Nothing sets off the end of the semester like exams, events, probates, and banquets. But this ending was different than all the other endings, I’ve experienced. This ending I felt fulfilled, as if I had worked hard, played hard, and learned about who Jelisa was and what she wants to do.
-Wednesday: I met a few of my fellow UT Bloggers, Khang, and Vikki. Needless to say, they are wonderful people whose drive and dedication to their passions left me in AWE. Khang is a bio-chem major, and Vikki is an architecture major who is doing a volunteer project in Honduras. Check out their adventures at UT.
-Thursday: I said goodbye to ABSOLUTE best class I’ve taken at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Moore’s Black Power Movement class. It was there I read about the movement in the 60s and 70s where Black Americans became the makers of their own destinies. Each class I left inspired, and determined to make a difference in my community. Now, I’m minoring in African American and African Diaspora studies. If you get the opportunity to take this class…DO IT!
I also said goodbye to the Costume Shop crew. Hope, my crew chief, and Ashley, my friend, and I were the trio to be messed with on crew. Sewing labels on costumes, learning how to manipulate fabric, and laughing all the way. BEST PRODUCTION LAB ever.
-Friday: My last Theatre History class. After all the comments I heard about that class, I never thought I’d enjoy it so much. Professor Cassidy and TA Beliza worked their butts off to make it an environment where we felt comfortable sharing ideas.
Hooray for Acing the Audio, and Oral parts of my Spanish exam! This is my last lower-level Spanish class this semester, and Professor Omar Vargas was really sweet, and helpful. Although I hate learning languages in a classroom setting, I could honestly say I am going to miss SPANISH 611D. Plus, I was voted 1st place winner for my Presentation by our class. The only regret is NOT talking to the guy I had a crush on for an entire semester.
Lesson#___: Surround yourself with AWESOME people.
“The night is sparkling/Don’t you let it go.”—Taylor Swift
The UT Service Scholars Banquet this Wednesday was where we honored the new UT Service Scholars for completing 50 service hours this semester and being officially inducted into the program. When I’m at a banquet, I cheer the LOUDEST. I congratulate almost everyone even people I don’t know. I take way too many pictures. My friend Ira was inducted and honored for her service, and now she is apart of the UT Service Scholars family.
What was really cool about this night is this was my first induction ceremony since I didn’t get to attend my own last semester. I got to see 15 students including my friends Jesse , Roger, Farhana, Nhi, and Brenda walk up to the podium and receive certificates. What’s cool about UT Service Scholars is that this students would gladly continue to serve without getting any certificate. It’s their nature, it’s a part of them. Seeing that is what make me realize that Jesse is right “We have something special in UTSS”.
*By the way applications are still being accepted until Dec. 16th.
Highlight of the night: Meeting President Powers. I am so weird when it comes to talking to people who are “celebrities”. I get tongue tied. That’s exactly what happened when I tried to talk to him.
Lesson#__: Celebrate others accomplishments.
My LULAC mentee Luz, and friend Marissa became a member of Delta Alpha Sigma Multicultural Sorority. I went to her probate which was the organizations first probate at UT. Luz means light in Spanish, and she’s one of the most positive people in the world.
My friend Ashley Corona graduated this semester. She was one of the people who encouraged me to Study aboard, and major in Latin American Studies. I am so proud of her for walking across that stage.
Lesson#__: End on a good note.
After chatting with my good friend/ex-LEAP Mentor Eduardo about my college progress, I realized I’ve come a long way. From a student that faced academic challenges, to a student doing well in her classes. I know now that that I can do anything I set my mind to.
Thank my mom for stressing this all semester: No matter how hard something is…YOU CAN DO IT. Nothing worth anything is easy to obtain. You are the master of your own destiny, and it doesn’t matter where you came from, all that matters is where you are going.
This coming January, the Occupy Movement is coming to the University of Texas at Austin! Yes, I have heard of its existence downtown (http://occupyaustin.org/). And I have always been an avid supporter of the worldwide movement since its inception at Wall Street. But now, the movement will soon be real, in front of my eyes, at the footsteps of our beloved tower. I no longer have to think about traveling to New York or Oakland or any other place out of my reach. The time has come for us to stand united in solidarity against those who have taken our money, effectively leaving the poor and middle class in worse conditions than they were before. As UT students who make little to no money, who have no time to get a decent job, who have to pay for their education, none of us can sincerely appreciate those with the most power who make a secondary education even more difficult to obtain. Despite what the media has done in an attempt to misrepresent or even smear the movement, we should all be informed of the truth behind the solidarity before we make any sensible judgments. And as students, we should all be in full support of the Occupy Movement.
As most of us have felt the consequent pain, the recent budget cuts in the national and state level have caused the most pain in the middle and lower classes. And I would assume that UT is comprised of mostly middle and lower class people. (In other words, we do not have millions of dollars in our bank account). Just earlier this year, and even more crushing if you witnessed in high school, many teachers were laid off as a result of this financial mess. In my high school alone, around 16 teachers of a staff of over 100 got the axe swung at their blossoming careers, all because the school district lacked the money to fund our education.
To those who accuse that this movement is an uprising of lazy liberals, I wholeheartedly disagree with your notion that this is an issue of left versus right. Rather, it is a movement that seeks to change the power structure in which we live: the rich and powerful hoard all our money, while the powerless suffer the consequences. In the midst of my teachers’ job crisis, many of us, regardless of our political beliefs, openly criticized our superintendent of receiving bonuses and car allowances while lowly teachers received much more unjust treatment. Our superintendent completely refused to take a pay cut, a sacrifice that would have saved the jobs of a handful of teachers, not to mention the education of future generations.
The same applies to our budget. A practical example of our budget problems can be found in the oil industry. A study conducted by the Congressional Budget Office shows that capital investments on oil field leases and drilling equipment are taxed at an effective rate of 9%, significantly lower than that of most other businesses (and most Americans). And because of the existence of numerous other loopholes, some oil companies are able to pay virtually nothing in taxes. While these big companies make millions of dollars in profits each year (their CEO’s have made millions in bonuses) and share almost none of their income with other Americans, families with modest salaries, like my own, pay a hefty part of their incomes on taxes. But somehow, our representatives are either oblivious to this disparity, or they simply do not care. In May of 2011, a proposed bill to eliminate some subsidies for oil companies, the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, failed to gain the necessary amount of votes for debate. The 48 Senators who voted for cloture received $370,664 on average in campaign donations from employees and political action committees representing oil. Those who voted to consider the Act were paid a measly $72,145 (Kretzmann). In subsidies, this cost the federal government $43.6 billion over the next 10 years (Taylor).
So that’s what happened to our budget. We have the ability to tax the wealthiest Americans, asking them to pay their fair share in taxes. But alas, the power struggle that exists in our country allow the rich to pay less taxes as a percentage of their income than do the rest of Americans. Money that could be used to fund the education of many hardworking Americans who cannot afford a post-secondary education. Money that could be pumped into the pocketbooks of citizens who otherwise cannot pay for goods. And without customers, big businesses do not produce anything. And the economy slows to a halt!!
So we have all complained about the hikes in tuition in the past few years. This is why we should all be charged to participate in this Occupy movement. We deserve a right to education. And we must fight so that all people, regardless of their income, have the same opportunity to learn the skills they need for work and for life.
And to those of you who may still disagree with me, I urge you to do a lot of in-depth research rather than just listen to what the mainstream media tells you. Before you make any rebuttals against me, look up the facts and analyze the reasons and passions that have surfaced among the Occupiers rather than make baseless, shallow assumptions.
Occupy the Tower!
Kretzmann, Steve. “Senators Opposing End of Oil Subsidies Received Five Times More in Big Oil Campaign Cash.” The Price of Oil. Oil Change International, 17 May 2011. Web. 23 Oct. 2011.
Taylor, Jerry, and Peter Van Doren. “Eliminating Oil Subsidies: Two Cheers For President Obama – Forbes.com.” Forbes.com. Forbes.com LLC, 3 May 2011. Web. 24 Oct. 2011.
United States. Congress of the United States. Congressional Budget Office. Taxing Capital Income: Effective Rates and Approaches to Reform. 2005. Web.