May 16, 2014

Some sentences on poverty and higher education

A twitter reflection:

Stats show strong correlation between parents' income, graduation rates. Matches my exp. exactly.

I dropped out of college. Only made it back because of a financial miracle that turned out, thank God, to have no strings attached. For a while there, my whole life hinged on $6000. That amount was impossible. Was my whole future, and I could do nothing about it.

Money was always an issue: One semester I had a total of $20 to live on. After a few weeks, I couldn't afford to wash my clothes.

But lack of support is never just $. When there's no one to call for help, calling those who should be able to help only makes everyone feel bad.

The biggest problem wasn't $. The biggest problem was shame.

Poverty feels like it's your fault. To ask for help is to expose family secrets, face question of whether you belong at all, and grovel.

Poverty feels like fate.

It turns out, looking at graduation rates, poverty kind of is fate.

I'm intensely grateful for all those who ignored my fate, and treated me like I did belong. I owe them a lot. I owe a lot to those who didn't think a poor 19-year-old should be able to navigate everything, be held responsible for what he didn't know.

And three cheers for anyone working to fix the system.