Saturday, September 01, 2007

Getting A Higher Education

With school staring for me next week I thought maybe I should explain how immigrants, like myself, are able to attend colleges, universities and other institutions for higher learning. First of anyone can attend these school's meeting the proper qualifications, but immigrants don't have to pay out of state fee's like other's thanks in part to the California Assembly bill 540, which let's us pay California resident fees. Out of state students pay around 180 $ per unite, while we get to pay 20 $ per unite, significant difference no ? but that's at the community college level, higher up the prices depend on what school your attending. AB 540 students are those who have attended a California high school for more than three years and graduated. Upon enrollment at a college students are asked to sign a "contract" that states that the signer will apply or is in the process of legalizing their immigration status. Obviously we don't qualify for fee waivers or gov aide so some of us make do with scholarships that don't question residency,family and of course work. Books are always a pain in the ass because they're so expensive and when you have a home to keep, suddenly spending 100 $ plus dollars isn't easy, needless to say we have to save up for the upcoming semester weeks in advance, like I did. Also the number of classes and what classes enrolled one is enrolled changes things as well. I myself am enrolled in two Honors classes this semesters, Philosophy and Humanities so I don't know what to expect and I've been saving up for the last two pay checks. For me there's also this gratifying feeling knowing that I'm paying for everything on my own straight up cash baby girl. I've only had one semester in which my parents paid for my classes and that was because I didn't have a job at the time, other than that everything has been all me. Going to school is necessary for us because we have to prove our worth to this country and society. We have to be productive members of our communities because if we don't help each other, other's wont and they'll do their best to keep us down and uneducated. School starts on Wednesday for me and I cannot wait for it because the possibilities of meeting new people, mostly girls, is extremely high and with all this new found self confidence that comes from having a stable job that puts money in my pocket, I'm going to make things happen. In fact I'm on the schools newspaper staff, but because I put my foot in my mouth and started shit in all the wrong places, that's now up in the air. I'm hoping she can forgive me for being a stupid ass and allow me to stay, but if she doesn't I fully understand her decision. Even though I cause trouble everywhere I go, I know being able to attend an institution of higher learning is a privilege, one that I fully take advantage of. I see other students who have free rides getting their classes and books paid for and even getting spending money from federal grants all so they can go to school, yet all the do is waste their time drifting trying to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives all the while complaining that they're stuck in the ghetto and how they'll never get out. All I complain about is the decrepit conditions the school I'm attending, East Los Angeles College, is in as it falls apart from being so old (Est. 1945) I'll make do with what I have and make the best of, after all I came up through the Los Angeles Unified School District.