Concessions there are also value priced.

It seems that the prices have skyrocketed in the last few years, though. Hollywood has complained lately of drooping business. It’s clear though that they cannot be suffering too greatly. Beyond the high prices for tickets and concessions, marketing in the movie theater has hit new lows.
While waiting for the movie to begin, theaters used to display a slide show referring to classic movies, famous Hollywood figures, quotes, and other movie themed displays. Today, those still exist, but they are few and far between. They are now separated by countless advertisements for local businesses, Coca-Cola propaganda, and dozens of pictures of concessions available in the lobby. With those ads playing probably hundreds of times a day, no doubt they are worth a fortune.

That’s not all though. Between that slide show and the beginning of the movie, there used to be a few previews. Some people used to believe this was the ‘best part’ of the movie experience. You’d learn what new movies were coming and begin your anticipation, and sometimes even a cartoon. After all, that’s where Roger Rabbit began. Though previews are obviously a form of marketing, it has gone from trailers to ridiculousness.
Now days, before those previews even begin, you must sit through countless full motion commercials for all sorts of products from cell phones to airlines to who knows what else. Finally, the previews arrive. The idea of a handful of trailers is long gone. Now you’re in for a bunch of previews to the point where I lost count.

We bought tickets to the 10:15 showing and the movie didn’t start until after 11.

With all this marketing income and increased prices, how could the movie industry be suffering? Some might argue that there are increasing numbers of people renting movies, or worse, (as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) commercials would suggest) people are illegally downloading them. Of course they are! The fun of going to the movies has been strangled out of us! A two hour movie date now costs 16 dollars with no soda, no popcorn, raisinettes or goobers, and it lasts nearly three hours by the time they jam all those commercials down your throat.

The movie industry has become one giant marketing machine. Have you bought a DVD lately? When you put in to watch it, did numerous advertisements come up? Did it actually prevent you from skipping them by disabling the chapter skip, fast forward and menu functions of your DVD player? Hollywood is choking us with advertisement when they have us as captive audiences in the theater, and now in our own living rooms. I’m fed up with it, and have become more selective about what movies I bother to watch. I don’t have any interest going to the theater anymore unless there is a particular movie that I desperately want to see.

Though Batman Begins was a decent movie, I believe that Hollywood has given up on creating new and creative titles for our entertainment. This is why they’re losing money. Their focus is now on selling advertising via product placement and advertisements in the theater, not on creating a product that consumers want to buy.
The creativity is gone. When was the last time you saw a truly ‘new’ movie? Plotlines and stories are now recycled, or are mere spin-offs of other movies. The list of the current top ten movies according to the link above includes these five: Batman Begins, Bewitched, Herbie: Fully Loaded, Star Wars III, and the Longest Yard. What’s similar about these titles? They’re all recycled. In other words, they’re generating revenue not on their own creativity, but instead on the legacy and reused stories from the past. Think of other movies like Gone in 60 Seconds, Ocean’s 11, the upcoming Dukes of Hazard, The Thomas Crown Affair, Dr. Dolittle, and the Manchurian Candidate. All remakes, or adapted from earlier movies and TV shows. Furthermore, so many movies have at least on sequel. Do we really need Son of the Mask, Miss Congeniality 2, The Ring 2, Nutty Professor II, Police Academy 7, Speed 2, and The Lion King 1 ½? These aren’t quality creative ideas either. They’re merely cheap imitations of what we already saw.

Hollywood is losing money because half of what they’re making, we’ve already seen!

After my experience seeing Batman Begins, I don’t care about how much money Hollywood insists that they aren’t making. They are still ridiculously profitable despite their ineptitude.

May 01, 2005

At the peak of idealism

I was talking to my dad this weekend about politics. He, a staunch non-religious conservative, is for privatization of social security, the war in Iraq and other Bush related initiatives that I despise. I argued my side of the case(s), using my background in political science and armed in readings from Friedman to Machiavelli. Despite this, he consistently put down my arguments by insisting that I was a typical 20 year old college student. I’m a liberal idealist with the hopes and dreams of saving the world but still unexposed to reality.

It was really discouraging hearing this from my own father. I mean, yeah, what he said was at least partially true. I suppose in a lot of ways I’m a liberal idealist. I don’t expect to be able to save the world or anything though. I just see things differently.

The biggest issue we debated was in regard to health care. He insisted that his tax money should not go to pay for poor people’s health care via Medicaid and social security. Since they do not pay into the system, they should not reap the benefits and be afforded the best health care for free. I argued that health care is not something anyone should have to pay for anyway. It is a necessity of life, and everyone should have that right to get necessary health treatment. I’m not going to get into it any farther than that as I’m not writing this to argue that issue.

Anyway, his views were very much oriented around money. They weren’t about what “should be”, they were more of about what “can be”. The government and economy can’t afford to take care of everyone and therefore shouldn’t. And he’s not going to pay any more taxes to do it. It made me realize that he is beyond idealism. At 50, he’s accepted the realities of life, and is a lot less likely to offer some sort of change. At 20, I’m at what Ralph Nader called “the peak of (my) idealism.” I’m all about change. I’m perfectly willing to shake things up and try something new (within reason, of course).

You’ve probably heard the quote “If you’re not liberal by 20, you have no heart. If you’re not conservative by 40 you have no brain.” What happens in those 20 years that changes us in that way? Having not yet lived them, I can’t say from experience. But judging from what I’m seen in other people, a lot happens. We finish our educations, start careers, get married and have kids. I guess when you have all those things, you may not be the happiest guys on earth, but in a lot of ways, you’ve made it. You’ve lived your life the best you could, and you want to believe that that’s the way they’ll be forever. If something changes, what will happen? Will you lose the nest egg you’ve worked your life for? Will your relationships with your wife, children, or anyone else change? I think on that level that it is an issue of social security. Not the government entitlement, but the meaning of the very words themselves- security in society.

At 20, we’ve got nothing to lose by trying new things. Sure we’ve got friends and family, but we don’t have careers, wives or kids that are going to be damaged by our mistakes. If there’s a fork in the road, we can take into either direction without second thought. I’m enjoying my viewpoint at this age, and I think it’s important that we all believe what we want to believe. We have the rest of our lives to realize (or simply accept) what’s possible and what’s not.

April 24, 2005

Have you really been there?

here are songs out there that it seems like everyone knows and loves. I’m not talking about the latest Top 40 hit necessarily, but songs that have been around for years that upon hearing the first few notes, we’ll put our arms around each other and sing every word. Even as college students, we seem to cherish songs like “Summer of ‘69”, “Sweet Home Alabama”, or “Piano Man”.

What makes these songs in particular so radically popular? While the instrumental parts of these songs are undoubtedly well written, so are many other songs. The only reason I have heard and can seem to be accurate is that so many people “can relate” to the words and melodies. I can only assume that by ‘relating’ to something, a person is able to think of the situation or ideas described in the lyrics and put themselves in that spot because of their own experiences in life. They’ve ‘been there.’

But have they really? Let’s examine these songs and you be the judge.

The classic “Summer of ’69” describes the story of a guy, perhaps Bryan Adams himself, and his dream of starting a band with his friends in the summer of 1969. Have you ever bought or played a six string? Have you ever been to a five and dime? Do you even know what a five and dime is? Have you ever started a band? He then talks about how he met what can be assumed to be a girl, while hanging out at a drive-in who says she’ll wait for him, likely on Mama’s porch. My mama didn’t have a porch, and I’ve only been to a drive-in twice, and it was merely a novelty. Also- did you know he was Canadian? Yeah, this wholesome tale happened in Ontario, not small town America like I had previously believed.

“Sweet Home Alabama” is another popular song that everybody knows. It was actually written in response to Neil Young’s song “Southern Man”. (Hence the lyrics in the second verse.) Have you ever been to Alabama? I drove through it once, and I wasn’t impressed. Do they really love the Governor in Birmingham? Do you? Does Watergate not bother you? Really? Are you really going home to Alabama?

Everyone loves “Piano Man”. Have you ever been a piano man, or worked in a piano bar? Honestly, I think this song is kind of depressing. Have you ever been a regular at a bar and shared your loneliness with a stranger? I know I haven’t. Can you wallow in your sorrows about memories of being much younger and regret what your life has become?

I was just thinking about this recently when I heard a large group singing along to one of these songs. In all fairness, each person has their own right to interpret the meanings of these songs as they see fit. They mean different things to different people. Even I can extrapolate a meaning. For example, “Summer of ‘69” could represent a dream we had when we were younger that we never realized, but now reflect on. Do most people take the time to think about it and consider what the song really means? I don’t know. I think it’s more likely that we’re simply caught up in what we believe to be a “classic song” and join the chorus.

April 12, 2005

The Right Place at the Right Time

It’s been a busy week. We had ritual on Friday night which finished off I week. We now have two more active Lambda Chi’s to cause trouble around Athens.

The last few days have been pretty nice around here. The sun has been shining and it has been warm. Under these conditions, I love this town.

I love the bright warm days where you can walk up college street and see all the greeks hanging around outside, then through college green to see the hippies building their rope bridges between the trees. I love the squirrels and chipmunks running across the paths, and how they’ll stand right in front of you to nibble on an acorn and not move til you almost step on them.

I love the OU golf course, the intramural fields and the tennis courts. I love being outside on nice days just doing whatever. I love sitting on the porch with guys, either shooting the breeze, reading, or enjoying some suds. I love cooking out in the evenings and making a special trip to Kroger to get a nice steak for dinner.

For these reasons, I love Athens. I love being here at OU, especially in the springtime. Days like these make the whole rest of the year worthwhile. I can’t stand those nasty rainy days we have in winter quarter, where the weather is just miserable. That kind of weather just brings me down. The opposite is also true. The nice days totally pick me up and put me in a great mood.

The thing about Athens though is that it’s a place I can only see myself living at this time in my life. I couldn’t fathom growing up here, and I certainly couldn’t imagine living out my career in this Appalachian town.

I come from the suburbs of a decent sized city, so rural Athens would have been quite the change while growing up. Being this far from the entertainment and excitement of the city would have killed me… I would have to drive at least an hour and a half to catch a blue jackets game or to see a concert. I would definitely have become quite bored here.

Having a career in Athens wouldn’t be all that much fun either. For the same reasons, I wouldn’t want to be this far from the worldly things I like to do. The nearest major airport is so for away, making my dreams of traveling the world difficult. Exploring other career options would be difficult too. The only career in Athens I could see myself ever pursuing is as a professor- an occupation I’m not completely jumping for at this point.

In Athens, little changes. I’ve been here all but a few weeks of the past year. The students come and go, the seasons change, and that’s pretty much it. The lifestyle here just isn’t me at any other stage of my life. However, as a 20 year old college student, it’s perfect.

Athens is a great place to go to school. When and where else can I be immediately surrounded by almost 20,000 people my own age? Where else can I walk to just about anywhere I’d conceivably want to go? Athens has geography too- there’s a river, plenty of hills, and lakes nearby. There’s open fields for coed sunbathers, and a crazy nightlife. The roads and the buildings are both made of bricks, and the quaint small town atmosphere gives it a different feel from the suburbs.

If only for these four years, I love Athens and wouldn’t trade it for anyplace else.

April 04, 2005

Our Debt to Society

On Saturday, four of us at the house paid our debt to society. In order to make up for community faux pas last quarter, we “volunteered” at the local Red Cross.

Apparently our party was too loud, and the police noticed. The law for that sort of thing in Athens doesn’t necessitate that someone actually complain about the noise. The police can use their judgment and assess a citation without it actually being a problem to any other member of the community.

As retribution for or crime against society, we were assigned 4 hours community service and had to pay a fine. The fine was around 100 bucks, I think, and we paid for it out of what we’ll call “communal funds”. I was surprised that we were only given 4 hours of community service. Four hours seems like so little service for the community. Stranger still, but also fortunate, was that other people could help with that service. We were assigned to the Athens Red Cross. They were holding a Disaster Relief Drill on Saturday, and we were to go there to help with whatever they needed.

We arrived at our assigned time of 8:30am. The place was full of volunteers, and only a couple of people seemed to really know what was going on. After filling out some quick paperwork, we were instructed to load a van full of water in milk jug containers. Being four of us, we made short work of that. We also had to put a few large supply containers in the van.

Much of the time was spent standing around, waiting for instructions. Eventually we were sent to the back room to wait for “the call.” Everyone else it seemed was in it for the whole day’s affair. They were setting up a drill to rehearse their relief skills and the call would tell them the situation.

The call finally came right around 930. According to the scenario, there was an explosion at the technical school in Nelsonville. Shots had been fired; there were casualties and a potential hostage situation. Four hundred people were being evacuated to the student center at Hocking College. In a matter of minutes, all of the volunteers were out the door and headed for Nelsonville.

The whole situation was pretty neat. It’s admirable that these volunteers take the time to rehearse their services so that they’ll be ready for a future disaster. I did find it puzzling that they chose this sort of scenario to use as a drill. I mean, what’s really the likelihood of some sort of terrorist attack in Nelsonville? In my mind, they should rehearse a more likely situation- like flooding. Southeast Ohio and Athens County in particular flood all the time, throughout the winter and spring. That would be a much more useful drill.

Regardless, the whole situation was pretty neat. We picked up some information on how to volunteer again in the future. If they needed us, we could bring twenty guys to help disaster relief efforts. I’d completely be willing to help out.

March 14, 2005

Learning Curve

Finals week- some of us are pulling our hair out, and others are already on spring break. I’m a little of both. Two finals and 4 papers due before this week is over. Fortunately, I got a little bit ahead last week and can chill this week. After all, the Bobcats are going to the NCAA tourney. I’ve got more important things to think about than class.

CJ and I were discussing classes earlier. He was trying to beat Mario 1 in under 10 minutes again, and I had just got home from turning in our ticket lottery papers at the Convo. We talked about grades and how they could vary so greatly between professors.

Some professors work your ass off all quarter with hundreds of pages of reading, papers, and impossible tests. No matter how hard you struggle, getting a decent grade is nearly impossible. Another teacher with the same class, but a different section may hand out A’s like that’s all there was. Either way, after the completion of the classes, credit is given for the same course. This is the reason why websites like “Pick-a-Prof” are so useful.

Often in my college career, difficult classes have proven to be the best ones. My favorite classes have been the ones I have learned the most in, and simultaneously have gotten the lowest grades.

The best class I have taken at OU was the late Professor Frank Henderson’s POLS 270: Political Theory. He was considered the most difficult professors in the Political Science department, but he was also named Professor of the Year so many times that they named him University Professor in Perpetuity so that someone else could win. He deserved it. In that class, I learned more about myself, my political views, and why than ever before or since. I learned the viewpoints of many political theorists from Plato to Machiavelli and compared them to modern activists.

The tests were impossible: 80 True/False, and 80 matching. That sounds easy, but believe me, that kind of test is very deceptive. I had never taken a harder test, despite ACT, SAT, AP tests and countless other college classes. No other tests came close to being as challenging as Henderson’s. In the end, I received the most difficult C- ever. It was my only grade that low, and it stands as my worst grade ever, including high school and college. Sadly, Professor Henderson died hardly three weeks after the completion of that class, and I never had the chance to see him again.

I ended up retaking the class last summer for a much, much better grade.

I guess I’m saying that grades are misleading. They often don’t reflect how much you learned, nor how hard you worked. I do believe it is what you learn that is more important. I wish there was a way to quantify that.

March 07, 2005

Now & Later

mentioned in a previous entry that I intended to discuss the trade of today’s labor for tomorrow’s leisure. (See March 2) This is a concept we all recognize and follow, but I doubt that many people really sit down and think about it.

College is a lot of work. We read, write, study, go to class, participate in extracurricular activities, work, and otherwise keep ourselves busy. We’re working hard now in hopes that the fruit of our labors will be a better paying job down the road. Granted, some want a genuine education just to “know stuff”, but even that has an ends in mind. There is an objective to all of this.

When we get to the “real world” just about all of us will have an entry level position. We’ll have the cubicle instead of the office, work late shifts, and have minimal vacation time, all for low pay. At this point, we’ll be “paying our dues” to our careers, or “getting experience under our belts”.

Eventually, we’ll claw our way to the top, or at least to an acceptable level of mediocrity. From here, we’ll have the jobs we always aimed to hold, be paid well enough to have our homes with picket fences in suburbia and send our kids to “good” schools. We’ll be able to enjoy our leisure time thanks to the efforts we had made previously.

We’re paying for that riding lawnmower, Volvo, and vacation to West Palm Beach just as much now as we will be in 20 years. Our labor now, both academic and physical, is an investment. Education is considered capital- the same as the machinery of an industry. It’s an asset that provides for a better likelihood of gains in the future.

We are trading today for tomorrow.

To put this into a microcosm, think of a big final you have to take. To prepare, you could very likely spend 8 hours in the library, studying, cramming, and rereading the chapters. In the course of doing so, what are you missing out on? Time with your friends or family? A party or social event? A date with your significant other? You make the choice to skip those activities and study because of the promise of a better tomorrow because of it. You believe that if you nail this test, you can celebrate that evening, or just enjoy the satisfaction of an A. Regardless of the grade you get, you missed that time with friends, that party, or that date. It is now gone because you traded it away.

The converse is also true though- sometimes we trade tomorrow for today. To demonstrate with an extreme, think of a drug addict. A person who is ruthlessly addicted to heroin surrenders time, money, their work, and much more to get that high. They’re trading away their potential tomorrow for that buzz right now.

Another microcosm you may be familiar with is drinking alcohol. On a Friday night, you may go out with friends and have a fun time. You may drink excessively, knowing full well that Saturday morning is going to be less than pleasant. You’re willing to exchange the hangover for carousing the night before.

The exchange is a sacrifice for one to improve the other. Is the trade of today for tomorrow and vice versa worth it? That of course, is up to you.

March 04, 2005

Greek Animosity

I’m feeling good. Last night was a great time, and a great start to what I know will be an awesome weekend. Last night we had a social with a sorority that a lot of our guys know, and a fraternity that we really didn’t know anything about.

The guys turned out to be pretty cool actually. It’s not that I’m surprised, but it reminds me of a stigma that seems to exist in the Greek world. All fraternities are competing against each other, and the sororities do the same. We compete for recruitment, for IFC athletics, for highest GPA, for attention from sororities, and for a heavier presence on campus. There’s nothing wrong with this competition- I see it as healthy and natural. But because of the competitiveness, a lot of the time Greek organizations get really antagonistic about it.
For example, in our chapter, one of our guys may mention one of the bigger fraternities on campus, and we begin to verbally bash them. We imply that they’re a bunch of meatheads, that they’re rude to women, or that they are otherwise un-cool in every conceivable way.

We stereotype our competition in any way that we can. The guys even do this to sororities that we don’t know, or have had a bad experience with. We accuse them of being a bunch of sluts, of being cokeheads, or many other insulting things. Many of these impressions are passed down from the ‘elders’ in our chapter, who may base it on an incident 4 years ago, if any basis at all.

In my experience, especially this year, many of the fraternities are all about the same. We all have our share of different types of guys, as do the sororities and their women. Some are jerks and assholes, and I’ll admit that- but some are genuinely nice and interesting people. It’s a lot easier to insult them than it is to admit that they’re an okay group of folks who we just haven’t met.

It’s really a shame when our crude opinion is so unwarranted. My advice to all the younger Lambda Chi’s is to not let any of the older guys influence your opinion on other Greek organizations. Make it a point to meet them and form your own opinion. With Greek Life at OU struggling the way it is, we can’t waste our time and energy forming crude opinions of others.

March 02, 2005

School Burnout, the Census and Redskins

It's that time of the quarter again where we all complain that we're sick of school. We're tired of class, completely burned out on reading and can't stand the thought of another paper to write. We also know that the end is near. Another week, then finals, then alas, it will be spring break.

It can't come quickly enough. I'm definetly in the same boat as what seems like everyone else.

It's still funny though. I've dealt with this problem for the past 16 years, if you take it all the way back to kindergarten. Despite this, here I am again, burned out and struggling to keep my head in the game for the last two weeks. Us college kids are choosing to do it though. We're in school working hard so that life may be a little easier down the road. We're trading todays labor for tomorrow's leisure. (Actually a topic I intend to discuss when I have time to climb that soap box.) So we do it by choice, and its a choice I'm proud to make.

I was in the library today, and with nothing better to do, I was playing with census data in the 5th floor government document center. (Some of you are saying, "Alden has 5 floors?", or more likely, "Alden has a government document center?", or even more likely, "You are such a dork.") I examined a few things closely. First, I looked at a map of the average household income color coded by county. It painted an interesting picture, indicating just how poor south east ohio really is. I later examined it city by city, checking in on specific towns I am familiar with. Contrasting Dublin with Grove City and Upper Arlington was surprising, let alone to cities like Athens, Hamilton, or other places. It was really almost frightening. If you'd like to see it, check it out yourself. You can get to it all at www.census.gov. I almost couldn't believe my eyes.

I also examined another statistic. I checked out the percentages of college graduates across the state. This was also surprising. Only 21.1% of Ohio's citizens aged 25+ have a bachelor's degree or higher. It's a fact I've known to be true for some time, but I never looked into it myself. Again, south east ohio was the site of a major disparity in this area too, save Athens county of course, where OU is a bastion of the educated. What this means is that when I finish my degree, I will be more educated than almost 80% of Ohioans. That's 4 out of 5.
This all brings me back to the fact that I choose to be here. Remember that when your classes get you down. The struggle for that $80,000 piece of paper with your name on it isn't that far from over, and when it is, you'll be placed in the top 20% most educated in the state. (That 1.1% we're above is Miami. Yeah, you heard me, you collar-popping nancies.-I'm just kidding, I know there's a couple Redskins reading this.)

March 01, 2005

I can't believe I'm doing this

So I started one of these blog things. I know what you're thinking, and I don't believe it either. I always thought these things were for high school girls and corporate whistle blowers. Either way, I've read a few of these from different people and it doesn't seem too bad. It's not even that I really want to maintain a journal or anything. I mostly want to just write some random stuff down that people can read if they want. I realize that OU provides web space that I could have done this with, and I almost did. I downloaded Dreamweaver and everything... but then it hit me. That requires work. Either HTML editing, or screwing around with Dreamweaver, which isn't quite so bad, but it would probably make me want to focus more time on making the page do neat things than actually being a reflection of things I'm thinking. That part scares me too though, especially after talking to Nate the other day. He said that when he talked to an Army recruiter they knew all sorts of crazy things about him. I fear that. I just know that in a few years when I'm applying to the CIA, or farther down the road if I run for public office, I'm going to be asked about this. "So Tyler, I see by your web log that you liked the movie 'Farenheit 9/11'. Does this mean you're a card carrying communist or a liberal hippie? Which one is it?" The book 1984 frightens me. I loathe Big Brother. Ah well. Here I am. So anyway, I'm going to give this a shot and see what happens. P.S. Before I forget, I'd like to ask that you leave a comment or two on what you read. I'm always curious about other people's opinions on some of this stuff, so post away.

February 28, 2005

Unusual Circumstances

I had to write a paragraph or two about "Unusual Circumstances" that I have gone through for a scholarship application. Apparently, I need to have suffered difficulties for the organization to give me money for college. I have applied for this scholarship 4 times now, and have never received a dime. I can't help but think that this segment is what's holding me back.

The first year, I wrote about my parents' divorce. This was pretty hard on me, so I thought it to be eligible. However, I later realized that 50% of families are divorced. So this would actually be considered "usual". The second year, I wrote about my dad teaching me lessons about working hard, as he climbed his way out of a small farming town to college and beyond. This was also to no avail. I'm guessing it must not be a "circumstance". Last year, I wrote about how I came into college with AP credit and was then subjected with taking classes that were more advanced (and therefore more difficult than I was ready for), since I had credit for a lot of my 101 and gen ed classes. They didn't like this either. So this year I tried something new. Here it is:

Unusual Circumstance: I’m typical. My unusual circumstance is that I don’t have any unusual circumstances. As a 20 year old white male, I’m just like everyone else. I’m marginalized by society and put through the motions with the millions just like me. I don’t receive the perks of being from a minority, such as special scholarships or other awards. My achievements do not get recognized because I didn’t come from a poor urban neighborhood, nor did I have to overcome a handicap to get here.

I worked hard to be where I am, and I continue to. I juggle more than a quarter’s worth of classes, work, and extracurricular organizations and struggle to maintain my place at this university, but I am always overlooked. Currently I am set to graduate at the end of three years with a major, minor and certificate, then to continue my studies at Ohio University for a master’s degree. Simply choosing to try hard and set my aims high aren’t enough, even when I succeed.

I wasn’t blessed with a difficult background to struggle out of to merit any special recognition. I have never received any sort of scholarship at all, including this one, for which I am applying for the fourth time. I’m only applicable for loans, according to FAFSA. My father apparently makes too much money to get any other federal money, despite the fact that I’m the one paying these loans for the next 10 years, like so many others.

Fortunately, I’m getting used to it. As I get older, it becomes easier to accept my inevitable fade into the marginalized mediocrity that society has set out for me.

Thanks CJ for suggesting this. I enjoyed writing it, maybe because I'm a little bitter. I also want to say that I mean in no way to take away from those who are disadvantaged by race, class, economic status, or other means. I have nothing but the utmost respect for those that have overcome the odds and disadvantages to get where they are. I'm just saying that there are some challenges in being a white boy from suburbia. Let me know what you think.