Saturday, March 10, 2012

Why Should I Go to College?

Throughout my years of going to college, I have been a strong advocate of the importance of getting a good education and gaining institutional recognition of your skills and capabilities. I know a lot of people who go to college and a lot that don't.

Working at Walmart, I see lots of people who are unhappy with where they are at in life. Some of them are in the later years in life (many of which regret not having gone to college), and a lot of them are young and less than 5 years out of high school but aren't already going to college. I ask them, "Do you want to work for Walmart for the rest of your life?" and not a single one has said that they did.

But essentially, this is what it boils down to: without going to college, you are forever limiting the kind of jobs you can get. Sure you don't have to work for Walmart. There are any number of companies that you can spend your time working for. But the fact still remains the same-- you are limited to a very small category of jobs, and most them are going to be just as bad as working for Walmart.

So many people get stuck doing jobs like cashiering or waiting because they never went to college to get the training that they needed. A lot of these people have hopes and dreams, most of which have to do with this idea of being "successful," but beyond that, everyone has ideas of what they would like to do if there weren't any barriers for entry. Computer programming, scientists, business owners, and so forth. There are any number of jobs that person would want to do but couldn't without education.

Beyond that, a lot of people just don't know what they would want to do. But chances are, those same people have a list of interests that could relate to any number of jobs that they would be very happy with.

Going to college isn't for everyone, or so people say. But I believe that it is! NOBODY wants to be stuck doing lame dead-end jobs that pay low wages. Nobody ever says, "When I get older, I want to be a Walmart door greeter" or "I would really like to clean bathrooms for the rest of my life." No. That sucks. Why would anyone want to do that for the rest of their life?

It's important to go to school, and coming back to this idea of "success," we have to understand what success really is.

Success isn't simply making a lot of money; rather, success is doing something that you love doing. It's really easy to get passionate about something when you job is challenging and rewarding. When you are doing something that makes you feel like you're making significant contributions to society or to a team of people, you feel way happier than when you're getting bossed around by managers all day.

Education is a seriously risky endeavor. You can pay thousands of dollars into it and get so caught up in life that you end up dropping out without the benefits of graduating. It's a huge time commitment that requires a lot of effort, and most people who aren't going to college would say that they just don't have the time or motivation to do it. But you have to plan ahead. You can't just sit there and let the rest of your life pass you by because you aren't willing to do the work now.

I'm going to college because I want something. What I want can't be achieved simply by the act of wanting it. I have to have knowledge and skills, and I also have to have recognition of those knowledge and skills. What I want to do is change the world. I want to spend my life working for humanity, making sure that everyone in the world has a chance at being happy and achieving self-realization (the act of making use of one's full potential). I want to make sure that people are able to have dreams and act on those dreams. I want to make sure that people have access to adequate resources. I want to make sure that people can provide for their families and not spend so much time being miserable because they can't pay the bills.

I want to work for better education, to make it cheaper, more efficient, more effective, more personal. I want to evolve education into something that is innovative and creative, not rigid and stagnant.

I can't do that without getting an education first myself! Education is my key to changing the world, but your dreams don't have to be that big. If you want anything, anything at all in this world, you should pursue it with all of your strength. There is no reason to let petty excuses get in your way of acquiring the skills and credibility you need to do something that is truly important to you. And chances are, even if you end up doing a job (like teaching) that doesn't pay off as well as other jobs you could get through education, if that is what you choose to do, you will be much happier than if you hadn't.

Employment should be something personal that calls to each individuals interests and capabilities. That can only be achieved by getting an education, and that is why you should go to college and live out your dreams.

--Koi

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Students Fight for Education -- 68 students arrested in California

According to an article posted by U.S. News at MSNBC.com (http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/06/10589957-police-arrest-68-people-protesting-education-cuts-inside-calif-state-capitol), 68 students were arrested after protesting funding cuts for public education. According to the article, the protesters were arrested after blocking hallways and conference rooms at the state capitol. The protesters were also warned for an hour that they would be arrested if they did not leave. However, other than one man who was arrested for carrying a switchblade knife, there wasn't any other reasons given for the arrests.

While I do sympathize with the protesters, I think that the arrests were probably justified. It is important for legislatures to be able to conduct daily business, and if the protesters were blocking entrance to the building and conference rooms and making it impossible for legislatures to do their job, it is perfectly understandable that they would get arrested.

It's important to fight for education, but it's also a good idea to keep protests orderly. There have been a lot of protests that have gotten out of hand like one protest that happened earlier this year in California where protesters got maced by cops. Though it got bad media coverage and the cops were seen as using excessive force, the students were blocking the cops from leaving because they felt like a few students that got arrested (all for legitimate reasons such as disorderly conduct) were arrested unjustly and wanted the cops to let them go. Thus, they were in effect conducting a threatening act towards cops and endangering public safety by making it impossible for a large number of cops to leave and attend to other more important business.

For the students in this particular protest, they should have taken to the lawn and made sure to leave room for people to enter and exit the building. While obstructing the legislatures ability to do their job is a fast and easy way to get attention, it doesn't pay off in the long run.

I think it's awesome though that California students have been so actively involved lately. Like Arizona universities, California's universities are seeing major cuts in education leading to nearly double the tuition rates.

This is a bad policy for lawmakers. These students are our future. By making cuts to education, they are effectively raising tuition rates and creating more barriers for people to get an education. Without educated citizens, it is impossible to have a strong economy because we depend on college graduates to fuel  our workforce with experienced workers, start businesses, lead major non-profit campaigns, and generate ideas. Further more, education is responsible for a large portion of research that is developed in the country.

By cutting funding to education, you are not only hurting students, you're hurting the economy and the future of America.

The alternatives would be of course to cut spending elsewhere (though this is easier said than done seeing as how education and health care take up such a large portion of the state budget), or increasing taxes to make up for the shortage of state revenues such as Gov. Jerry Brown (Cal. D.) is proposing.

This is a move that Arizona made with Prop-100 which has brought in $62 million since it was enacted (which is short of what was projected by about $12 million). Though the revenues generated weren't as much as was hoped, this $62 million dollars has been a substantial help to education in Arizona. Though it hardly makes up for the shortfalls in government funding to public universities, it is definitely a start. And by only increasing sales tax 1% it doesn't have a large impact on the community either.

Remember, education should be our main priority. If you cut funding to education, you're not going to have a very bright future. America used to be #1 in the world, and even though we still have the largest economy, it's not nearly growing as fast as it used to because of a lost focus on education. Other countries like China and India that are putting a huge focus on strengthening their education systems are seeing amazing growth in their economies, despite having a shrinking population (where the amount of people born each year does not make up for the number of people that die) and an aging population.

We have to fight for our education (responsibly) and let legislatures know why education is important to everybody, not just students. We need to write our legislatures, call them, have meeting with them, vote, and bring awareness to cuts to education funding. When students unite, we get things done. Just take a look at HB 2675 in Arizona, where we worked together and got the bill pulled by the representative who introduced it.

Students do have a voice.

Students do have power.

And by using our advantage of numbers to influence politics, we can help create a better America tomorrow.

--Koi

Guns on Campus Bill -- AZ -- SB 1474 -- Not Dead Yet?

Though we thought it was dead, rumors are now circulating that SB 1474, the Guns on Campus Bill in Arizona, may be rearing its ugly head once more.

The recent speculation about the bill coming back up is due to a lot of interest taken by the National Rifle Association (NRA) who has recently started pouring a lot of resources into getting this bill passed.

As the lead proponent of the right to bare arms, it seems that the NRA has no limits as to where and when they think it's appropriate to have a gun. I'm sure that if it was up to them, citizens would be able to bring guns anywhere they want and get guns pretty much anywhere they want without any major restrictions.

I'm honestly not opposed to the right to bare arms, though I often question the "need" some people feel to own them. I could see how it would be important in case the government ever somehow got infected with some kind of malicious virus that made them evil and wanted to turn America into a tyrannical dystopia, or more practically speaking, if you lived in a really crappy neighborhood (though then I would question why you stay or why you think that a gun is more necessary than like a baseball bat that would be less lethal?).

Anyway, obviously I'm not terribly supportive of people's personal decisions to get guns, though I am supportive of the right to own them.

But despite my support of the 2nd amendment, I think that there are some places where it is just inappropriate. One of those places would be bars. You should, by law, have to leave your gun at the very least in your vehicle when you go to places that serve alcohol. Guns and alcohol DO NOT MIX, EVER! I don't care how trained someone is or what they think qualifies them to drink and have a gun handy, it does not make a situation safe ever!

And of course, another place where guns are inappropriate are schools. I know at ASU we already have a police department ON CAMPUS. We have armed officers who patrol our campus and make sure we are safe. We do not need to carry our own guns to keep ourselves safe. This bill won't make campuses any safe, all it will do is give people more lethal ways of solving fights, arguments, and other disputes, especially for those people who can't control their temper.

I mean, I'm not afraid of the military-trained, college undergrad who is there to study and take his schooling seriously; I'm afraid of that one guy that won't back down from a fight, regularly scruffs it up with people because he can't control his anger, and might pull that gun out if he feels like he's being disrespected. Those kind of people don't just exist in the ghetto; they are on college campuses, too, unfortunately.

And I'm sure that as well as increasing violence on campus, it will increase armed robbery as well.

Dr. Crow said that he didn't support the bill, I don't support the bill, most people I know don't support the bill, and anyone who thinks this is a good idea probably hasn't taken the time to think about this question seriously.

--Koi