The Key of Return

Carl Knappett examines the way in which people think through material culture stating that the “meaning of an object arises in the articulation of the its pragmatic and significant dimensions.” He uses a methodology that utilizes physical affordance, cultural and conventional constraints, iconicity, as well as indexicality, to exemplify Bonnot’s case study that showed that significance and symbolism of material culture could shift through time and spatiality.

This case study can be applied to that of Palestine, more specifically the right of return, Al ‘Awda, for Palestinian refugees. Within a Western context, old keys may be seen as just that, an old key. There are key museums that possibly seek to present older keys as art as opposed to anthropological artefact, as Gell would suggest. However, for Palestinian refugees, the symbolism of older keys not only represents, but also is synonymous with the right of return to their homeland, which they actively seek. Many Palestinians who fled Palestine during the Nakba held onto their house keys and land deeds, in hopes of a quick return. However, the current political situation has not lent itself to the repatriation of the Palestinian refugees, leading these keys to be passed down from generation to generation.

This generational hand-down of keys is one of the reasons why the image of the key is referred to as mftaH al ‘Awda, or the ‘Key of Return.’ This tradition has brought together generations of Palestinians in the aspiration to return to a homeland some have never seen. The Key of Return acts as a uniting factor amongst Palestinians all over the world, unifying Palestinians under one goal. Palestinians have shifted their political representation, as well as shifted their political aspirations, however, the right of return has been one thing that most Palestinians can agree on, regardless of political affiliation or geographic location.

While the Key of Return is largely a political statement, it can slink into the realm of the arts. Many Palestinian and Palestinian activists, who are artists, use this image in their work. The Key of Return has the ability to be both aesthetically appealing and meaningful, putting into issue Gell’s theory that people are “slaves” to art and aestheticism and that objects considered as “aesthetically superior” suggest symbolism beyond “mundane artefact.” The Key of Return’s beauty lay in the resistance movement, aspirations of return and Palestinian unity. It is only mundane when it is devoid of meaning and history, yet artists use the Key of Return as a socio-political statement in their art. Artists have the ability to evoke more emotion from an image of the key through various elements of their work; artwork of the key can therefore be considered meaningful and aesthetically appealing. However, had the Palestinian right of return not been associated with the image of the key, artists may fail to make the key aesthetically appealing, as it is a historical artefact, but it is the meaning behind the Key of Return that gives the key in artwork its aesthetic appeal.

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Date: Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dear Pizza Lover,

Have you ever wondered why most people struggle to make really delicious pizza? Why many simply give up on the idea of creating a great tasting pizza at home? If so, pay very close attention and read this page very carefully…

For me, this entire “pizza thing” started one cold January day in 2006. I picked up the telephone and called a few friends to invite them over for a highly anticipated football game. I also informed everyone of my intentions to serve a wide variety of “game food”… of course I suggested that they bring their own beverages… but I urged everyone to make a special effort to “drop by” for the game.

When asked about the “game menu”, I proudly announced that I would be baking a homemade pizza for the big event…

Stay with me here….

Looking back, I understand why I got the long “sighs” and unexpected “‘snickers” when I mentioned my plans to make a pizza on the telephone that day…

None the less…

A few days later… game day arrived and sure enough, during halftime, I proudly presented the homemade pizza that I had so proudly mentioned during my invite…

I was stunned!

“Surprisingly, my friends pointed at my pizza and laughed in my face…”

How embarrassing! How totally embarrassing! They commented on the shape, the texture of the crust… they even made jokes and compared it to their favorite pizza parlor pies. It really got bad after they “‘indulged” in the beverages I asked them to bring….

Man oh man….

Needless to say, after my friends departed, I was quite “bummed”. Feeling embarrassed and incredibly humiliated about the outcome of my “Big Game” pizza pies, I decided to get even. So I immediately went to work…

Month after month, day after day, morning, noon and night I began to study the art of creating great tasting pizza. I studied pizza dough, pizza crust, pizza sauce, cheeses… I even studied conventional home oven temperatures and the affect these ovens have on baking the perfect pizza pie (a big affect I might add). I conducted further study and discovered the best sauces and how to blend together the best toppings.

Soon, I started pulling together a blend of ingredients for various types of pizza pies, pizza sauces and pizza crusts that would satisfy the most “critical” of pizza lovers… I’m telling you, after being embarrassed once, I was determined NOT to be the brunt of jokes again…

I decided to leave no stone unturned as it relates to to creating a wide variety of “mouth watering pizza pies…

Let me ask you a simple question…

Are you tired of making pizza at home that gets responses like this… “it’s pretty good”, “not bad for homemade “, “it was O.K.”?

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 Likewise, pizza lovers also remembered mediocre pies as well…

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“When can we come over and sink our teeth into one of those Legendary Pizza Pies you like to make?

They call early in the morning, then call late at night, they called requesting “pizza favors”. They want to trade favors for pizza pies!

They even begin to call me “The HomePizzaChef“.

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My Past Pizza Humiliation Is Now The Beginning Of
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I have here on my desk, the new updated pizza crust crash course, that takes you by the hand and leads you step by step through the process of making one of the all time favorite pizza crust that the world has ever known…in no time flat.. I might add…

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pizza_checkThere’s Pizza In Your Inbox!

The report is entitled “7 Quick Power Tips For Making Great Pizza Crust!”… and it’s simply the most amazing “inside” look at how the pizza gurus put together one of the most sought after pizza crust known to man, that’s right, you can use this particular pizza crust recipe every time if you wanted, and no one would ever complain. But remember, there are many other types of crust you can try also… I’ll get to that later.

Now..moving on… I’m getting ready to let you in on my FULL BLOWN set of findings and recipes.

The pizza making guide that I’m about to introduce you to is going to address everything you need to know about how to make great pizza…. and a lot of it. Furthermore you’ll be able to
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HPC’s Legendary Pizza Recipes in conjunction with our FREE mini e-pizza reports and e-pizza tips will teach you exactly what you need to know to turn your average homemade pizzas into hard to resist homemade pizza masterpieces.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn With These Pizza Making Roadmaps & Resources:

pizza_checkHow to churn out a massive variety of mouth watering pizza pies for the cost of what you normally pay for a single “buy one get one free deal” and a couple of drinks down at your local pizza parlor…

pizza_checkHow to get rid of that soggy, doughy, non crispy pizza crust that frustrates most home pizza makers when attempting to make a homemade pizza masterpiece…

pizza_checkHow to find the professional pizza making tools you need and have them delivered to your front doorstep for little to nothing. This will “pave the way” for your highly anticipated pizza making projects. You’ll be able to make great pizza quickly and easily…

pizza_check How to compensate for the fact that your conventional home oven won’t reach
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pizza_check How to plan your pizza making experience to maximize pizza crust flavor and produce perfect pizza every single time…

pizza_check How to save a pocket full of money this year because you stumbled upon a pizza making blueprint that allows you to create any type of pizza you want…anytime…in
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pizza_checkHow to take full advantage of the closely held secrets of master “pizza making Gurus ” that awaken pizza flavor and make your homemade pizza pies the envy of your family & friends…

pizza_checkHow to avoid the many pitfalls of making homemade pizza that taste like a bread loaf covered with cheese and tomato sauce instead of the savory pizza masterpieces that your taste buds crave and deserve…

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” California Style Pizza “

You could quickly & easily learn how to do all these things…and much, much more…

Look, it’s no secret that great pizza is loved by many…. I wouldn’t insult your intelligence by making you believe otherwise… .

It’s simple…. Lot’s Of People (especially kids) Simply Love PIZZA!

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Go ahead and order it TODAY and start enjoying pizza at a whole new level by tomorrow. And remember, for a limited time,I’m also going to send you “The Copy Cat Recipe Sampler, 200 Salsa Recipes, 120 Fruit Desserts and 100 Great Sandwich Recipes are all yours to keep FREE as bonuses just for picking up Legendary Pizza Recipes.

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The Key of Return

Carl Knappett examines the way in which people think through material culture stating that the “meaning of an object arises in the articulation of the its pragmatic and significant dimensions.” He uses a methodology that utilizes physical affordance, cultural and conventional constraints, iconicity, as well as indexicality, to exemplify Bonnot’s case study that showed that significance and symbolism of material culture could shift through time and spatiality.

This case study can be applied to that of Palestine, more specifically the right of return, Al ‘Awda, for Palestinian refugees. Within a Western context, old keys may be seen as just that, an old key. There are key museums that possibly seek to present older keys as art as opposed to anthropological artefact, as Gell would suggest. However, for Palestinian refugees, the symbolism of older keys not only represents, but also is synonymous with the right of return to their homeland, which they actively seek. Many Palestinians who fled Palestine during the Nakba held onto their house keys and land deeds, in hopes of a quick return. However, the current political situation has not lent itself to the repatriation of the Palestinian refugees, leading these keys to be passed down from generation to generation.

This generational hand-down of keys is one of the reasons why the image of the key is referred to as mftaH al ‘Awda, or the ‘Key of Return.’ This tradition has brought together generations of Palestinians in the aspiration to return to a homeland some have never seen. The Key of Return acts as a uniting factor amongst Palestinians all over the world, unifying Palestinians under one goal. Palestinians have shifted their political representation, as well as shifted their political aspirations, however, the right of return has been one thing that most Palestinians can agree on, regardless of political affiliation or geographic location.

While the Key of Return is largely a political statement, it can slink into the realm of the arts. Many Palestinian and Palestinian activists, who are artists, use this image in their work. The Key of Return has the ability to be both aesthetically appealing and meaningful, putting into issue Gell’s theory that people are “slaves” to art and aestheticism and that objects considered as “aesthetically superior” suggest symbolism beyond “mundane artefact.” The Key of Return’s beauty lay in the resistance movement, aspirations of return and Palestinian unity. It is only mundane when it is devoid of meaning and history, yet artists use the Key of Return as a socio-political statement in their art. Artists have the ability to evoke more emotion from an image of the key through various elements of their work; artwork of the key can therefore be considered meaningful and aesthetically appealing. However, had the Palestinian right of return not been associated with the image of the key, artists may fail to make the key aesthetically appealing, as it is a historical artefact, but it is the meaning behind the Key of Return that gives the key in artwork its aesthetic appeal.

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Dissecting Orientalism

As noted by Anderson, Tessler and Halliday, regional studies are essential to the social sciences because they make broader analytical frameworks pertinent to the areas they comprise. Halliday brings forward his thoughts on the impact of Orientalism on the social sciences and makes several concerning points about the Orientalist debate.

Edward Said considered one aspect of Orientalism to be a certain depiction of the Middle East and East Asian cultures, that portrayed the East as backwards, exotic, uncivilized and in need of rescue.

“Orientalism provided a rationalization for European colonialism based on a self-serving history in which “the West” constructed “the East,” yet in Halliday’s critique, he refers to Arabs as one entity. This fails to address the non- Arab population living in the Arab nations. Before the modern Arab world existed there were a multitude of different cultures and languages spoken in the Middle East and North Africa region. As of recent statistics, there are more than 300 million Arabs in the MENA region, this number, however, includes the many ethnic minorities that do exist in the area, including the Kurds, Armenians, Aramaeans, Chaldeans, Turkmens, Cherkess, Turks, Zangians, Nubians, Berbers, Banyans, Haratins, Gnawas, Tauregs, Chechens, Romanis, Ajamis, Moors and Assyrians.[1] Halliday fails to address the demographics of people who were Arabized, such as the Berbers, as Berber languages were seen as inferior to Arabic. [2,3, 4] Just as the West orientalized the East to justify their colonialism, in turn the Arabs Arabized the Berber population as they too were and are capable of orientalist-like beliefs. Haliday’s failure to address this flaw and label of “Arab” is in a sense an orientalist belief because he has grouped different cultures together under one label.

Another concerning point unaddressed by Halliday was the effect Orientalism had on MENA academics, researchers, journalists and writers, as well as what happens when these people serve an Orientalist agenda. For example, Joumana Haddad is a Lebanese poet, translator and the creator of the Jasad quarterly magazine. She is also the editor of the cultural pages of the Al-Nahar daily paper. In her book I Killed Schehrezade: Confessions of an Angry Arab Woman, she attempts to debunk stereotypes of Arab women in the West, yet she also enhances the eroticization and orientalization of Arab women in her magazine’s erotic portrayals. She aims to show that the “typical image of Arab women is not all wrong, but rather incomplete,” but her argument and actions found throughout the book leads the reader to believe that she herself believes Arab women are oppressed.[5] She orientalizes herself by grouping Arabs with Muslims together, as not all Arabs are Muslims and not all Muslims are Arabs.

While Halliday, Tessler and Anderson addressed many issues faced by academics studying the Middle East, their concerns seemed self-centred and short-sighted, seeing as little focus was given as to how their research can influence ideologies held by MENA researchers and politicians, as well as affect the lives of the people living in the regions they study.

[1] The Islamic Human Rights Commission. “IHRC – Minorities in the Arab World.” Islamic Human Rights Commision (IHRC). 27 Jan. 2004. Web. 17 July 2011. <http://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=989&gt;.

 

[2] Weiss, Bernard G. and Green, Arnold H.(1987) A Survey of Arab History. American University in Cairo

Press, Cairo, p. 129.

 

[3] Harich, N., E. Esteban, A. López-Alomar, P. Moral, A. Chafik, and G. Vona. “Classical Polymorphisms in Berbers from Moyen Atlas (Morocco): Genetics, Geography, and Historical Evidence in the Mediterranean Peoples.” Annals of Human Biology 29.5 (2002): 473-87. Print.
[4] BBC NEWS. “Africa | Q&A: The Berbers.” BBC News – Home. 12 Mar. 2004. Web. 17 July 2011. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3509799.stm&gt;.

 

[5] Haddad, Joumana. I Killed Scheherazade Confessions of an Angry Arab Woman. P. 31. Lawrence Hill, 2011. Print.

Learn More, Study Less: The Video Course

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    • How one student went from failing in chemistry and mathematics to scoring 85% using just one technique in the guide.
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An update on Moving Dartmouth Forward

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To the Dartmouth Community:

Last January, I announced the launch of Moving Dartmouth Forward, a plan to greatly reduce extreme, harmful behaviors on campus including high-risk drinking, sexual assault and violence, and incidents of bias and exclusivity. I am writing to give you a progress report now that we are six months post announcement and two terms into the start of implementation.

My goal in launching the Moving Dartmouth Forward initiative was to ensure that our campus is a vibrant and supportive community focused on intellectual growth and engagement both within and outside the classroom. The elements of Moving Dartmouth Forward were based in large part on recommendations from a Presidential Steering Committee, chaired by Professor Barbara Will. In crafting its recommendations, the Steering Committee sought broad input from the extended Dartmouth community, consulted with experts on high-risk behavior, and studied best practices at a number of peer institutions.

A far-reaching element of this plan is to transform residential life at Dartmouth by developing a house community system, which we will launch next fall. These house communities will enrich the opportunities for social interaction and intellectual engagement within our residence hall system. We selected six talented house professors who will guide the creation of house communities in cooperation with Rebecca Biron, the new dean of the College, and they will be soliciting input from faculty, students and staff during the coming year. Additionally, we have committed $1 million to student programming this year.

Beyond the house communities system, Moving Dartmouth Forward includes a number of measures that will promote a safer and healthier campus. Last spring we revised the College alcohol policy to extend the ban on hard alcohol from students under age 21 to all undergraduates, and we differentiated penalties for violation of the alcohol policy depending on whether the violation involved beer or wine, or hard alcohol.

In the area of sexual assault, we significantly strengthened the College’s judicial policies a year ago. In the coming weeks, Safety and Security will send out a community announcement about a new Dartmouth-specific smartphone safety app, which I encourage every member of the community who uses a smartphone to download. Also regarding sexual assault, we have signed a memorandum of understanding with WISE, a regional advocacy and crisis services organization for those affected by domestic or sexual violence, and hope to soon have a WISE advocate working on campus. We are also piloting aspects of a four-year sexual assault education curriculum. And, later this fall, we plan to launch an online “consent manual” which will help to clarify acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

Last spring, students, faculty, and staff participated in three working groups charged with drafting a code of conduct, revising our event policy procedures, and drafting new standards for organizational accountability. I would like to thank those who took the time to work on these committees. This week, entering students will sign the new citizenship pledge, which was drafted by one of the working groups. Together with our Principle of Community and Academic Honor Principle, this new pledge affirms the rights and obligations that we all hold as members of an intellectual community–the duty to act with integrity at all times, in and out of the classroom; the right to express ideas freely, even if they are not popular, while remaining respectful of the rights of others; and the recognition that our diversity enriches all of us.

During the fall, we will introduce new rules crafted by the Social Event and Alcohol Management Working Group relating to alcohol service at undergraduate parties. Later in the year, we will introduce a new standard for organizational accountability based on the work of one of the working groups. All student organizations must make a positive contribution to our community in order to maintain recognition. These measures are in addition to those enacted last spring: a ban on pledge periods in all student organizations and a requirement for all Greek houses to have faculty advisers.

Last spring we conducted the AAU Sexual Assault Climate Survey and this fall we will conduct a Community Study, a campus-wide survey that looks at the learning, working, and living environment at Dartmouth (our campus climate). In the coming weeks, you will receive information about this campus climate study and I encourage all students, faculty, and staff to participate. We will release results of these surveys and use the information they provide to enhance our efforts to create a safe and inclusive campus.

Finally, to ensure accountability, I named an external review panel that will report regularly to our trustees on whether we are taking the steps that we promised in the Moving Dartmouth Forward initiative.

As we move forward with implementation, we will continue to assess the effectiveness of our efforts using information from the surveys and all other available data. I invite you to visit the Moving Dartmouth Forward website to stay informed about our progress.

Sincerely,

Phil Hanlon ’77

President

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The Scholarship Blues

I earned a place for Doctoral studies at some of the most prestigious and competitive universities in the world, but it all goes to waste if I can’t fund my studies. I deferred my place last year because I couldn’t get the funds together or at all for that matter. I figured, I’d take a year and hopefully things will come together.

But no one wants to give me PhD funding because my grades weren’t the best in undergrad  due to my undiagnosed learning disabilities  which influenced my grades in areas like math and science which I had to take for my journalism degree. Math, science and classes like Amish culture were completely irrelevant to my degree, but prerequisites are prerequisites. I’m told that in order to get funding my grades need to be the best of the best, but this doesn’t take into account my mitigating circumstances. Surely had I had the financial opportunity to get diagnosed earlier, I would have gotten the opportunity to learn ways to study and learn what worked for me. But alas, I didn’t have those opportunities and there go my funding chances.

Another reason no one wants to fund me is because my academic papers are not published in peer reviewed journals or academic journals, but every time I try and publish, I get told “we only accept published academics,” or I get told that I need to pay in order to get published. So let me get this right: I need money to publish so I can be a recognized academic so I can get PhD funding, but I can’t publish until I’ve been published and have the money? Maybe things work differently when you are already an established academic, but realistically speaking, how am I supposed to get started out? I was a journalist, but when applying for PhD funding, no one seems to care about journalism publications. Or at least this is what the rejection emails tell me.

Next step was to contact charities with grant applications. A list of charities was provided by my prior university, so I used that as a starting point. These are charities that are known to give student grants. And the response there has been dismal. Charities have been rude, mean, have told me to stop soliciting them, told me I’m not Palestinian enough or Arab enough. They’ve told me I don’t meet residency requirements, I don’t display financial hardship, I can’t provide up-to-date information about my disabilities, my grades aren’t good enough, I’m not involved enough or not Muslim enough. I’m too old. I’m too young. I’m too this, I’m too that. I’m not enough of this and not enough of that. One person even told me that it was “illegal” for them to give grants, when I know other students who have for a fact received grants from them. One person even replied saying “We don’t have any money. You probably have more money than our charity does.” Really, Really?! You want to go there. Okay, let’s go there. If you have consistent working plumbing, you have consistent heating in your house, don’t have to choose between  paying your bills or buying food to eat, then trust me– you are way ahead of me.

Or what about the charity that tried to change my entire PhD topic of study, deeming my topic irrelevant and uninteresting. Firstly, I never asked for your advice on my topic of study, I asked for your sponsorship. Secondly, I have advising teams at each university that differ with you. Not only is my topic ever the  more relevant, as it makes headline news regularly, but the top academics in my field believe it to be interesting, important and relevant. Thirdly, you may not know how academia works. For example: I can’t enroll in a music doctoral degree, get there and ask my advising team to support me in studying cryptozoology. Fourthly, you changed my ENTIRE topic. Meaning I would have to reapply all over again with a different proposal. And lastly, by changing every little thing about my topic, you made it your project and no longer mine.

Keep in mind that I am not harassing these people, charities, organizations, entities, etc. I send one email: A grant proposal. A university approved grant proposal.  I don’t call, follow up, knock on their doors. I’m completely calm. And I’m not about to waste my life or time arguing with these ignoramuses.

Next, crowdfunding. Even though I have had limited success with crowdfunding. (By the way, I’m VERY grateful for the money I was able to raise. VERY!) Getting £1000 was not easy and almost impossible. I don’t know many people. The people that I do know don’t have money to spare. I’d even get emails in response to my crowdfunding that told me to give up, it was a waste of time, it’s never going to happen, that I need to not bother people, etc. I put myself out there. I tried. I got burned.

Tried the online scholarship search engines. I spend my life on those search engines. I qualify for nothing. Somehow, I don’t qualify for anything.

Even the Said scholarship set up for Palestinians won’t fund me unless I go to Oxford or Cambridge and even though there’s an academic at Cambridge who said he would take me on, I applied there twice and couldn’t get through the first round because my undergrad grades from 10 years ago in math and science were rubbish. I got rejected by Oxford three times for the same reason. (If you’re really polite, nice, desperate and willing to make contacts, lecturers/professor/staff will secretly tell you why you didn’t get in. Doesn’t work everytime, but you get lucky every so often.)

Bottom line-  no one cares that I have learning difficulties. No one cares that the American education system is different than the British, European and Australian systems. No one cares that my overall undergrad GPA was a 3.12, but my GPA for my major and minor was a 3.67. No one care that my first MA was on a pass/fail basis. No one care that during my 2nd MA I became registered disabled due to some serious problems in my back that can’t be fixed, but only coped with.

No one cares that I went to the 4th most overpopulated high school in my state, or that my high school teachers told me I wouldn’t succeed to my face or that 9/11 happened during my sophomore year or that the devastation of 9/11 turned our sophomore curriculum upside down or that some of my classes didn’t have classrooms, books, set curriculums or that so many times our teachers gave up, walked out of class and stopped teaching, or that there were 50 students in my classroom or that my high school suffered from riots, bomb threats and at least one major fight a day or that I got bullied mercilessly or that all of these problems affected my learning experience.

When I got to my first year of undergrad I had no confidence, I thought I was dumb, I didn’t know how to study, I had never had to sit through a class longer than 40 minutes, I never had to write an assignment longer than two pages, I never had to use citations, I had never done a research paper, I never had to memorize information, I didn’t know I could get tested for learning disabilities, I didn’t know so many things. I spent most of the first two years of undergrad crying because undergrad hit me like a brick. High school in no way prepared me for undergrad and in comparison to the students in my class that had better academic upbringings, I could tell I was behind.  No one cares that I can play a mean game of catch up. But catch up can’t change the past.

I worked my nerves to its ends and got into an Ivy League MA program, where again, I felt I had to play catch up because I was no longer studying journalism and entered into the wonderful world of Liberal Studies. I competed against students who had formal training in studying gender, culture and globalization. It was all new to me. I struggled, a lot. But I’m proud of what I accomplished there. And again I had to play catch up for my second MA as I competed against students who had their first degree is Middle Eastern Studies. Middle Eastern studies was  a topic I read about in my spare time. I never studied it intensely or formally, I dabbled, but everyone else was way ahead of the game. I worked day and night, in spite of my medical difficulties and hardship to reach a level in which I finally felt my peers were finally my intellectual peers. I stumbled, A LOT, but no one gets points for most improved on their transcript. If only their were a module in which there were marks for effort, motivation, time spent, passion, determination and promise. If only I could get graded against myself as opposed to against my classmates. Or get a mark for moving my life across the planet by myself to another country, to a completely different educationally structured system and succeeding.

My motivation and ambition doesn’t count for anything on paper because there will always be someone with a perfect GPA or academic standing that gets ahead of me. These things will never show up on a transcript. And if there is anything I’ve learned it’s that transcripts are more important than letters of purpose.

I can’t provide up-to-date information on my disabilities because I haven’t seen a doctor since being back in America. I signed up for that whole Obamacare business and my application for health insurance keeps getting bounced around from office to office and no one seems to know when I will finally have health insurance or if I ever will. Whenever I ask what I should do if I’m sick, they say go to this and this doctor, but you’ll have to play out of pocket. Yup, can’t do that. I have no money. No income.

That no income part, my loan servicers don’t seem to believe that. Seeing as they are federal loans, you’d think they can check and see if I am employed or not via paying taxes, but maybe that’s asking too much.  I have to pay back $130,000 in student loans starting in March because that is when my deferment period ends. I applied for unemployment deferment, got rejected and told to apply for income based repayment. Yeah, that’s going to be tough to do because there is no income to speak of.

Not because I don’t want an income. I  have been applying for every type of job under the sun since May 2014. Even physical labor jobs which I know will only cause my disability to worsen. And guess what? I still can’t get a job. Signed up with recruitment and temp agencies, LinkedIn profile, Craigslist, Indeed, Simplyhired, Idealist– I get maybe 20 emails a day from different websites listing all these job opportunities. I apply and apply and apply and nothing. When I finally do get the chance at an interview, I set it up, date and time. I’m dressed and ready and pumped and every time they cancel on me with no prior notice.

Even though I have no job and I’m living off of my maxed out credit cards, I still somehow don’t qualify for food stamps, unemployment benefits or any other kinds of benefits. How did I manage that? How? Beats me!

Despite it all, I’m not bitter. I’m not angry. I’m upset, sure. I don’t expect a handout or pity. I’m not going to sit here and toot my own horn about how I’m an amazing human being or list all my good karma points. I’m far from perfect and I’m not entitled to anything in this world. But I want a fair fighting chance. I want more than what’s on paper to count. I want to live and not simply get by, but to really live.

I still remain optimistic that things will work out. I won’t stop trying and neither should you.

Opportunity: Look out, I’m coming for you!