Saturday, March 30, 2013

Being Poor

I've decided to go back to school and end my leave of absence early. So I'm enrolled in a class called Global Community Health Planning & Interventions. I appreciate that the instructor has assigned us to read B. Hooks' 1994 essay "Seeking and Making culture, Representing the poor". I appreciate this because it allows the class to start off on a note of humility and reality. There are alot of poor peole in the world, in the nation, in the state, in the region, in the county, in the city, and in our neghborhood and even in our family. I have a good job and I sometimes feel guilty over it. I never dreamed I would be so lucky to have so much I need and want and enjoy it all. Hooks has a very strong opinion of how the poor are portrayed through media and how there aren't enough resources to help them. I wonder if she would feel the same 20 years later.

When my parents legally came to the US (my grandparents were Braceros) they went to a public high school. They somehow went to college and with the help of financial aid and through the Educational Opportunities Program (EOP) had the support of a great advisor and financial help for books and classes. When my mom graduated college she was pregnant with me and quit her job (not knowing about family/maternity leave). They brought my aunt to take care of me full-time and my dad was finishing his last 2 years of college. My mom got onto WIC and eventually when my sister came along she went to Headstart. All of these public programs were an investment in my family. Now there are 3.5 (hopefully more soon) college graduates, 5 working adults. I can't say that my family would or wouldn't be in the same place without these programs, but I can see why so many people try to immigrate to the US. The opportunities, though far and few in between, are so much more here than in other countries.

So I've decided to go back to school. Despite my 6 figure educational debt. My education has given me a dream job. I guess this time I won't be doing it poor, but I'll still be doing it hardworking, busy, no life, no weekends. I guess I don't know how to live any other way. I've been sad that I haven't been at school or seen my school friends as often. So maybe this will help.

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