I Am A Product Of A Public School, And I Will ALWAYS Promote Public Education

I Am A Product Of A Public School, And I Will ALWAYS Promote Public Education

The state's funding may be lacking, but it only makes those students work harder.

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I live in the state of Illinois. If you know anything about the state, you know that Illinois is the most broke state in the U.S. and that we went years without passing a budget due to a conflicting legislature, corrupt politicians, or whatever the heck is going on in Springfield, our state capital. Either way, our education system is suffering. This is not to say public schools are failing our future doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. That is not true. We are here and we are thriving.

The state's funding may be lacking, but it only makes those students work harder. In my hometown, students of my school district made their voices heard at the polls when adding a 10 cent increase in property taxes would make or break students education. Sports would diminish, arts programs would be cut, resources for students would no longer exist. This has a huge impact on students and their will to go to school. Without a steady rate of tuition following, we were forced to fight for our education. It made us stronger, we campaigned for ourselves to show that it isn't just about a tax increase, but it's about the future of our excellent school district.

Public schools offer different perspectives. They show that it is okay to disagree with the person next to you. Most of the time, you will find multiple people around you who all have separate opinions. It is encouraged to have conversations in peaceful ways. Ways that encourage the idea that we can "agree to disagree," that just because your opinion is different than mine does not make you a bad person.

Public school offers a lot of diversity.

There are lots of factors as to why that is, But this also means those kids are exposed to different cultures, different ideas, and different lifestyles. For example, I was exposed to the LGBTQ community in high school. I learned more about it from people who were in my classes and who I hung out with at school. Some people never understand what that lifestyle is like, at least maybe not until college.

Public school kids meet people from all walks of life which only helps us understand the lifestyle better.

Public schools often don't require school uniforms. This promotes self-expression. That you wear what you want to wear (within the rules of dress code). There are of course exceptions. There are the schools that will call out students, girls in particular, for showing too much shoulder, being a distraction to other students, etc. Besides those incidents, wear what you are most comfortable in. If that is sweatpants? Sure. Leggings that don't cover your butt? Go for it! There is a difference in being conservative and being confident with yourself. Be sure it's school appropriate and just go learn something.

There are lots of kids that find their passion at school, even at a public school. The teachers are not lazy or "good for nothing." Public schools may be big and we may have our own cliques, but we all have on goal in common: graduation. We experience the same things in a way. The first day of high school, all the homecomings, finals week, pep rallies, football games, all the dances, and for the final hoorah, graduation. We all experience different things as we go through, but it's our school spirit that makes us one. We belong to a school that prides itself on our mascot.

I am a public school kid. I started in kindergarten and walked across the stage as a proud graduate of a school district I grew up in. I am a product of a public school. My mind is not warped. I am not better than anyone else, but I am not below average. I am a former public school, and that's okay. I will forever promote the work that is public education. I am a public school graduate. I am here and I am thriving at my public university.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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No, A Colored Student Did Not 'Steal Your Spot,' They Worked Hard To Get Here

I keep hearing this ignorant question of, "How come illegal immigrants can get scholarships, but I can't?"

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Real talk, this whole "they're stealing our resources!" thing has to stop.

It ranges from welfare to acceptance letters into prestigious universities. People (and by people, I'm referring to those who identify as white) have made the assumption that they are having their opportunities stolen by people of color. That's ridiculous.

I love my university. I love the people at my university. However, when I sit in a classroom and look around at my colleagues, the majority of them are white. Of course, there are some classes that are filled with more people of color, but for the most part, they're predominantly white. So, let's say that out of a classroom of 30 students, only 7 identify as people of color.

In what world can somebody make the argument that those 7 students are stealing the spot of a white student? I don't think people realize how hard those 7 students had to work just to be in the same spot as their white counterparts.

Let me use my experience: I am a Latina woman who is attending university on a full-ride scholarship. I don't always tell people about this, because I don't feel like being asked, "wow, what did you do to get that?!" A lot. I keep hearing this ignorant question of, "How come illegal immigrants can get scholarships, but I can't?"

First off, those "illegal immigrants" you're bashing, don't even qualify for financial aid. They don't qualify for most scholarships, actually. Second, have you considered that maybe, that "illegal immigrant" worked hard in and outside of school to earn their scholarship? I received my full-ride scholarship on the basis of my GPA, but also because I am a lower-class woman of color and was selected because I am disproportionately affected by poverty and access to a quality education.

So, this scholarship was literally created because there is an understanding that minorities don't have the same access to education as our white counterparts. It's not a handout though, I had to work hard to get the money that I have now. When white students get scholarships, it's not a handout but when you're Latina like me, apparently it is.

This way of viewing minorities and their education is damaging, and further discourages these people from receiving a quality education. We didn't steal anybody's spot, we had to work to get where we are, twice as hard as our white colleagues that are not discriminated against on a daily basis.

Instead of tearing down students of color because you didn't get a scholarship, why not criticize the American education system instead? It's not our fault tuition is $40k a year, and we have no reason to apologize for existing in a space that is predominantly white.

To students of color: you worked hard to get where you are, and I am proud of you. To white students: I'm proud of you too. We all worked hard to get to where we are now, let's lift each other up, not put each other down.

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