Be thankful for opportunity for education
By Kimmi Martin
College was always the next step for me. Ever since I was little I knew I would go. It was essential. It was expected. It was normal. I had no choice. Now, don't get me wrong, I never did not want to go to college. It was just a concept I grew up with, like Catholicism, or knowing that I would always be the youngest child in my family. I simply accepted it.
So it began at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, Ind. Freshmen year, okay. My roommate became one of my best friends. Nothing too eventful that year. Sophomore year. Cool. I developed my core group of girlfriends. Nothing out of the ordinary. Made some guy friends too. Alright. Junior year, not bad. Had my first single room in college and it was the best academic year of my life. But other then that things were pretty quiet. These were the important issues in my life. These were stages and at the time, crucial. Yeah, I took some pretty cool classes at Notre Dame. And Saint Mary's being ranked number one for so long was pretty terrific. But, honestly, I didn't really care. I was in school, like every other normal American kid.
Wrong. We are not normal. We are not the majority. We are not the general public and we are most certainly not average. We are here because of talent. The talent that some institution of higher learning wants to use. It is an exchange. The school uses us for whatever we bring to the table and we use the school for a future job that pays well and are hopefully happy in. When was the last time you told someone you appreciated it? When was the last time you really did appreciate it?
Less than a quarter of America's population is college educated. Less than a quarter! In this country. America! Land of the free, home of the brave.
The brave father, with his eloquent voice and elegant style, who used his retirement money to send his daughter out east to a nationally ranked number one college. The brave mother, with her masters degree, who washed blackboards to pay for part of her own elementary school education. The brave grandmother, who's face lights up the entire church when someone asks her for the 100th time what colleges her two grandbabies attend. The war veteran grandfather who always says "you can become rich and then you can lose everything, but no one can take away your degree."
We have become so used to complaining about what we do not have and have become so immune to people telling us how lucky we are. There is a reason why God put each and every one of us here. There is a reason why we were accepted into Saint Mary's College and the young woman down the street was not. There is a reason why Notre Dame's application process is so extensive. Because not just anybody can be a Domer. Not just anybody can be a SMCer. You are not just anybody. You just got lucky.
For a moment, put aside the complaints. Put aside all of the frustrations. Put aside all the "crap" that you have to deal with daily and think about the one person who would do anything to be where we are today. Think about the person who does not have a meal plan or does not even know where his next meal is coming from. Think about the person who probably deserved to be here more than anybody, but just couldn't make it work. Think about the person who never set foot in a college classroom. Think about how easy that person could have been you and how easy you could have been them.
All Viewpoint Stories for Wednesday, October 27, 1999