Thursday, September 23, 2010

What to Expect...Or Not to Expect

For those of you who don't know, I am currently taking an online child psychology/development class. Part of the class is that each week we are given a small project to complete, and must post about our findings on the class discussion board. For this week's project, we were asked to use an agency that would typically give information about pregnancy and birth (with out using the internet) and see what, if any, resources they had for expectant mothers that are either illiterate or come from low income and underprivileged areas.

Most people were calling hospitals or planned parenthood, and I wanted to go in a different direction. So, I opened the yellow pages to "clinics" and found one specifically for pregnant woman and mothers. I thought, "this is perfect! An organization with one main focus must be more likely to offer services to underprivileged women!".   Boy was I wrong.

I called the clinic, and told the woman who answered that I was working on a school assignment and had a few questions about their programs and information they had available. She quickly told me that I would have to call the "business office", and I thought, "hey, no big deal". When I reached the office, the phone answered to an automated message, pretty typical, but instead of options such as "questions" and "appointments", the only place the machine would let me go from there was to contact specific people. Literally, it said, "to talk to Mary press one, to talk to Bob press two". So I did the only thing I could think of, press 0 for operator.

Once again, I explained to the woman who answered the phone that  I was a student and just wanted to find out about their programs and information available. Immediately she told me to contact the clinic, and when I assured her that they had given me this number she put me on hold. When she returned, she simply said "We cannot answer any questions, we don't have enough staffing". Obviously this lady thought that I wasn't the brightest bulb in the bunch, because I had just listened to a listing of all the supervisors who worked there ( a lot) and undoubtedly these weren't their only employees.

By this point I was furious that no one would answer my simple question, and so I asked "What would you do if you had an actual client call who had a question? Would you really tell them you didn't have the staffing?" She just gave an angry sigh and told me there was nothing she could do. Fuming, I pick up the home phone, called back to the main clinic, and before the receptionist even had a second to say "hello" asked, "What information and programs do you have for underprivileged women?!"
"Are you pregnant?" I knew if I said I was a student again she wouldn't answer my question.
"No, but a close friend of mine is. She has very poor reading skills and comes from a poor area. Do you offer anything that can help her?"

"Ummmm... Ummmm..." At this point I'm thinking, you have got to be kidding me..

"Well" she finally said, "We do have a lecture series on how to discipline children and build their confidence. Why don't you just have her call me?"

Perfect. The only thing you can do for a poor, illiterate woman is teach her about time-outs. Needless to say, this left me unspeakably shocked and angry. There are many teen mothers, and women who become pregnant without the means or education to take care of themselves or their unborn child. I am so disappointed that even a place that should be devoted to education and support doesn't offer anything to the people who need it most.

Sorry for the rant, but I needed to get this off my chest.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Different Paths

Undoubtedly the biggest thing that I've learned in two years of college is just how polarized the real world is (what exactly constitutes a real world anyways? God knows it certainly isn't logic, sanity, kindness, or any of those other things you would expect). I have always known and been friends with people of different beliefs - personal, political and religious - but it never really made much of a difference to anyone because, hey, we still got along and that was all that really mattered. In college, or at least at my college, it's almost as if people have to prove just how loud they can scream (almost like when all of us first graders would have screaming contests back in elementary school). Atheists are "educating" the religious, the religious are preaching to the "non believers", republicans and democrats constantly fight with each other, I could go on and on. It's like world war 3 inbetween statistics and English.

But I know what you're thinking.

Amanda, have you ever seen the news before?

Why yes. Yes I have. But the news isn't supposed to dead lock study groups, and it shouldn't cause brawls in the cafeteria.

But believe it or not, the news really isn't what I wanted to write about today.    It's marriage.

Before one of my classes this afternoon, I was discussing with a friend which schools I would be applying to in a couple of weeks (I am transferring next year). When I casually mentioned that one of the schools I was looking into was an all girls school, she was pretty shocked.
"Why would you want to go to an all girls school? How are you going to meet your husband?" was her response.
"I'll let you know once I've met him" Was my answer after the surprise subsided. It was in my head, anyways. The truth is, the idea of going to an all girl school makes me a little nervous, sure, and there isn't anything wrong with getting married. But that is not why I am going to school. Even if I went to a school that didn't allow boys, it isn't like I would be stranded on a desert island with only my fellow females, and I almost certainly won't be rushing to get married after college (I will only be 22 if everything goes according to plan).

The truth is, that my entire life and existence has been one big preparation for "the future". Why else do I go to school and take more classes that I could care less about than classes I look forward to? The future. Why do I save as much money as I possibly can? The future. Is it so wrong to selfishly live in the moment and enjoy doing the things that I want to do in the way that I want to do them? A couple of years ago, I would have whole heartily agreed with this friend and the majority of the other girls at my polarized school, back when I was all "oh, true love! Destiny! Yadda Yadda!". But right now I just want to live part of my life for myself before I worry about sharing the rest of it with someone else.

When I said, "Maybe some people just aren't meant to get married" she just rolled her eyes. And sure, it would kill me to die an unmarried hag and never have kids or a family. But that doesn't mean that I have to make it my prime directive at the moment, either.

My eighteen year old path is a short one, and eventually it will meet me up with someone else. But for now, I'm taking my time.

I find it odd that in a place with so many different beliefs and goals, this one is making me stick out.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The People

Where have all the words gone?
Flown away for short or for long -
replaced with the yells and cries and petty lies
that swarm our silly world.
The things that never matter much
are the things we have in abundance.

Im am a wanderer through the dust
crying just to see.
but the words are all gone now
leaving our monotony.

The things that never matter much
are the things we have in abundance.
The dreams and the faith and the love -
there's never enough.

The people still march on,
the ones who don't know thy're lost
find the greatest reward
and risk the greatest cost.