We Are All Struggling To Tread Water, Yet We Need To Fight With A Smile

We Are All Struggling To Tread Water, Yet We Need To Fight With A Smile

The one where it's important to remember what's good, despite the self-deprecating jokes all around

At the University of Washington’s Odegaard Library, there’s a whiteboard next to the stairs with a different question every week.

Whenever I would read the responses, they range from the normal complaints of CSE142 and bad dormmates to the absurd ones featuring pop culture references, memes, and existential crises. All using different colors of ink supplied in a black mesh basket.

Recently, I found the board with the question, “What is one of your most epic failures in life?”

The same answers went abound, from failed classes to starting to play League of Legends, from not getting into their major of choice to believing that an omnipotent God controls everything.

I even wrote something down: how I procrastinated without end, losing opportunities from the palm of my hand.

However, two responses stood out which made me quite sad: one lamented on their decision to go to the University of Washington, with another calling it “being bounded”—an inversion of UW’s promises to be “boundless.” Another commented, albeit jokingly, about being born.

Regardless of how sarcastic or serious these were, it implied that their lives were filled with undying misery and woe.

When I look at UW’s Boundless Memes page on Facebook, I also note this cynicism. One of my favorites was one featuring somebody knowing they may not be able to get accepted to the Computer Science major, so they would end up trying to take Canadian Studies instead, to justify they’ve got a “CS” degree.

Naturally, I understand. It took a lot of work to get into college, and a lot more work to get a degree, a job, and dignity. I find myself struggling to get readings and papers done, trying and failing to get a decent job, and wondering if I should’ve chosen the path I engaged in.

My father warned me that I needed to get into the hi-tech industry instead, with its myriad of opportunities, a golden door towards wealth and general prosperity in the modern age. Yet I enjoy my major, in that I get to learn so much about the world I’m living in and hopefully developing writing skills so I would use them in a future research job.

However, throughout the nonsense that’s going on in the school, whether its classes, the cafeteria food, or the national politics of the day, one thing which keeps me afloat is a sense of optimism.

Everything ends at some point, for the better or the worse, but it will all be worth it in the end.

I know a bunch of people who are engaging in different internships, jobs, and experiences. They discuss how they are tired every day with doing such tasks, yet are always enlightened by it.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to take away the fact life isn’t always going to be like that on social media. As the cliché goes, one has to crop, edit, filter each photograph before it gets sent to publish, like this article.

Every word is curated like fine art, grapes for wine, or a new piece of technology. I’m not one to post something on social media without having something of significance, yet this is a frequent phenomenon.

At the end of the day, why not find something which is worth the suffering?

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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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.

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

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Writing Saved My Sanity

Write it all down when you can't talk to anyone.


I love writing.

I have since elementary school, and I've dreamed of becoming a published author. I started off writing stupid plays in elementary school, then it grew it almost writing a full-blown novel in middle school. I have no idea where that thing went to. It was all notebook paper and bad writing. In high school, my writing was kinda pushed to the side so I could focus on school. When I entered college, I started writing small poems about my now ex-boyfriend.

I was scared to express myself to him sometimes, the intensity of my feelings for him scared me. So instead of telling him, I wrote them down. When I tried to share them with him, he hated it. He thought writing down feelings was weird and creepy. So I didn't share anything else with him. When we finally broke up for good, everything just poured out of me. What I couldn't express verbally, I wrote or typed out.

I always have ideas flowing through my head. They never cease and I wouldn't want them to. Writing gives me an escape, from stress, work, school, or fights. It gives me a place to vent and to be open with everything. This is a reason I love writing for Odyssey, not only has this place brought me amazing friends but revived my love for writing. I'm never without my notebook anymore, I'd get distracted in class by an idea and have to write I think then and there.

I love sharing my more personal writing with close friends, especially my poems as of late. I found that I have a voice for young women who find themselves in a toxic relationship much like mine was. I want to speak out and show them that you can grow from the bullshit. It may take some time, but you will be better.

Writing saved my sanity. It allows me to express myself without having to use my actual voice. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate public speaking. I tend to psych myself out leading up to it. My current projects include writing for Odyssey every week, I'm in the process of trying to continue my short stories, and I'm excited to announce that I'm currently working on my very first poetry book!

Writing has given me so much, and I'm so looking forward to making a career out of something I love so much.

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