Challenge Of Self Growth

Self Growth: It's A Bittersweet Process

"Storms make trees take deeper roots." - Dolly Parton

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I stare at the blank canvas presented before me.

At first, having no idea where to even start. I remember all the times I've watched others create masterpieces before them. My shaking hand finally finds a pencil that lays next to me. I pick a spot and begin.

The lines I make at first are sharp and jagged, I'm uncomfortable with the object in my hand and the surface below it.

After a while I slowly become more comfortable, feeling the weight of the pencil and how delicate I have to be for even the sharpest lines.

Soon it's like muscle memory I don't even have to think of how to create what I want; I just let feeling guide me into reality.

Comfort has rested on my chest for some time now until I hear a snap and the lead breaks making me come down sharply on the page. At first, I am startled and scramble to see what had happened. Then I try to sharpen the end to revert it back to glory. Angrily I realize the pencil has grown too short to even be salvaged. After a while, I sigh and toss it aside staring blankly at my picture.

Soon my eyes trail away from what is before me, and slightly out of reach see a ballpoint pen seeming usable. I stretch my arm as far as it can reach, with my fingertips just touching the pen. With a great deal of effort, I finally have it cradled in my hand.

Looking upon the pen I feel the right side of my lip curl upward, forming almost a malicious grin. Then with the click of a button, I begin to draw upon the canvas once again. At first, I'm left in awe with the way the lines sweep down the page so easily, the blue ink seems so much more marvelous then the faded grey lead seeming out staged in an instant.

I begin to pick up speed because the pen floats along almost too easy. I catch a mistake and try to correct it by adding something to the picture. Deep down I'm not pleased with the result but just shrug and go forward.

However, another mistake one that can not be covered makes me back away from the canvas. Desperately I try to wipe away the creation, but with a smug, realize it is permanent. I look down at the pen with almost a feeling betrayal and finally drop it back down on the table.

I look at the canvas so disappointed, but can only turn away from what I didn't know til now that I was creating.

Weeks go by and I can't push the anger past the walls I have created. Realizing that I don't even know why I took the picture in a direction it could get ruined.

Finally one day I come across another art maker. She is making small masterpieces out of clay. After a while of watching she catches my stare, and says "they all come out different that's why I just let my hands always tell me what I am working with here". Confused I look at her and say, "well isn't it unsettling when you don't have a plan that will lead you to success. She laughs loudly saying, "child the only way I can fully learn if I don't like what I have created is by the time the clay has already dried into what it will be. Then from there all I can do is let my hands have more freedom so they can do better work on the next sculpture."

For a while I think about her words, then find myself in front of a blank canvas. I pick up a pencil, feeling a soft smile rise on my face. I begin to sweep lines across the page, finding ease within the familiarity of the art this time.

I know each line will never be perfect but I realize that is okay. For the only thing that matters is that I learn something from each picture.

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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.

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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.

Cover Image Credit: https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/free-college-new-york-state.jpg?quality=85

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This Is What It's Like Living As A 'Snowflake' Liberal In 2019

I am here to state that yes I am liberal but I am NOT a snowflake who gets offended over everything. I am someone who believes that everyone deserves to be treated equally.

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Growing up, I went to church camps and youth groups. I believed in God through Christ. As I continue to age and learn more about politics, I guess one would call me a "libtard". I am here to tell you that I am proud to be a libtard and here is why.

1. I support universal rights for all

While we are continuing to work towards equal rights for every individual we still slack. African Americans, especially women are still struggling to have their voice heard. LGBTQ+ members still are being denied service because of their sexuality which shouldn't even be a question. Whether a business is private or not, your religion and beliefs should not have anything to do with who you serve. You are gaining MONEY and INCOME, so why would you deny someone?? Nobody should be denied healthcare because of someone else's religious or personal beliefs. If you can't treat a gay man because your religion says that to lay with the same sex is wrong- then you are in the WRONG profession. Just because your religion says that certain things are a sin and wrong, does NOT give you the right to deny people to adopt, shop and live a decent live without having to deal with your hate. Instead of shunning and slamming horrible words to that Muslim family because you believe all Muslims are part of ISIS, instead sit down and actually talk to Muslims. Almost 99% of them just want to live in peace without hate in the USA and throughout the world. Nobody is born racists or homophobic or Islamophobia. People are taught hate and fear. Learn to mind your own business and make sure you are 100% perfect before you judge someone else.

2. I support the poor, immigrants, women and veterans

Yes, we have an illegal immigration problem. Yes, some of those who cross bring drugs and are pedophiles and murders, however, MOST illegals just want to live in a country where they can afford to feed their children and keep them warm and clothed. They do not want to live in Shantyvilles where their houses are made of scraps and their flooring is dirty. They should come here legally yes however, it shouldn't take up too 20 years for them to become citizens. They are not just people looking for handouts, most are just people who are willing to leave their family to go to a foreign place where they may not speak great English just to earn money so their family can survive.

Our system is messed up towards all three people: the poor, the immigrants and our veterans.

The system is designed to keep the poor poorer and the rich richer. You lost your job because of something that you can't control and now you are homeless and living on the street? Got a toothache? Wait until you have money. Have rotten teeth and infection because you couldn't get to the doctors? Go to the emergency room and pay thousands only to still have no money. While there are homeless people who prefer to live the way they do many want a permeant home and consist of food and warmth. Want money? Get a job. Want a job? Well, you need a permanent address. Need a permeant place to live? You need money first. Many homeless people are veteran who have risked their lives for our country. Our country requires men to sign up and many go willing to serve only to get nothing in return for their PTSD, anxiety, depression and so many other problems. They risk everything only to be let down and lose everything back home.

Women, especially women of color and those who are poor struggle because of the current war against women. Yes, this is a war. If we are going to push to ban abortion, which should not be allowed because it is not my business to decide what a woman can and cannot do, then we need to make birth control more easily accessible. Women should not be the only ones who should have to "close their legs" or "participate in abstinence". Sex is a natural and healthy thing to participate in for both sexes. Bearing a child should not be a punishment for something natural. Safe sex should be preached in schools NOT abstinence. Hysterectomies should NOT be denied to women because "they are too young", "they might change their minds", "their husband may not want kids". Want to stop abortions? Stop denying women hysterectomies, lower the cost of adoption, make having a child not so pricing and unaffordable, stop shaming women for having children at a young age or having to go on food stamps or WIC.

3. Healthcare is a HUMAN RIGHT

Imagine you are eight years old living with your grandparents who are retired and barely able to take care of themselves because you have to watch your mother die from an infection that has spread to her blood all because she couldn't afford a $500 root canal and $200 for antibiotics.

Or maybe you are a college student studying because a college professor in the sciences but you got toxic shock syndrome. The hospital saved you and you are okay but you have no insurance because you live alone and can not afford it. You get the bill... it is over $42,000 so you have to drop out to pay it off.

Or your husband has just died after a cardiac arrest after his heart defibrillator failed to work because he couldn't afford to spend thousands to get new batteries...

4. College should not be so expensive

I do NOT support Bernie Sanders college education becoming free drama. The idea of making college free totally take away the value of it. Students would take advantage of the freeness and fail classes without remorse. With that being said, as a middle-class student who dreams of being a teacher, I shouldn't have to cry myself to sleep because my dream school- where I feel at home- may not be where I can go anymore. I understand paying for teachers and facilities but they should make it so more students can get more financial aid. Interest rates are beyond ridiculous. You shouldn't have to pay back more than you took out. Room and board should not be almost the same price as tuition and students shouldn't have to pay for hundreds of fees that in no way affect their education. When someone is LEGALLY and adult whether they were emancipated or they are 18, FAFSA should NOT consider their parents' incomes at ALL even if they do help them because not everyone is fortunate. If someone is living on their own they shouldn't have to put their parents' incomes. They shouldn't have to put their step-parents income unless that parent has adopted them because legally if the parents get divorced they have no legal obligation to that child should why should their income count? College shouldn't be free but nobody should have to have multiple jobs in their lifetime to survive and pay off their loans.

5. I CARE about the environment

Maybe the world won't end in twenty years, we do not know. What I know is that year the earth's global temperature is rising and it is indeed causing weird weather patterns and melting the glaciers and destroying life. I also believe that the world can fix itself on its own BUT we can help the world fix itself faster. We need to cut down on air pollution and look into cleaner energy sources. Banning straws is not "because people are snowflakes'. It is because it is causing harm to marine life and wildlife. Banning straws is a small but giant step. It is not hard to drink without a straw, if you really need one.. get a metal reusable one. Banning plastic and any nonbiodegradable material will make the earth cleaner and prevent so much pollution in our waterways. Stop throwing your trash out the window, recycle your cans and crush them, buy reusable items and reuse different things in other ways instead of throwing it away. There is no reason as to why animals should be found with trash in their stomachs or encased in debris if we simply all learn to become environmentally friendly.

6. I do not trust the government

The government says it is here to protect us but in all honesty, sometimes it does more harm than good. I do not believe in communism, in fact, I think it is stupid however, everyone deserves a chance to live a good life. Our society keeps the poor poorer and people refuse to help them, Sometimes that little boost of getting help for two years can be their foothold to leading an amazing future. Our government and Republicans are so set on staying the same and "not breaking tradition" without realizing that their traditions are hurting people. Our government is full of people wanting everyone to look, act and think the same. If that would be the case, the United States would look like a dystopian country. DIVERSITY in religion, race, sexuality, looks, genes, nationality, language is what makes us a good country. Land of the free means land to be who you are. Separation of church and State should not be questioned. Laws should not be created based on religions in any shape or form. Freedom of religion and freedom from religion.

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Many do not know but I am Pro-Choice, Pro-Second Amendment while also believe that the people should not HAVE to speak, look, dress or act a certain way. Yes, there is freedom of speech but if your speech indicts harm or hate to anyone, just know that you will be judged one day just like everyone else you hate on.

Even if I, myself, or other people are liberal. Most of us are people who just get offended over everything. We are people who are tired of the hate and tired of the fact that people think it is okay to discriminate someone for any reason. Most of us just want everyone to have the same rights and be treated with the same fairness as everyone else. WE care about people and their feelings. WE care about the future generation. WE care about all lives.

Everyone deserves to live a good life with a roof over their head, warm food in their bellies, a healthy body and mind and to live, love, praise and worship who they want without being discriminated against. Live your life the way you want but do not tell others how to live theirs.

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