Check Your Education

My dad is going back to college!

Not full time, but he’s going to take enough credits to finally get his degree in electrical engineering.

Let me tell you a story:

My dad went to college in the Philippines. He got his degree in electrical engineering. But then he got my mom pregnant. They moved to America to give their children a chance for a better future. Here, they don’t accept his degree. He couldn’t get a job as an engineer. He was treated as if he didn’t have anything higher than a high school education. He had to be a bag boy. A cashier. All these menial jobs he was far over-qualified for. Finally he got a job as an electrician (a step in the right direction). He is still working this job, 15 years later. A job he is, again, far over-qualified for. My dad had to overcome an unexpected pregnancy, a move to a new country, and raising 2 kids. Slowly, he’s been trying to get the qualifications to be an engineer. Very, very, very slowly. So slowly that he gives up from time to time because he simply doesn’t have the time or the energy to do it because of his strenuous and labor-intensive job. This year, he passed some kind of engineer test or something (I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT’S CALLED OKAY BUT IT WAS A BIG DEAL). Everyone was happy, but he didn’t really know what to do. Recently, my mom called the university near our house and asked about how my dad could approach enrolling as a part-time student to get enough credits to finish his education to be an electrical engineer, and he’s now in the enrollment process.

I’m so happy. I’m so proud. Through all the hard work and shit he’s been through, he did not give up, even when it seemed like he did. He’s going to accomplish his dream and finish his education and get the job that he should’ve had 18 years ago.

It’s my belief that it’s never too late to get an education.

Now, I’m going to start to rant.

A while ago, I was talking to my friend about how there are so many old people on campus. And I say “old” as in adults with grey hair. There’s one old guy in my biology class, and another in my philosophy class. I was talking to him about how I thought it was great that they’re finishing their education.

His dad heard what I was saying, and they both had the same reaction. It was something along these lines:

“Wow, why? Don’t they have families or jobs? Education is great but there comes a point where you shouldn’t need to go back to school because you have enough experience to get the job that you want. They’re wasting their time and money.”

This just insulted and angered and disgusted me to my core, and let me tell you why.

First of all, his dad ACTUALLY IS AN ENGINEER. By “experience”, I assume he was talking about his own life. As in, he got his education IN AMERICA where jobs and companies actually recognize him as qualified, and he worked his way up to the position he’s currently in. Obviously, he doesn’t understand how different it is for people that weren’t born and raised in this god forsaken country.

Second, yeah, my dad does have a job and a family actually. That’s why he hasn’t been able to get his SECOND education in the first place. And he’s trying to get this education so he can get a BETTER job to support that beautiful family of his.

Third, that’s just such a judgmental piece of shit thing to say. “Wasting time and money.” Fuck that. I don’t even have words to describe how awful and downright disrespectful of a thing that is to say.

Sure I know that my friend and his dad only say those things because it’s what they’ve grown to know. But my anger stems from the fact that they didn’t even try to see things from other people’s points of view.

The title of this post is a play on the phrase “Check your privilege”.

In a more socially-equivalent world, my dad would’ve come here and gotten a job as an engineer. He would be making approximately $40,000 more than he’s making right now. He wouldn’t have had to go through this long and painful process of getting his degrees again. He wouldn’t have to go through the scrutiny of people that didn’t have to go through all this because they are privileged and didn’t come from an under-educated and poverty-stricken country.

Whenever I hear that “immigrants are stealing jobs from hard-working Americans” I want to throw up. Then I think about how white men came from the east and ruined the lives of Native Americans and I get really racist all of a sudden. That’s just the phrase this situation always brings to mind.

My dad is the most respectable and under-appreciated man I know, and I’m so unbelievably proud of him and anyone that thinks otherwise can **** a **** because they’re a ************* ***** ** ****.

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The Longest Year

It has officially been over one year since I’ve seen my best friend.

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I leave his picture above my bed so we can chat after a long day.

My best friend B tried to commit suicide on February 11 of this year, and died on Valentine’s Day, which has forever been soiled in my heart.

I remember November 10th.

It was my dad’s birthday party. B came over to hang out with me. I remember us watching Tyler Oakley videos for the good part of 3 hours. B was gay, and his Christian parents home-schooled him. He had never met another gay person before, and Tyler Oakley was the first gay person he’d ever “met”. I remember we watched Tyler’s Chubby Bunny Challenge on repeat for at least half an hour.

I put makeup on him for the first time. He told me one day he might like to be a drag queen. I laughed. That picture up there was the final result of my makeover.

I also did his nails. He wanted something bright and happy, like his personality. He settled on a rotation of neon pink and orange. He was such a cutie.

That was the night he tried Filipino food for the first time. He loved the pancit (noodles) and the eggrolls. My family thought he was adorable. Everyone thought he was adorable.

Now that I’ve typed it out I guess he had a lot of firsts that night. Granted they were little firsts, but it’s the little things that add up in life.

My last memory is dropping him off home. He rode his bike there and I didn’t want him going home by himself in the dark (it was like 11 at night) so I asked my dad to drive him. It took us like 15 minutes to fit his bike in the back of the car. We laughed the entire way, and I can’t even remember what our last conversation was about. I remember getting to his house. I was too lazy to get out of the car because I was exhausted from a busy day, but when I think about it now it kills me. Instead of getting my ass out of the car for 10 seconds to give him this last hug, I stayed in the car, rolled the windows down, and waved as we drove away. That is my last memory of us together.

Hindsight bias is a bitch, but I’m gonna say it anyways.

If only I had know. If I had known it would be our last time together, I would’ve shown him the Deathnote series. I would’ve baked him my famous cheesecake. I would’ve taught him about gay sex (like he always asked me to because for some reason I knew more about it than he did). I would have done anything he wanted. But most of all, I would’ve gotten out of the damn car and hugged him for all my life. I would’ve breathed him in and felt his warmth and remembered him exactly the way he was.

He died on Valentine’s day. I missed out on his last 3 months of life. It’s hard making plans with someone that’s home-schooled and strictly watched over (his mom rarely let him out of the house besides for Church functions).

One last biggest regret. For the entire winter season, I was a tutor at the elementary school right across the street from his house. I always thought about just dropping by, but I never did. Every Wednesday for 4 months I passed by his house, but I never went to see him. I could’ve seen him every day. I could’ve talked to him every day. But I never will. Never again.

I regret not being there for him as much as I could have.

No-Good Rotten Good-For-Nothing Week

Everything pretty much fell apart this week. Everything that was good and bright about college just fell apart.

I’ll start from the beginning.

Last week, my boyfriend told me he was going to come on Friday night and spend the weekend with me. I was overjoyed. I’ve been so sad and stressed here and a little R&R time with the boyfriend sounded nice.

I had 2 exams on Monday, and one on Tuesday. I was dreading every minute of it.

BIOLOGY: There are 4 exams for my biology class. At the end, the lowest grade gets dropped. I got a 60 on my first exam, but I was optimistic. I told myself, “It’s okay, it was your very first college test you were nervous. This time you’ll really buckle down and do great.” So I studied my ass off the night before. The professor even allows us to have a double sided cheat sheet to take the exam, and I filled mine up and I felt good taking the exam. I looked at my grade on Wednesday, and I had gotten a 57. A fucking 57. All that hard work and optimism shut down. I cried for a long time.

PSYCHOLOGY: I’m a psychology major. Of course I want to do good on my psychology tests. Same story with biology: super stressed, 68 as the first test score, told myself I’d do better. Now I haven’t gotten my grade back yet, but I don’t feel good about it. Same story about studying my ass off and eating myself alive the night before, but when I was taking the test I was always double checking myself because all the terms sound so similar. I feel awful just thinking about it.

MATH: I actually got a 94 on my math test. But just to be a butt and complain about something, I knew how to do the problem I got wrong but I did a calculation incorrectly, so it was entirely my fault.

Plus, I accidentally overslept for the first time and missed a class. I mean according to my friend I missed nothing important, but I still felt horrible about missing it.

Now for the social part.

The start of my downfall was when my boyfriend called Wednesday night saying that he can’t come for the weekend anymore. I didn’t think it would, but it devastated me. That was when I realized I was more homesick than I thought I was. The thought of spending Friday and Saturday night without him made me feel so cold and lonely, and I craved going back home and curling under my big puffy blankets. We got in a huge fight, which resulted in me crying for 2 hours and waking up with bleeding and sore arms.

The rest of my spiral downwards involves my friends. We were all planning to lease an apartment to live together next year, and everything seemed perfect until we couldn’t figure out who was living where. I can’t even completely explain the situation because it was so fucking confusing (worse than my prom night if you read that post) and it resulted in everyone angry and frustrated with each other and me leaving the group. Now I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing next year, and I’m mad at almost every friend I made this year. I plan to lock myself in my room tomorrow and hibernate and forget that they exist.

I was so excited for college. I felt smart, bright, optimistic, social, and happy. But now I feel sad, stupid, and lonely.

Something I’ve wanted to tell my friends here is that I’m depressed.

That I had to talk to counselors all throughout middle and high school because I was so depressed I often thought about killing myself.

Tell them that I’ve actually tried killing myself.

Tell them that every night, I lay in bed trying to sleep, but I can’t because I’m plagued by thoughts of happiness and home and family and these thoughts are immediately followed by crying and suicidal desires.

I can’t tell them that I’ve tried killing myself here. In my room. I had a bottle of Clorox to my lips, and I was so angry and so frustrated and so upset that I took the smallest sip. That shit burned like acid. It was worse than a shot (which I regret knowing the taste of) and I immediately spit it out and started crying. Gross, heaving sobs.

I want to leave. Not this school but this earth. I just haven’t been happy for a long time.