It's taken me a bit to not feel a certain way and to be able to articulate my ideas and vulnerabilities here without being righteously angry and humanly despaired. I realize that there are people that would feel differently about what I'm about to express here but, I ask for a little grace here as I speak from my own convictions and the words that God has given me over time.
This whole blog post is probably going to take me a few days to articulate properly but I need to talk about some news that completely took me off guard at the end of this semester. It honestly had me in a moment of despair and I realize that this is a snippet that I've only mentioned in my paid podcast but, some forms of intense emotion cause me to be ill in some random ways. And I know that comes from being in my flesh first and worrying instead of immediately going to Jesus about it but hey... I'm learning.
It seems like it wasn't that long ago that I came across my current university after graduating from community college a year prior and being rejected from my first choice. I want to preface this blog by saying that I very much found a place where I felt that I belonged despite it being a Catholic university and I , a non-denominational Christian. The environment is wonderful and there was an air of peace there that ultimately led me to apply in late 2019.
Ultimately I was accepted and though I've needed to take out relatively small loans to cover my tuition, I've been able to cover my expenses so far between scholarships and grants and honestly the revenue I do make from my YouTube channel. My first year at this school was rained on due to the Rona. I transferred in Fall 2020 while everything was still virtual and shut down and I slaved away in front of a screen through Spring 2021. I couldn't tell you just how excited I was when the university opened up to nearly full capacity this fall with only the requirement really being that we mask up.
None of you should really be strangers toward the attitude I've had since the near beginning of the outbreak in 2020. I was cautious in the beginning like anyone else, I also remained prayerful and word-filled, fully aware of the health that I walk in through Christ. I can say that I also became way more faith reliant on the health that God gave me after the adverse affects that masking had on me early on. That is why I continued to work on my immune system as I began the next segment of my education from my basement.
This semester, we had to mask unless we could be in an enclosed area, socially distanced and all that. Fine...cool... compromises were made here because as an art major, as an education major, there's only so much one can actually complete online and I knew that it was time to continue my life. So, I've been rocking and rolling all semester long with awesome grades and great successes, especially in my art classes. You all may note that I recently released a blog hyping up my pottery experience.
I would like to state that I've not had the Rona (I'm calling it this because we all have to be nitpicky with wording 🙄) since all this began. For moral, prudential, and religious reasons I have also had to make some choices regarding my body and I live with that fairly well because I am blessed and I continue to trust God. Part of the reason that I've been thriving in my current environment I think is that people there for the most part are of similar mind or, don't really care what other people are doing so long as they are doing their own due diligence. Essentially that is what I'd expect from a faith-based institution.
Some flags came up for me over the summer as surveys and memos came out about... we'll say medical status. Frankly, I find it gross and invasive to demand medical info from a pool of people. Not only that, it is in fact, a violation of HIPAA rights. Though of course, there are a frightening number of people who would step on one's rights but that's another conversation. This constant prodding told me two things, 1. these people are nosy and 2. a lot of people have made the same choices I have. The emails went from gentle inquiry to bribing students with a chance to win a $100 gift card, to putting holds on our student accounts, barring us from funding and registration until we disclosed whether or not we'd gotten medicated. Coercion?
Now I will say here that this all probably isn't uncommon and you may have your own kids or grandkids going through something similar. I'm just thinking here that being a faith-based institution, they'd be going about this a bit differently, I digress.
All semester long, things have been running smoothly. The cases on campus have been low and if not for the masking signs all over the place, you wouldn't really think about Rona. Honestly, this was a happy middle ground. Would I prefer to not be suffocating in class, yes? Have accommodations been made, sure, I work long hours outside of class, so if I need to sit outside and breathe God's good air, then I may do so. Recently, Giving Tuesday passed and of course my institution engages with it to raise funds for things as campus is tiny. I found it fairly interesting that they waited the day after to hit the students and faculty with this lovely email.
Now. A lot of people would shrug this off and go along to get along but, I am not one of those. You see, I have conviction and I have firm lines that I draw in the sand when it comes to things like this. I've decided for the time being to move to online courses which is going to extend my degree again... and worse comes to worse, I'll be a two time dropout in this lifetime.
Let me tell you one thing. You give anyone with a bit of authority an inch, and they'll take a mile. This isn't some rebellion against authority but, what I see is that no matter what degree of compliance that these places obtain, it'll never be enough. This is something that I have generally applied to other areas of my life and now over the last also 2 years since 15 days to slow the spread. Now it's showing it's ugly head in academics. My personal take is that I'm not going into debt and paying nearly $30k/year to be gradually experimented and sampled on like some kind of second rate cattle. Some may think that stance is a little extreme but I'm calling a spade, a spade based on the things that I'm observing and the attitudes of others. My lived experiences if you will. I mean with messaging like this, you can see the writing on the wall for what's probably coming next here.
My heart goes out to my fellow low-income peers just trying to get through this loaded time period. Not going to lie here, I was choked up, angry and I almost cried in that moment because I realized that all of my plans, advancement and opportunity was taken from me before I could realize it in the new year. Just before my last class I was just offered a great opportunity for on-campus work in the art department, my ceramics teacher had agreed to let me work in limited capacity over next semester and I would have been a couple steps closer to finishing this degree. I am at 69 of 120 credit hours right now (not to mention my added minor in business admin).
One reassuring thing though, the one thing that gave me home in this moment of utter despair was that as I sat, surfing through the online course offerings, the registration system crashed for a little over 2 hours that Wednesday evening. It was probably a little vindictive to smile in that moment but, this told me that a lot of people are of the same mind on my campus. Honestly, I can see this reverting campus activity back to a ghost town next year if this is the type of game that the leadership wants to play.
So here I am now, a few days later, a little more lifted, better adjusted, and feeling better making out an extra game plan for my future. Now more than ever, I find it necessary to make my artsy craftepreneur dream work and that is not something that I can achieve without the help of my community. And for the record, I don't expect everyone who reads this post to like and or agree with how I think and feel. Life isn't about that, it's about love and humanity.
If you've gotten through this post and you're not absolutely outraged... thank you for having the aforementioned grace and understanding from the beginning of this post. If my content is something that you enjoy and would seriously love to see go further, then I ask that you just help out the content by continuing to view my tutorials/vlogs. I ask that you consider sharing my blogs and product pages or when I release new patterns, consider buying one. I'm looking at this next semester at home as a positive that will allow me to pump more energy into my channel and my business to make it something that is thriving and worthwhile.
In the last several days, analytics results have been rolling in and I can see where this blog is starting to generate more activity on its own and for that I am truly grateful. Now that I've had a few days to cool my head, I'm seeing even more positives for my situation and I look forward to updating y'all on that as time goes on. I still feel the same but, it's not wearing on me like it was a week ago.
Anyhoo, keep me in your prayers and until next time, happy making! 💖