In 2018, Start Taking Responsibility For Your Education

In 2018, Start Taking Responsibility For Your Education

How millennials grapple with political identity reveals a larger truth about our country.

In the current political climate of the United States, it seems that there is a great urgency for civilians to reflect upon historical patterns of systemic oppression, persuasion via dog-whistle rhetoric and methods of resistance. As students at an institution of higher education, we have the responsibility to value our privileges and pursue an education that does not terminate at the end of our classes.

In my writing on this platform, I have chosen to cover health-related subject matter such as self-love or content related to organization and goal setting to maximize productivity. However, in holistic health, it is not just the physical and emotional wellbeing that should be cared for.

Taking the time and interest in your own intellectual and cultural growth is a critical component to being a well-rounded and informed young person.

It seems to me that there is a culture in the United States at the vast majority of colleges that surrounds meaningless relationships, insufficient engagement and priorities that are out of sync with larger issues than where to buy beer for the day party. I recognize my diligent, passionate and dedicated peers who contribute to class dialogues and spend time outside of the classroom connecting to issues that go beyond our campus and I am grateful for these members of the Fairfield community.

It is my goal in my writing for Odyssey to create the space for my peers and I to consider healthy behaviors and to practice kindness to not only ourselves, but also the world around us. In the new year, I have decided to open up my content to explore not only the spiritual, emotional and physical elements of health, but to also address cultural happenings around campus and beyond.

I feel blessed to be attending an institution that allows me the opportunities to educate myself and continue to grow as a citizen of the world. We have access to brilliant professors, a comprehensive library of resources and the freedom to ask questions about not only the narratives we are told, but also why these narratives are told and what their implications are for our sense of purpose in the world around us.

I hope that in the new facet of my writing, we can ask questions together, share content that makes us think and consider how we want to build and nourish ourselves as young adults.

Chimamanda Adichie warns us of the danger in a single story. It seems that millennials are being increasingly portrayed as excessively sensitive and out of touch with reality by the baby boomer generation. However, I know that my peers and I are more than the misinformed single story and that there are nuances behind shifts in identity and action that deserve more than dismissal.

It seems to me that there was an opening up for conversations surrounding issues such as systemic oppression, LGBTQ identities and activism to be had. I am grateful to be a millennial because I know the digital age has allowed my peers and I to connect to people from a myriad of different backgrounds and experiences, which have allowed us to consider the effect of disparities in access and the limitations that socioeconomic status place on individuals.

Through online engagement with diverse populations, millennials at large are able to create a space for conversations to take place in which authority is questioned and ideas are exchanged.

While certain groups of people may perpetuate the single story of millennials as “snowflakes”, there are others who recognize that today's youth are attempting to dismantle the single stories that were passed down from generation to generation and have worked to keep certain groups oppressed.

It is not absurd for human beings to demand equality, agency and recognition according to how they choose to self-identify. It is not absurd that students at universities rally together in peaceful protest to identify issues of systemic racism and to identify the power in both policy and rhetoric in enforcing negative stereotypes.

I am not presenting an argument that denies the existence of apathetic or single-minded millennials. However, I am urging members of the prior generation to recognize the huge passion and hunger for justice had by today’s youth. Young people have come together in rallies surrounding police brutality targeting people of color, young people have come together in marches for freedom of sexual expression and young people have come together to stand up for the rights of immigrants and women’s rights as equals.

In the face of a highly divisive nation, millennials are carving out the space to express their concerns, raise their questions and practice compassion.

There is no single story of today’s millennials; we are varied in our identities and it is in that variation that we find our connection. Through our respect of the American Dream for equality and opportunity for all people, we wish to tell our vast stories, to encourage one another to feel safe in their own bodies and we understand the critical nature of speaking out against attempts to silent us or render a single derogatory story of who we are.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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I Am A College Student, And I Think Free Tuition Is Unfair To Everyone Who's Already Paid For It

Stop expecting others to pay for you.


I attend Fordham University, a private university in the Bronx.

I commute to school because I can't afford to take out more loans than I already do.

Granted, I've received scholarships because of my grades, but they don't cover my whole tuition. I am nineteen years old and I have already amassed the debt of a 40-year-old. I work part-time and the money I make covers the bills I have to pay. I come from a middle-class family, but my dad can't afford to pay off my college loans.

I'm not complaining because I want my dad to pay my loans off for me; rather I am complaining because while my dad can't pay my loans off (which, believe me, he wants too), he's about to start paying off someone else's.

During the election, Bernie frequently advocated for free college.

Now, if he knew enough about economics he would know it simply isn't feasible. Luckily for him, he is seeing his plan enacted by Cuomo in NY. Cuomo has just announced that in NY, state public college will be free.

Before we go any further, it's important to understand what 'free' means.

Nothing is free; every single government program is paid for by the taxpayers. If you don't make enough to have to pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. If you live off welfare and don't pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. When someone offers someone something free, it's easy to take it, like it, and advocate for it, simply because you are not the one paying for it.

Cuomo's free college plan will cost $163,000,000 in the first year (Did that take your breath away too?). Now, in order to pay for this, NY state will increase their spending on higher education to cover these costs. Putting two and two together, if the state decides to raise their budget, they need money. If they need money they look to the taxpayers. The taxpayers are now forced to foot the bill for this program.

I think education is extremely important and useful.

However, my feelings on the importance of education does not mean that I think it should be free. Is college expensive? Yes -- but more so for private universities. Public universities like SUNY Cortland cost around $6,470 per year for in-state residents. That is still significantly less than one of my loans for one semester.

I've been told that maybe I shouldn't have picked a private university, but like I said, I believe education is important. I want to take advantage of the education this country offers, and so I am going to choose the best university I could, which is how I ended up at Fordham. I am not knocking public universities, they are fine institutions, they are just not for me.

My problems with this new legislation lie in the following: Nowhere are there any provisions that force the student receiving aid to have a part-time job.

I work part-time, my sister works part-time, and plenty of my friends work part-time. Working and going to school is stressful, but I do it because I need money. I need money to pay my loans off and buy my textbooks, among other things. The reason I need money is because my parents can't afford to pay off my loans and textbooks as well as both of my sisters'. There is absolutely no reason why every student who will be receiving aid is not forced to have a part-time job, whether it be working in the school library or waitressing.

We are setting up these young adults up for failure, allowing them to think someone else will always be there to foot their bills. It's ridiculous. What bothers me the most, though, is that my dad has to pay for this. Not only my dad, but plenty of senior citizens who don't even have kids, among everyone else.

The cost of living is only going up, yet paychecks rarely do the same. Further taxation is not a solution. The point of free college is to help young adults join the workforce and better our economy; however, people my parents' age are also needed to help better our economy. How are they supposed to do so when they can't spend their money because they are too busy paying taxes?

Free college is not free, the same way free healthcare isn't free.

There is only so much more the taxpayers can take. So to all the students about to get free college: get a part-time job, take personal responsibility, and take out a loan — just like the rest of us do. The world isn't going to coddle you much longer, so start acting like an adult.

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Yes, I'm A Feminist, No I Don't Hate All Men

Because if we want to promote equality, why fight that with mass hating a particular gender?


I'd like to consider myself a feminist.

I am all for equal opportunity, equal pay, and equal rights. I believe that women should be granted the equal opportunities that males do, be free of harassment, not be scared to exist literally just because of their gender, have reproductive rights, be taken seriously when we think something is medically wrong with us, and be treated with the same respect and dignity as men do. Just because I believe all these things, however, doesn't mean I automatically hate men.

I've seen a big increase in trends that, just for men existing, people will post about how "men ain't shit," or how men ultimately suck just because of their gender. When reflecting upon this, however, I've come to realize isn't this a step in the wrong direction?

Obviously, I can't continue on until I say this: there is, in fact, times where men can really suck. White men in positions of power abusing that, men who are rapists, men who meddle in women's reproductive rights, abusers, men who think it's okay and even funny to harass others, etc. But it all comes down to this: just because you're a man doesn't mean I automatically hate you, and I don't think others should.

Sure, as mentioned above, there are garbage humans who abuse their positions of power as men in order to get what they want. THOSE are the people I hate, not others for existing just because they are men. When in reality, there are a lot of good men who recognize their positions of power and try and make up for it by advocating for those in need of advocacy, whether they are women or even minorities. There are men who are decent human beings, whether that is being nice to others, volunteering in their community, caring for those around them, or even men who are also feminists.

I think my argument has been made pretty clear: I do not and will not hate you just because you are a man. No one gets to choose whichever gender they are, so why should I hate a group of people for just being born male? If I want to promote equality as a feminist, why should I then believe that I am better because I am female? Why should I say I believe in equal treatment between genders, yet automatically hate you because you're a man?

So yes, some men truly, "ain't shit." I believe these men, however, are not good human beings. Men aren't terrible just because they are men, and I ultimately wish that those promoting total equality would realize that we cannot strive towards equal treatment, opportunities, and pay if we continue clumping one group together under the impression of, "they're men, they're terrible."


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