I woke up in a closet.

February 28, 2008, 2:59 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

    I just got off the phone with my mom to talk about numbers, figures for next year, and my plans for the summer.  As of now I plan on living in Brooklyn over the summer and working so I can stay here.  Why do I want to stay here when I could go home and live for free with my parents while making money at a 40 hours a week minimum wage paying job?  I want to have an internship, my boyfriend is here, and my friends will be here.  It’s the same reason why people get homesick when they first move to college.  Also, I want to be realistic about paying bills for myself and being an adult.

Obviously, I’m still dependent on my parents because they give me money to help for me to go to school while I’m taking out loans, but here’s what’s making me upset with the whole wide world: why does a college education cost more than the average student can pay WITHOUT their parent’s or the government’s help?  I’m automatically being indebted for wanting to do something so natural as learn.  At an art school.  Once I graduate and have my BFA, I need an MFA if I want to teach or get a little more recognition for my writing (hopefully).  And if I don’t choose an MFA program that will give me a stipend and fund me, then that’s more debt.  I don’t want to be buried for 10-20 years in debt for doing something that has a lot to do with talent.

I hate the concept of financial debt when it comes to education.  I would love to have educational debt towards my professors, but it seems that Pratt, a private and incredibly expensive college, can’t always afford the ones that might be worth it.  And, is it really worth it to pay so much money that I don’t have to get an education that is semi-predictable?  What if the professors I do want leave, and what if the ones that I end up having suck and don’t teach me anything?  I’ve had the experience of a shitty professor a few times.  I helped get one of them fired.  But, if I’m getting pissed off about paying to learn, I think that there’s something deeper going on.  Probably something about my ethics and what makes me angry about how we all have to earn money and how money is what essentially makes or breaks us.

A few weeks ago I came up with this idea that I want to have a farm.  Thinking about this farm makes me happy.  There would be fields to plant veggies and flowers, free range chickens, some goats, a cow or two, and dogs.  There would be a pond for fishing and some woods to hike in.  I would hire a bunch of other artists and writers and have them do chores so the farm would become self-sufficient and after everyone did their work, they would be free for part of the day to work on creative things.  Something like working on a farm for survival and not to be stressed and worried about getting paychecks, dressing up for work, or going to intense meetings is relaxing.  Why don’t more people want to do this?  Take care of themselves and make their own art for the sake of making art?  And also there are these strong feelings I’m developing against the amount of packaging waste involved in the production of food that I’d like to bypass, but that’s getting into my feelings on globalization and the environment which I’ll bring up later.

Two days ago I was talking to my friend Mason about this farm I want to have, and he told me about WWOOF, a program that hooks up people interested in organic farming with organic farms and farmers all over the world.  The host families in the farms feed and house people in the program in exchange for work and education about organic farming.  The idea of WWOOF or having a farm of my own that could be self-sufficient makes me excited because it would free me from the norms of NEEDING to make lots of money and hoping to gain recognition for myself.  And whatever recognition I could probably manage to get for myself wouldn’t be much, and it would probably be embarrassing afterwards when I thought about how temporary it all was.

But if I did choose to stay in school, get stacks of degrees that have supposedly taught me how to write and hone my craft, I would have a job.  If I plan on being a poet, it won’t be my ideal job either.  I mean — the ideal job as a poet would be to sit in my room or on the beach, maybe in a tree house, and write some fucking poetry because I am so compelled to.  But honestly I’d end up teaching irritated undergraduate college students like myself, or I would be working at a coffee shop until all of my loans were paid off and I could get the fuck out of the city or where ever else I am in order to get myself on a farm.  If I did have a job at a coffee shop or something like that, I’d be whoring myself out to the business sector to cater to probably not only a demographic that annoys me, and an entire industry of capitalism that pisses me off and makes me feel like everything is unfair when it doesn’t have to be.

Here’s something I can be grateful about learning while at Pratt.  In my Media Theory class, we discussed Marx and his idea that for every hour that a laborer works, he’s essentially not alive and not himself.  For every $300 I add to my tab for college, I add another 40 hours a week I will have to work in order to pay off my debt so I can avoid growing old and having the government, hungry for reparation, tap into the very social security money it once set aside for me to prevent me from ever descending too far into poverty.  I’m probably wrong somewhere in there because there are “safety-nets” in that process, but what the fuck, if I stripped it down to that, it sounds so contradictory that the government would even allot money for students to attend universities if some of them can’t pay the money back because they chose to pursue careers that were not high paying.  The rich and successful get more rich and successful, the middle-lower class stay the same, get worse.  The words I’m typing are scaring and embarrassing me.

What it comes down to is that yes, I love to write.  I want to write for the rest of my life and that’s one of the only things I can say for certain.  But, do I want to capitalize off of my writing?  Do I want to be taught that I need to capitalize off of any talent?  And what if I don’t want to be in debt for something that should be based on my talent?  I know there’s gained knowledge involved with that, but pretend there isn’t.  Also, I really want to be freed from a society that traps itself into this money-making, get-richer kind of lifestyle.  I don’t want to own shit, I don’t want to watch t.v.  I want to plant zucchini and  flowers and and feel good about myself without worrying about when the stock market will crash.

So I’m conflicted about whether or not I should continue going to school, and if I should, I want the most solid hope and confidence for what I’ve invested a year and a half in.  I want someone to give me realistic hope and advice about everything I’ve just covered so far.


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