Other People’s Stories, Part 2

This could so easily have been my story, but it’s not. Check out this post over at Education and Class.

Your thoughts? My thoughts? Well…..

They put their minds to it, did the hard work, and got screwed by something beyond their control. “You create your own reality”? You can do whatever you put your mind to? Really? Because I personally think systemic unfairness takes it’s toll. Actually, I know it does. But this one isn’t about me.

Wait, let me amend that – 100 people put their minds to it, did the hard work, and got screwed by something beyond their control. 100 people slid through without the same level of effort – because they had money.

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11 thoughts on “Other People’s Stories, Part 2

  1. Charlie

    Fair? Probably not… At least not if they were guaranteed the aid they requested by following the rules, doing the work and putting forth the effort. Therein lies the problem.

    I can’t imagine, in this amazingly litigious society of ours, that any university would willingly place themselves in the position of getting sued by 100 people for shenanigans like this.

    Undoubtedly, Reality often sucks (“reality bites… I have the teeth marks to prove it…”). Things are gonna happen to screw up your day, things that are well beyond your control or completely unforeseen… sometimes both. There are also things that one can foresee, but either don’t seem all that likely, or don’t seem like a big deal at the time.

    On the flip side, Reality often does not suck. Things are gonna happen to make your day, things that are well beyond your control or completely unforeseen… sometimes both.

    Life continues.

    The only tragedy I see would be if the people who were refused admission to this one college used the event as an excuse to keep them from pursuing their education.

    1. Odds are, these kids will never know. And while I agree that life can be both wonderful and crappy, I have an issue with people who have great privilege claiming everything good they have, they EARNED and that everyone who doesn’t have the same good things somehow doesn’t deserve them.

      More to come on that. That’s what my whole series here is about. This one may not have spoken to you, but it did to me, as I have to take slight exception to this statement:

      “The only tragedy I see would be if the people who were refused admission to this one college used the event as an excuse to keep them from pursuing their education.”

      Yes, it would. But what if they couldn’t AFFORD to apply to more than one college at a time? Don’t you think this might impact their ABILITY to pursue their education? I was only able to afford to apply to 2 colleges, and the 2nd one was a REAL stretch financially.

      As for this being a litigious society, I think that’s a myth. People without money can’t hire lawyers for personal use. And getting screwed by the system – over and over – (which can happen when one is working class) wears a person down.

      1. Charlie

        Can’t say I’m keen on the whole idea of privilege, either. My own college experience was such that I decided not to pursue a post grad degree until I didn’t have to hold a job at the same time I was in school… still working on that.

        No argument on the wearing down part, either — money does have a tendency to grease a lot of wheels… but the litigious society is not quite so much a myth as you might think, esp. when dealing with personal injury lawyers; in situations where the odds of winning are high (or even slightly above average), fees are often arranged as a split of the final settlement — generally in the neighborhood of 40/60.

        As to the *ability* to get an education… It might impact the way that education is obtained, even make it more difficult. But I don’t think it would be remove the ability to gain it. Slow it down, yes… but prevent it? no. Money is just one path to get there, a somewhat smoother and straighter path to be sure, but not the only one.

        I should mention that my own definition of an education includes more than just a brick and mortar institution. It includes online classes, workshops, seminars, and just plain picking up a book and reading it.

        As I’ve gotten older (something that’s happening a bit faster than I expected), I’ve gotten less and less impressed by a string of letters after a person’s name — work puts me in close proximity to those who believe their opinions are somehow more valid because they have a Ph.D. after their name (to which I politely say, “bollocks”). Some of the most well read and well spoken people I know never received more than an associates degree in General Ed. One of them never graduated high school (and my money would be on *him* were it to come down to a debate with the aforementioned PH.D.).

        My point (’cause I do have one ’round here somewhere…) is that attaining a goal (in this case, an education) is largely a matter of will; everything else is variable (how long it will take, how much it will cost, where it will be obtained, from who, etc.)

        1. I know your own path hasn’t exactly been smooth. And I do agree with most of what you say here (no matter how you get ’round to saying it;) but there are places, beyond my experience and yours, where it just…breaks down.

          I will get to that in my next “Other People” post if I can manage to do it.

          And as a woman working in the sciences for 20 years, I have been with you on PhD (and MD) matter for a long time. Is it work to get those degrees? Sure! Does $ help? Often. Do they make a person smarter? Um , no – and I think some wisdom often gets lost along the way as well.

          That said, I wouldn’t mind having a higher degree, but only if I didn’t have to work while I was earning it (and work includes child-care, as you WELL know). Meaning, if I can go back to school FOR FUN when the kids are grown and I am retired, I just might…

          And if you want to come along, I’ll find you a course in Gaming Culture. *hugs*

          1. Charlie

            It wasn’t me personally, but it was close enough… Kim had gotten rear-ended by a semi when we lived in Seattle — she was 8 months pregnant at the time. (… folk lore would suggest this is the reason The Boy has a tendency to ignore impacts and shrug off tackles…)

            All ended well (for which I’m eternally grateful), but insurance didn’t cover the repair bills, she’d missed that last couple of weeks of work and it ended up being years before we could pass anything bigger than a small panel truck without her cringing a bit.

            We were referred to a PI lawyer by a friend (another lawyer — seems they aren’t all sharks after all… πŸ˜‰ ) and the a couple of months later, the suit was settled.

              1. Charlie

                Not missing anything… Yes, we were the ones doing the suing… but even now, I wonder if we’d have been just as well off dealing with their insurance company on our own even if the resulting settlement were lower because of it.

                When all was said and done, the PI lawyer ended up getting almost half of the settlement as his fee (’cause there was no way we’d have been able to come up with a retainer…) and from what I’ve learned in the years since then, in all likelihood, he spent less than 5-6 hours on the case (including filing the papers and making the phone calls).

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