Social mobility is an opportunity to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps, work hard, get a good education, and build a better life. That is what makes this nation the land of opportunity. Without opportunity the American Dream is not accessible.
I was told I could break the cycle and increase my quality of life by going to college. You can imagine my disappointment as I prepared to finish my degree only to find it no longer held value in the workforce. $100,000 of burdening debt, four years never to be returned, and no idea what I was going to do with my life.
Taking into consideration the amount of debt some students graduate with combined with the years they lost while attending college, it can be argued that pursuing a college education at this moment will decrease your status in society. College graduates receiving traditional higher education learning experiences are deprived of upward mobility.
After graduating from college I was fortunate to have been mentored by a nationally recognized education reformist. It was then, I decided it was in my best interest to self-direct my own education from now on.
We are living in the last remaining breaths of an unsustainable economy. I see social problems which have gone unsolved for decades, and some cases centuries. I see large groups of unemployed Americans. I see corporations in control of the means of production who pump the money from our local communities. I see an education system which is not preparing youth for the economy. I see a nation deprived of the opportunity to pursue happiness. These are serious issues, however, this list of dysfunctional features of American society are symptoms of much deeper, systemic problems. There are flaws in the system which result in the list of symptoms I mention above.
When we battle, protest, and argue about symptoms it only pushes us further from discovering the underlying systemic problems. If we treat symptoms without treating the underlying disease then we only get more sick as we move forward.
The situation we find ourselves in today is the result of decisions made many decades and centuries ago. The current administration did not set up my life to make sure I was born into poverty. That was the result of 100 years worth of decision making. The deans of a university do not wake up in the morning and think to themselves, “How can I make our student’s lives a living hell?” These people have a natural calling to teach you everything they know and to help you become the best version of yourself. The system was in place when we arrived. We can not blame one another for being born into a society which has systemic flaws.
We tend to argue about issues which existed long before our time, and we find a way to personalize and defend their existence as if it was our decisions which caused the problem. We stand up to defend sides of an argument in which neither person participating is responsible for. What if we stopped arguing, just for a moment, and used the time to work together to come up with a solution?
I do not foresee all demographics of certain generations as opening their hearts and minds to the rest of society. I do not foresee our society resolving most of its issues at the drop of a hat. However, you and I are in a unique place to make a decision that will change the direction of this country’s evolution. You do not have to like everyone, you do not have to agree with everyone, but if we do not all come to terms and agree on this then this nation is going to become nothing more than a failed experiment that eventually gets left out of the history books of students around the world.