Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Response to Today's USATODAY Community College Article

Though I have attended both four-year colleges and community colleges, I will neither go as far to say that four-year colleges are rip-offs nor go as far to say that two-year colleges prepare astronauts especially in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) community. There is more college aid in these disciplines. The federal government offers the American Competitiveness and National SMART grants in addition to the Pell Grant to lessen the burden for Americans wanting to major in these fields. In addition, several Fortune 500 firms, knowing that the US is producing one million less scientists and computer programmers than China and India, offer scholarships. Furthermore, as a native Clevelander with NASA Glenn in my backyard, it has not partnered with Cuyahoga Community College for any specialized training because to become an astronaut, physicist, etc, require a minimum of a BA. Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Mae Jemison have never started at a community college and it is by design.

The tier level exists because they serve different functions within society. If you do neither have the grades, the focus, nor the money then community college is for you. It is a cheaper alternative for people to find their footing and save money. Community colleges train blue collar workers. Four-year train white collar professionals. Though I have enrolled at community colleges to take mathematic classes, as an economist working in the STEM community, I value receiving my BA because it has more value. An Associates degree does not have the same value. None of America’s billionaires from Oprah to Bill Gates have ever attended community college. That is a fact. Therefore, the rant that four-year colleges are a rip-off is nonsense because they serve a very really function of training of best and brightest who are ready and prepared to learn now; and, being ready to learn upon graduating from high school is essential towards the United States retaining global competitiveness advantage.

Even though I love the function of a community college, I feel compelled to write this because a four-year college degree is not a waste. The people badmouthing four-year colleges do not possess the aptitude to win a scholarship to attend them. Furthermore, it is important to get as many children proficient in math and science in order to effectively compete with China and India. These two countries are producing one million more scientists and computer programmers than we are. Therefore, this nation can ill-afford the “college is not for everybody” and “four-year colleges are a rip-off” mentalities because stake as the world’s innovative leader is at stake.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Opportunity Journal Entry #24: Career Expansion

The HR specialist assigned the Census’ Statistician announcement, says that the OPM accepts USDA Graduate School credits. This enables me to take both statistics I and II to qualify for this position. Since they cost less than both UDC and AU, I will pay out of pocket. This career expansion comes at a great time because I will need to earn more money to finance my graduate education. The announcement gives me nine months to fulfill the requirements allowing me time to gather the money and use my developmental assignment as a stepping stone towards obtaining experience.

Becoming a statistician puts me deeper into the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) community; and, that is my career objective. I want to learn as much math as possible so that I fully understand the doctoral program information. Furthermore, I want to finish within four years not five. Mastering the math is key towards achieving my goal.

Opportunity Journal Entry #23: Ode to Financial Empowerment

Just when I think that there is no way I can afford my education, I put together a plan. Subtracting the agency’s tuition assistance and my scholarship leaves an outstanding balance; however, with money in my coffers, only a small difference remains. That’s why I really do not need a loan and to take a day to mull over whether or not to pay out of pocket.

It has taken nearly five months to accumulate this kind of money in my other account. Therefore, winning one more scholarship and diligently saving, technically I can pay for my education out of pocket come spring without any loan money. Furthermore, I can always return the additional money. The bank will approve or disprove of my loan within sixty minutes and it will disburse it to the school within two weeks pending no additional documentation. However, getting an updated billing is my job, therefore, Thursday morning, I will review my student account then apply for the loan.

Socking away money for a rainy day has its benefits because honestly I would have never known that this would be the emergency; yet, it is I can deal with it immediately without straining myself. Now I can stroll over and eat $5 entrees during Happy Hour and attend the PINK PASS party at K Street Lounge.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Lending a Helping Hand

Right upon exiting Wachovia, a lady stopped me to ask where was the Citibank on 15th Street? Her question confused me because I exited a retail bank and it did not register that she meant a credit bank. I pointed out Wachovia, Washington Bank, Adams Bank and implied that she was thinking about Chevy Chase Bank. This exchange prevented me from directly crossing the street forcing me to walk across two intersections to return to work. This diversion helped me immensely because I saw the Citibank branch. Feeling bad that I gave the lady the wrong directions, I ran across three intersections to tell me. Luckily, she was on her cell phone asking for directions when I apologized for my error. Afterward, she thanked me for telling her. Actually, that made me feel better than the 73 degree sunshine.

The Truth Behind the Obama-Jackson Rift

The black family war of words surrounding Barack Obama and Jesse Jackson are heating up with some misquoting being done on both sides. Yesterday Senator Obama countered Reverend Jesse Jackson’s remarks saying that fatherlessness is a particular problem within the African-American community because more than fifty percent of households have no father. Reality check: the American divorce rate is fifty percent so that is not just for black families but for all families. It is a shame that Senator Barack Obama has decided to speak from his Audacity of Hope pulpit instead of his Dreams of my Father one where he, too, grew up fatherless. Mr. Obama should preach how he managed to convert pain and self-destruction of cocaine drug usage into becoming an Ivy League graduate and more responsible father.

I pride myself on having the same background as Senator Obama: both of our grandfathers fought in World War II and he graduated from Harvard and Columbia and within one year I will be on my way. We are beneficiaries of the World War II Pell Grant because our ancestors had it when it covered 100% of state tuition. Currently, the Pell Grant covers less than 50% of state tuition and student loans have taken grant aids’ place. That is why we have spent our entire lives above the poverty line. Also, both Senator Obama and I are conceived in wedlock. These commonalites allow me to see the okie-doke whenever it rears its ugly head. In addition, I have pointed out the problems with defending his former pastor Jeremiah Wright before the preacher turned his remarks into a three-ring circus. Furthermore, I take particular issue with Obama’s welfare remark because he knows that there are more white people on welfare than black people. Now instead of inspiring young black men to become better individuals and, hence, better fathers, he gives fire and brimstone speeches admonishing them. His sermons give no solutions which is deplorable. Finally, Senator Obama admires President Abraham Lincoln and I, too, have a quotation for him: You can fool all of the people some of the time, you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

How Bad Do I Want It? Update

I scored 660 instead of 700 on my quantitative section, therefore, I will retake the test. However, buying the Math Word Problems for Dummies book was the best investment ever made because it dissected all of the GRE problems. Though I wished that I had purchased it prior to the test, I was at least happy about the fact that I would score way beyond 700.

Independence from Bitterness

Immediately after hearing a Mexican-American woman's story about how her guidance counselor tried to discourage her from taking French because she was Hispanic at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival's NASA Pioneers seminar, I realized that I was not the only one because my mother and guidance counselor railed against me for taking chemistry. Instead I had to take botany and anatomy and physiology. After eleventh, I decided to take physics yet earned a D because I had no chemistry background.

That pain and anger stayed with me until that moment when I realized that I
can overcome this by reading Chemistry for Dummies and taking a class at UDC. In addition Dummies publishes Chemistry, Biochemistry and Organic Chemistry for Dummies along with Physics and Anatomy and Physiology for Dummies. Of course being the Type A personality that I am, I have researched state and community colleges near Harvard, Yale and Columbia to earn my science degree (it can be either biology, chemistry, or physics). Since I will have 44 math credits, all I will have to do is take the science and capstone courses. My dissertation phase allows me to be outside of school, thereby, giving me the opportunity to take classes at resident tuition rates.