Monday, December 14, 2009

Day 117 - "She Used to Tie Her Hair Up in Ribbons and Bows"

I haven't blogged about the industry lately and really had no clue as to what to talk about. However, when one of my fellow writers at Suite101 posted a link to this blog post, I couldn't help but sharing.

Just for reference, I am not a man and I will not take on a male name in order to make money as a writer.

In response, I have come up with my own "Statement of Women Writer's Beliefs" that I think explains how I feel about the whole issue:

I, as a woman and practitioner of the literary arts, do hereby believe:
  1. I shall honor all those women before me who chose to claim the work produced by them, regardless of how discriminated against I shall be because of my gender.
  2. I shall remember that some of society's greatest works of literature were produced by women who were not afraid to use their given name.
  3. I shall continue to publish and promote any and all writing, by keyboard or by pen, created by me and my female name and by millions of other women around the world.
  4. I shall not "pass" as a member of the opposite sex to make an easier dollar, but will instead rejoice at the honest money I have made and will make in all professions because of my hard work.

There. I am woman, hear me roar!

Or, in this case, write my heart out and be proud that I am a woman who has enough guts and talent to share my writing with anyone who wants to read it.


Day 117 - "Sugar We're Goin' Down Swingin'"

I read this article about whether or not children should pay for college completely on their own or with assistance from parents.

So, my opinion is a little bit biased on this topic, especially because I'm one of the kids who were told, "sorry, you are going to college, but you'll have to pay for this one yourself. Go find some loans."

According to the article, a study conducted by Public Agenda reported that roughly 42% of students who receive no financial assistance from home actually finish college. My parents paid for books, which weren't all that expensive given that most of my books could be bought used for a nickle, but everything else was me. I almost didn't graduate because of a $996 balance for my last semester that I couldn't just cut a check for and still take care of everything else. Like clothes, food, supplies, and sorority dues to stay in good standing so that I could keep the scholarship they gave me.

In reality, though, financial aid is designed to account for parents chipping in a certain amount of educational expenses. Sure, if a student has decided to get an apartment off campus instead of living in a dorm, I feel that the student should pay for the extras, not the parents. But if, for a student, it comes down to paying tuition or dropping out of school to work three jobs in order to pay off all of the previous loans, then parents should be better educated on the financial aid process.

When anyone who is a dependent completes the FAFSA, they are told up front that the expected family contribution (EFC) is x amount of dollars based on the information provided. That can be in loans, cold hard cash, or other forms of payment that do not involve selling organs or humans on the black market.

In all honesty, things would have turned out a lot differently had I gotten help from my parents paying for college. You can say yes, I chose to go to a private school and stay to watch tuition go up over $5,000 over four years, but in order to get the education and the challenge I needed, that was where I had to go. Even from the beginning, declining all student loans and making monthly payments couldn't even have come close to paying off tuition out of pocket. I would have to work every single minute that I was not in class, and forget about sleep, food, or studying.

With the rising cost of college, isn't there some way to help college kids out? Seminars for parents and students on financial aid? Lower interest loans? Or, heaven forbid, cap or lower tuition at ALL schools, not just state ones?

We can always hope, so that when I tell my grandkids that I graduated with $70,000 in student loans and had to walk up hill both ways through the snow to pay them, they'll think I'm telling three exagerated stories instead of two lies and a truth.