Financial Aid is not my Friend

I hate feeling that no matter what I do, I’m always falling behind. I hate feeling like no matter how hard I work, it’s never enough. Mostly, right now, I hate my school’s financial aid office.

Today, after finding out I got an A on a paper I thought was terrible and kicking ass at a final I didn’t know how to prepare for, I found out that my lovely institution of learning thought it would be a good idea to deny my appeal for work-study, which they recently took off of my financial aid package. This, after I was told again and again that almost no one is denied an appeal if you have a good reason. Apparently working the same job for two years and only needing one more semester’s worth of funds isn’t a good enough reason.

So tomorrow, I have to go in and tell my boss, on her second to last day of work, in the midst of all the craziness going on around her and the department, that the schedule I sent her last week of when I could work in the fall? Yeah, that’s not entirely accurate anymore.

I just hate that the school can take away this job that I’ve worked so hard at, that I really enjoy, that could potentially turn into a full time job for me this semester or after I graduate. It’s like none of that matters. All the work I do doesn’t matter, because at the end of the day, all anyone sees is a number that doesn’t qualify (even though that number is ENTIRELY misleading, but that’s an entirely other discussion).

My parents are telling me not to freak out, but I just hate that I have to go in and drop this obnoxious bomb on everyone, when they are already worried about who will be working in my department in the next few months. I also hate that I feel like I am issuing them an ultimatum, as I just applied for a full time position there that is very similar to what I do now.

By telling them I don’t have work study, it’s almost like saying to them, “Hey, hire me full time or I can’t work at all! Suckers!” I know this isn’t my fault and I’ve done everything I could, but I still feel crappy about it, and it’s pretty hard to change that.

My dad is calling tomorrow to try to reverse the decision, but I don’t know how much faith to put in that. My boss has also told me in the past that if I was ever denied work-study, they could do….something. I don’t know what, but again, I’m afraid to put too much faith in that.

Basically, this sucks. Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll have some uplifting news about how none of this matters anymore because they reversed the decision, but I’m not holding my breath. In fact, I may be looking for a new job. Blerg.

My Weekend in Provincetown

This weekend, I took a trip to a place that caused me to vow never again to complain about the amount of gay men in the city of Boston, as I had found a placed that trumped it 10 times over. That place is a little beach town on the tip of Cape Cod called Provincetown. It’s adorable, ecclectic, fun, and populated by exactly 5 straight men, most of them married with children.

I’m not complaining. I had a wonderful time. I just went to more gay clubs this weekend than I have in my entire life up until this point. (My favorite part: the playlists! Artists heard on our first night out included Janet, Paula Abdul, Madonna, the cats of Mamma Mia!, Rhianna, and of course, a Whitney medley!) I guess I asked for it as I traveled there with four girls and four gay guys. The girls didn’t stand much of a chance.

We headed out on Friday afternoon, taking the “fast ferry” to Provincetown, which we did not fully appreciate until we doubled our travel time on the way back by taking the “slow ferry.”

We had a little too much fun jumping on the outer deck to see if we would move backwards on the boat as it moved forward and taking contemplative pictures in the setting sun. When we got into town, we quickly found dinner at a cute little restaurant, where the host offered to store my suitcase while we ate, but not before joking about stealing it and/or selling it to the highest bidder. Ah, small town charm.

Talking ’bout my Generation

Some (read: none) of you may remember the girl who sat directly in front of me in my political science class last session, who I oh so lovingly wanted to “punch in the face.” Since I started my new class four weeks ago, I have rarely thought of her, thinking her a thing of the past, that is until she waltz into my new class, not 45 minutes late like I had grown to expect from her, but THREE AND A HALF WEEKS LATE! (Take note: this is only a SIX week class.)

She plopped herself down and asked if she had missed anything important, as she was hoping to pick up the class. Well, I wanted to respond, only half the freakin’ class, but you obviously don’t mind too much about that. Everyone (read: the two other people who had shown up that day) assured her she had only missed some reading, and you know most of the discussions, but she would be fine. I said nothing, just silently seethed. Even my professor seemed oddly accomodating, teling her which reading to focus on to catch up, as she obviously couldn’t do all of it. (It’s a pretty reading heavy class.)

For the next 3 hours of class, she proceeded to raise her hand every 5 to 10 minutes to ask questions that a) she would have known if she had done the reading, b) she would have known if she had been in class the past three weeks or c) had nothing to do with the scope of the class, which she would know if she had glanced at the syllabus. She basically wasted the class time of everyone who had been responsible enough to show up for the past three weeks, acting like we were all there solely to catch her up.

On Monday, I got to class, and she wasn’t there. This wasn’t all that surprising; however, when halfway through the class, she still hadn’t shown up, I assumed she had dropped the class. I’m not going to lie: I was a little too excited. Today, however, about 30 minutes into class, she showed up again! She, again, hadn’t read all the material required for the day (how could she have?) and again she asked asinine question after asinine question.

Now as a college student, I am used to dealing with that guy or girl in class. Every class has one: they sit in front. They presume to know more than the professor or like to show off how their life exactly relates to every topic covered in class.

Everyone hates them, and everyone knows it. I have, however, never been so offended by that guy or girl as I am by this girl. I find her behavior completely disrespectful, not only to the professor but also to the other students. She is wasting our time and basically saying we are wasting our time by actually coming to class and being prepared. I’m frankly surprised the professor has put up with it.

I also worry that she (and the three other people in my class who come and go so much we wonder every day if they’ve dropped the class) is giving a completely terrible representation of my school, as our professor is visiting form another university AND we have a senior citizen in our class who is auditing through a special program run by the university.

Because of this, I find myself over-preparing for class and making sure I am always present and on time, if not early. It’s like I’ve taken it on myself to represent my school well, becuase no one else will. I personally have to make up for their slacking.

Then I started thinking, I do this for my generation as a whole ALL THE TIME. I overtip so the waiter won’t think young people are cheap. I never get sloppy drunk in public, especially on public transportation, because I don’t want the actual adults to think we are all alcoholics.

I keep up on current events so when I interact with adults, I have something interesting and intelligent to say, keeping them from thinking “These young people are so wrapped up in themselves, I doubt they’ve even HEARD of the New York Times.” I’ve done this in internships, in social situations, EVERYWHERE. I’ve somehow appointed myself ambassador for twenty-somethings, at lesat the college aged ones. Everyone else screws up our reputation, and I, for some reason, feel it’s my job to fix it.

Does anyone else do this? Do you feel constantly embarrassed by your peers? Do you just want to scream at them, “YOU ARE MAKING ME LOOK LIKE A FOOL!”? Because a lot of them really are.

(Obviously, I’m not saying all college kids are like this. I don’t want people to think I hate everyone. I just don’t appreciate the few who make us all look bad.)

Where Community Organizing and Social Media Collide

The overall focus of the conference held at Allan Hancock College was bridging the gap between community organizing and today’s new media tools. Of course, as a new media connoisseur it was a can’t miss opportunity to participate in an event where social media and technology were the stars of the show.

In fact, at one point we had the exciting privelege of conferencing in Juan Sepúlveda, Director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, via Skype! The audience was locked in and impressed with this unique experience which showcased the power of today’s new media communication tools. Mission accomplished!

Overall, the conference was a beginning point for what is sure to be landmark activity in creating a groundswell of momentum that impacts the Latinosphere on multiple fronts from community organizing, marketing, public relations, and education to voter engagement, health, job growth, and beyond.

Activate! Spark! Inspire!

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

The perks of conversation are too few and far in between. We must remedy the situation by maintaining a constant effort to keep our fans and followers interested. Recency breeds reaction…and our focus as content creators should always be on keeping things fresh. It’s good to be so fresh and so clean that our audience keeps coming back for more.

Consistency matters in the chase for relevance.

A small but strong reminder as we continue our social media journey.

The Crowd Syndrome

Popularity is a tricky thing. It’s measure can reside with the masses or take up camp in the mind of an individual striving to capture attention and generate interest. In the journey towards validation, we often mistake a good sized crowd for an engaged audience. In the world of social media, being present matters over presence.

There is no engagement in numbers. Data might paint a nice picture and speak to quantity but quality interactions and true conversation take a crowd from mass to measurable impact.

Let’s not strive for numbers but rather value-added interaction.

This is where true synergy lies.

An Emotional Trap

Our environment is ripe with information, updates, entertainment, and a variety of media. Emotions lead to a strong desire to express ourselves. Oftentimes, we run to the internet to stake our claim, make our case, or just plain vent without considering the potential outcome of our digital rants.

We tend to forget that the internet is a massive vault in which our ideas, expressions, thoughts, and opinions are easily stored but not easily removed. The tasks involved with erasing a tweet, removing a blog post, or shutting down a website can be numerous and challenging making it important for us as content producers and social media participants to remember what we publish will make its way to the visual aperture of today’s audiences. It is almost impossible to avoid the trap of disregard in the online arena.

Before you tweet…blog…or comment…think twice.

Kind of like measuring twice before you cut that last piece of lavish mahogany.