They May Take Our Lives, But They’ll Never Take… OUR FRE-E-E-E-E-DOM!


Goodbye, Finals- Hello, Summer!

Dear Loverly Readers,

To take a break from the academic world, I will be gone on a trip for approximately three weeks. In that time, it is unlikely I’ll be posting much – if at all. (I’ll be too busy making very responsible decisions with equally responsible comrades).

So for now, I say “toodle-oo” and enjoy your summer break, fellow students! And to the rest of you, you non-students, do not fret for my absence will be but a blip in your wonderful/mundane/wonderfully-mundane lives.

If I were less distracted by the prospect of exciting adventures, I’d be more creative in writing this post. But for now-

I got nothin’.

With dearest, unironic regards,

-SOS

For old time’s sake, care to share what your summer’s going to look like? Spelunking in the caves of Peru? Catching up on Game of Thrones? Share!

The Vacation Hangover: Why Short Academic Breaks Suck

Spring Break is the worst. No sooner do you strip into your beach clothes and fling your nubile body into a sea of bad choices than you find yourself (no worse for wear, of course) stranded back in the Land of Higher Learnedness. Fan-freakin-tastic.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – as long as you’re thinking what I’m hypothetically thinking, which is probably likely if you frequently think in Oscar Wilde quotes and dirty limericks –

“Yet another display of the ingratitude of our lazy, worthless youth. Higher education is a privilege! It is only possible for you to experience this opportunity of enlightenment because of the work of my back-breaking generation, young whipper snapper. In my dinosaur-wrangling days, we didn’t even have a spring break! And the only purpose of summer break was so that we could earn our dues working in the fields. You and the rest of you worthless ingrates don’t deserve a break from all the ‘work’ you do flushing your education money down the bloomin’ toilet.”

Yes, I hear ya verbatim.

The technically 9 days of break that we get is not enough for us to relax. It’s like telling us we can sleep in and then waking us up in the middle of REM sleep. This does not a motivated student make.

I got 99 problems and yep, short breaks from school are one of them. Why do we even bother with a few days interrupting the academic year? I’m not quite sure how semesters do it – does spring break split up your semester? With quarters/trimesters, spring break marks the end of the winter term and the beginning of the spring term. Even then, spring break is more of an unsatisfying tease than some long romance. Darn those Bacchus-worshiping Greeks and Colgate University swim jocks. Spring break isn’t freedom. It’s our 30 minute recess before we shuffle back to our cells. According to a comment on this article, all spring break is now “is a bunch of immature, drunken, TOO sexually active teens, and of course rapist on the side line just awaiting another drunk girl to attack.”

Spring Break Drunk at the Beach

Not pictured: Predatory man awaiting anything (expect aspirin)

What has this world come to? Tsk, tsk. O the moral fiber of our country ruined by this one week of bad decisions and illusory freedom. Ha! And for many, it’s just a week of sitting in front of the TV/computer catching up on episodes of Parks and Recreation and re-enacting the days of the freshman 15. And some people are vying for another miniscule breakduring the fall! Do these fools not understand? Do they not see the economy of it? What is better – mini-breaks throughout the year or one lo-o-o-o-ong break over the course of the summer? Either that or give us summer-equivalent breaks throughout the year. Yes, someone get on this now. No more one-weekers – that’s communist crap. Give us three months of breaks at a time! That way, we’ll be refreshed and completely slated clean for those soul-sucking faculty members to try to actually learn us some good edjumacation.

It’s so crazy it just might work. Maybe.

How was your spring break? Feeling refreshed and raring to get back to the daily academic grind? Got any good spring break/vacation stories? (Don’t worry, your shenanigans can’t possibly be traced back to you). 

Keep calm and read on:

Occupy EVERYTHING (Except My Lawn) Part 1

“Mic check!”

“Mic check!”

“Mic check!”

Holy crap. This Occupy movement is wild.

Occupy the University

Today, students  coordinated a mass walkout at noon on my campus. Walk out of class to protest exorbitant tuition rates and an uncooperative administration. “Students are part of the 99%!” For those who didn’t want to or couldn’t walk out of class, green (one of our school colors) sashes were distributed. Wearing them symbolizes your participation in the solidarity movement.

“Show me what democracy sounds like!” Someone shouts.

“THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY SOUNDS LIKE!” Everyone shouts back.

The energy was enormous. I walked out of class (after class was over) – I had neither the gonads nor the desire to skip class. I walked to the park blocks where the student unit was assembled. Someone was yelling through a bull horn. I could barely make out the words from where I was. The weather had decided to finally rain down on us after days of abstaining. No one cared. It was going to take a lot more than a bit of precipitation to break this group up.

Students held up signs: “Fund $chools, not Prisons,” “Shame on U,” “We are the 99%,” “Stand Up for Your Right for Affordable Education.”

Every so often, the crowd cheered, whooped and shouted with vigor. It was a mob, but it was a peaceful – or at least they strove to be peaceful, but we’ll get to that in a second.

The leaders got off the podium and began the march through campus. The chanting started immediately, you could feel the vibration from their collective voices. You knew a lot of students wouldn’t be able to talk tomorrow; their throats would be so sore. 

Occupy the university It was unreal for the reason that it was so real. That probably makes little sense, but that’s what it felt like. It’s one thing to see people protesting from a distance or on the news or YouTube. It’s another thing entirely to actually be in it. I was part of the solidarity movement. I was chanting here and there, whenever I felt like joining in. We stopped traffic. People were getting out of their cars and honking and complaining to the police standing by.

Ah, the police.

Bicycle Police

Police look kind of cool on motorcycles

We should give them a hand, a round of applause for being as patient and cooperative as they were being. Bicycle police lined the sidewalks beside us, making sure we didn’t leak into the streets. Cops on motorcycles were lined up on one street and then followed us in intervals. Really, the police here get a lot more flack than they should get.

“Banks got bailed out!”

“We got sold out!”

It was absolutely crazy, but phenomenal. Walking down the sidewalks, watching the police and the passerby and the people looking down at us from their cubicles – it was crazy. Just crazy. Shouting, drum cadences, bongos, and “Viva la Revolucion” yells were everywhere.

We stopped in front of a bankruptcy court and crowded near.

“Mic check!” Started the first person.

“Mic check!” Echoed the first tier.

“Mic check!” Echoed the second tier.

Making a statement I had heard of this method of communication, consecutive shouting toward the back of the crowd so that everyone can hear. I had read about it, but this was the first time I had seen the process in action. To say the least, it was really neat. The riot police standing behind us across the street made me uneasy.

Was this going to get violent? The students claimed it was a peaceful protest and held up their fingers in “V” shapes for peace. The riot police in their black get-ups and helmets with their hands crossed one over the other in front of them was an intimidating sight. I glanced nervously between them and the action up front.

People stood at the front of the crowd one by one, stating their name, their field of study, and how much money that owed in student loans. They then decried the injustices of corporate bail outs, the ridiculousness of sky high tuition, and the lack of financial aid available.

“My name’s Tracy!”

Echo. Echo.

“I’m a student of [university]!”

Echo. Echo.

“I’m studying political science!”

Echo. Echo.

“And I am $30,000 in debt!”

Echo. Echo.

Fund Schools, Not Prisons

The average student graduates with $27,000 in debt. Did you know that? I hadn’t previously known that. I am only in my first year of college and this value scares me. However, I am fortunate. My grandfather started a 529 account for me when I was 4 years old. Over the years, the account has grown to an amount that, if I use it wisely, should help me pay for my 4-year degree with little to no debt. I am fortunate and I am grateful. Although I am not in debt, I support my fellow students. I support their cause, if not all their tactics. The economy sucks. That’s not a national secret. The economy is the worst it’s been in years. Unemployment in my state fluctuates between 9% and 11%.

Something has to be done.

 

[END OF PART 1]