We will not go quietly

As a woman, I am scared of a Trump presidency.

As a journalist, I am scared of a Trump presidency.

As someone with Mexican, African-American, and LGBT best friends (on speed dial kind of friends), I am scared of a Trump presidency.

As someone with a Hispanic boyfriend, I am scared of a Trump presidency.

As someone who will have to answer for my country when I move abroad in less than a year, I am scared of a Trump presidency.

As someone who has to put my nationality on a customs form in 47 days and many more times in the next four years, I am ASHAMED of a Trump presidency.

no-confidence

That isn’t right. That should never be right. That should never be the reaction of the world to a potential American president.

god-save-america
God forgive America (Spanish paper)

If you voted for Trump and have been vocal about it, at least you have balls to stand behind what you believe. That’s the nicest thing I can say to you and while I vehemently disagree with your choice, I can find some respect for owning up to it. If you voted for Trump from the shadows, looking over your shoulder, lying to pollsters, your family, and your friends, I hope you sleep well and long and aren’t troubled with the weight of the futures of Americans you just jeopardized with a small inked circle.

This was a conflagration of everything this country supposedly stands for and I do not understand. Or, rather, I unfortunately do.

I understand that America is full of scared people with outdated and harmful ideologies more than we thought and so here we are. I just didn’t want to believe that this land of the free and home of the brave was this fundamentally flawed, this broken, this backwards.

We have signed up for four years of being issued wounds that will leave blazing scars. We have signed up for mistrust and lies and uncertainties and rampant egos. Regardless of what Trump does going forward, his win has caused a gaping chasm in American society.

But we’re Americans, aren’t we? We bounce back, we persevere, we fight for justice, we overcome. We have done so for 240 years and just because we weren’t expecting to do so in 2016, here we are, and we’ll rally. We will not back down to this new surge of racism and sexism and unfounded fears of minorities and those who are different. We will not go quietly into that good night.

Enjoy your one-term presidency, Mr. Trump. And be prepared for millions of Americans to be coming at you with their ideas of how to make America truly great.

Grad school…

…looks a lot like:

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Coffee

Forgetting about things ’til the last minute

Three part-time jobs and a every-once-in-a-while job, yes I know that sounds confusing

More responsibility at work

More stress at work

Not seeing friends for weeks at a time

Stress about finding a job. in my field. with a living wage. in a country with 42% unemployment for people my age.

Playing piano + realizing the Rachmaninoff from senior year of high school is a distant dream

Not taking Indianapolis for granted

Lots of Skyping internationally

Excitement about the future but also stress (See above) but also oh my gosh I actually am doing the thing where I move to another country like I’ve wanted for 10 years.

Relying on advisors and certain professors for encouragement and validation that I’m on the right track

500 words of a student evaluation written by mid-semester because I take them seriously and effective rants take time

Realizing that Kilroys is a national treasure

Dreaming about Rio

Dreaming about Spain

Not posting on Instagram in three weeks (record)

Compensating by posting on Twitter way too often

Enjoying and appreciating mom’s homemade food

Etc.

 

Tug of War

Well, a little more than 72 hours ago I was handed a (fake) diploma and flipped my tassel from the right to the left, signifying that I had accomplished something rather grand and amazing: I graduated college.

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I don’t have a really cool backstory. I’m not a single mom like our student commencement speaker on Sunday is. I didn’t face financial difficulties while in school like so many others of my generation. My path to graduation was relatively smooth, but I’m still overwhelmed that I actually made it through four years (has it really been four years) of this process.

My willingness to get things done went downhill exponentially since returning from Spain. I’d like to think it’s because I fully embraced the slower-paced, “no pasa nada” attitude. Really, it was just a typical case of senioritis. But I did get things done and while I’m waiting on final grades still, I’m 50% sure I did, in fact, pass all of them in the end (just kidding mom and dad I’m 100% sure).

This year, as I’ve noted a few times in this blog, on social media, and in person, has been one of conflicting emotions. Coming home for my senior year meant just that: coming home. It meant leaving a country and boy I grew to love to finish what I started in August 2012. But it also meant starting a year of being at the top of the food chain, of taking classes almost entirely within my fields, of seeing friends day in and day out, and of being 21 (hollering at you Kilroys). Senior year for me also meant a year of lasts: Last Regatta, last Honors mentoring meeting, last advising appointment, last finals week etc. It was a year of lasts before I fully expected to begin a life of firsts abroad once again. And in some cases, those events were indeed the last ones I will ever attend.

But life is funny and God has a great (adjective used loosely) way of laughing at humanity’s plans.

I’ve had a few months to prepare for this. The writing on the wall has been there for awhile as far as the most logistical course of action for my future and I officially accepted my place in the IUPUI Masters in Sports Journalism program in April….and deferred my teaching position in Madrid until 2017.

That decision was heart-wrenching. It was like a blown-up version of my decision senior year of high school to forgo my dream school and number one choice in favor of the one closer to home, offering me a full-ride.

Four years later, that decision turned out to be literally life-changing and I wouldn’t alter the past even if I could. I can only hope that in another four years, the bittersweet feelings of being in Indy for 15 more months also fade away and leave only the best of memories in their place.

And so, with my summer grad course beginning on Monday, I begin another year of lasts, this time for real. Last year of working for my office, last year of dance, last year of classes ever (After 16 years it will be about time). And the last time I will ever walk across a stage in a gown that makes me look fat (come on guys it’s been a few hundred years and graduation fashion hasn’t fixed this problem??) will occur on May 14, 2017 and by August 2017, I will be heading back to Spain, with a bachelor’s AND a master’s degree in tow.

I told my boyfriend once that the act of saying goodbye and leaving was worse than actually being gone. Saying farewell is a conscious decision to part ways. Even if you don’t have another viable option, there’s this overwhelming feeling of guilt along with the sadness and angst and worry wrapped up together in a nice little package from hell. Once you’re actually gone, it gets easier, though there are obviously still moments of incredible sadness that we aren’t together. But it’s not like I can just buy an international ticket on a whim.

I felt the same way about this decision to complete my masters while I have the funding to do so. Up until the moment when I sent the email accepting my masters placement and deferring my teaching position, I agonized. Was this really fair to Ale to make him do another year of long distance? Did I really want to put myself through another year of school when I was already struggling to finish the race strong with this first degree? Did I really want to be stuck in Indy when a lot of my friends were moving on after graduation?

And then I sent the emails and notified everyone. Effectively I “went through security” and I was at peace.

Logistically and financially, this is the best of all possible scenarios. It means that I go to Europe as fully-equipped academically as I possibly can be to find a job in my field after my teaching stint. It allows me to graduate with two degrees with a small fraction of the debt most people have when they leave school. It means I’ll be around for both my brothers’ graduations. And it ensures that once I move across the Atlantic, I can put down roots without feeling like I missed out on a great educational opportunity.

So here’s to one more year of feeling torn between two places, but on a good note, another year of memories with my best friends, in one of my favorite cities in the world, of amazing opportunities, of learning from the best faculty, and spending a lot of time with my family.

Off the Normal Path-A discourse on student government

I don’t do this very often (ok ever) but bear with me.

For the last few months, the Campus Citizen, IUPUI’s student-run media outlet, has been investigating IUPUI’s student government: Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and the Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG).

What it has found is disturbing and troubling to say the very least. I had the honor to join the Citizen’s ranks for the first time to contribute a piece to the investigation. Below, read the timeline of articles that have been published thus far and then keep reading my two cents.

  1. http://thecampuscitizen.com/the-latest/2016/1/29/the-systemic-problems-in-iupuis-student-government
  2. http://thecampuscitizen.com/the-latest/2016/2/12/f9n7kfr5i9ftuo97zpz2orrcq2p89s (Mine)
  3. http://thecampuscitizen.com/the-latest/2016/2/12/tuakf60udfjotq9y5isn6edfr4r2iv
  4. http://thecampuscitizen.com/the-latest/2016/2/12/student-and-staff-react-to-the-systematic-problems-in-iupuis-student-government
  5. http://thecampuscitizen.com/the-latest/2016/2/19/opinion-deflections-distractions-and-iupuis-student-government (Editorial by our editor in chief)
  6. http://thecampuscitizen.com/the-latest/2016/2/19/dean-of-students-addresses-record-transparency-among-student-organizations (Opinion on an open forum by the dean of students)

It is that last article that leads me into what pushed me to write this.

At said open forum, IUPUI’s Dean of Students accused student media of embellishing stories.

“I think the important thing about student media is you look for a juicy story and if there’s not a juicy story they try to create a little bit more juice. And I think the media is like that—it just bleeds and bleeds.”–Dean of Students Jason T. Spratt, advisor to USG/GPSG.

I do not care what side of this current issue you are on as an IUPUI student, faculty member, staff member, or outsider looking in. That is a highly, highly disturbing statement. If someone is going to make a statement that is tantamount to accusing the Campus Citizen of being unethical, he/she better be willing and able to back it up with facts and details on where the Citizen erred in its reporting: in my own article, in David’s or in any other piece that has or will be published.

The Dean of Students has repeatedly stonewalled Citizen reporters seeking comment on the issues in student government and asking for any explanation on why it has happened. For my own article I was told I could not have an in-person issue due to “time constraints” though I had given no deadline and only suggested a possible day for the interview. It is amusing to me that he would use a campus-wide forum to so openly declare his feelings on the work of the Citizen when he would not say anything like this to our faces (literally) and will not (cannot) explicitly declare that our reporting is falsified or exaggerated.

Instead, Spratt hides behind insinuation and monologues on our reporting and behavior as a media outlet. Spratt repeatedly called the Campus Citizen “student media” in his quotes from the forum, perhaps in an attempt to devalue the work it has done, make it less reputable. The Citizen is run by a talented group of individuals who are NOT paid for their work, unlike several key members of student government. I count myself lucky and honored to have gotten to be a part of the publication and this group of “student media” members before I graduate.

Furthermore, I love this campus. IUPUI is home to me and I will miss it and the people in it terribly when I finally move on (be it in the next few months or later). I work for campus in two different capacities. I have dedicated hundreds upon hundreds of hours to its student organizations as a member and a leader. I have represented this campus to the best of my ability nationally and internationally and done so with pride.

What the student government is doing and what Spratt said about student media is incredibly insulting. While it does not fully diminish what I have accomplished here nor my overall feelings for IUPUI, it does make me pause to know that the Dean of Students does not believe that I have acted ethically. That without knowing me and without offering any facts to back up his claims, he would accuse myself and my colleagues of exaggerating stories for…fun? to gain page views? to alleviate boredom? Or even all of the above as he did not bother to clarify why he held that particular viewpoint.

I am angry and frustrated that we are being accused of wrongdoing due to our dedication to uncovering truth and bring accountability to a government organization. At every turn we have been outright lied to or unintentionally misled, both of which are unacceptable for a government handling thousands and thousands of dollars and purporting to work for the general good of the IUPUI campus in everything it does.

 

I hold no belief that any member of student government is acting maliciously. But there is a clear lack of guidance and accountability within both USG and GPSG and it is creating an atmosphere in which the student presidents and their executive boards have an insane amount of power and responsibility with little to no oversight. That is wrong at any level of government.

Neither myself nor the Citizen know what the ultimate outcome of this investigation will be. But for my part, all I want is accountability to be brought back into a system where there should have already been checks and balances.

Thank you for reading. Support your student governments. Be smart and well-informed students so that you can, if not be involved yourself, promote and encourage good governing practices within your universities and the world at large.

 

{I found this article to be incredibly interesting in light of the above articles and events that have transpired: HERE )

 

Slow Down PLEASE

All the times I wished for time to speed up last fall are coming back to haunt me. Life sped up in a very real, somewhat terrifying way this week. Post-graduate plans (A, B, C etc) that seemed like hypotheticals just a month ago became very very tangible and this week became much closer to reality than they ever have.

I expected it in some ways. You go through four years of college expecting for life and plans to start working out as you near graduation. The scary part comes in when you know 100% what your absolute life dream is, but aren’t sure which path is the best to get you there. And then life throws a lot of different options at you and really could care less that you have a Spanish capstone essay and online French homework to finish and mulling over post-grad plans were really not on the agenda for this week.

So real life is catching up the virtual, hypothetical life in my head. Finally. And while it’s a bit of a free fall, it’s also immensely exciting 🙂