I grew up spoiled rotten. I had everything I needed in addition to virtually everything I wanted as a child. I had a new gadget and wardrobe every week it seemed. I became popular off the strength of my new shoes alone. This went on throughout my teenage years. I didn’t have my first job until I was 19 years old, mainly because I wanted one. I spent those checks on frivolous shit I already had and didn’t need more of. Shit people took the lives of others for, risking theirs. Although I was spoiled, I wanted to get out there and work to supplement my spending habits. Work is a lot more complex than I realized however, and it tied into the real world. The world of labor and wealth producing resources. This is how I got from point A to point B, from a spoiled child to the scholar I am today.
Being spoiled was bittersweet because I grew up not understanding what money was or how it actually worked. My father would always tell me to save money and stress delayed gratification; I wasn’t hearing any of that (imagine my guilt when I learned about the concept of planned obsolescence). I thought there would always be an endless flow of money at my disposal. In the grand scheme of things, in terms of economics, finance and capitalism, I had absolutely zero knowledge of how money worked. In the back of my mind though, I was always curious. I read a fortune that said “you will never have to worry about a steady income” and took that to heart. Don’t worry about it, pursue it and it’ll come. I played the numbers on the back and everything, won $35 bucks. I thought I had cracked the Ancient Chinese Secret.
By the time I fully grasped the concept of money, I held an exorbitant amount of student loan debt after receiving 2 degrees from both a State and Private institution. Me. Not Mommy, not Daddy, not my friends. Just me in exit counseling both times, all by my lonesome. But… I just knew I’d graduate and get a well-paying job within 6 months of graduating, just in time to begin paying my loans back. Loans had I realized would be mine and did the math on even as a naïve 17 year old, I may have had second thoughts taking on. I went to school so I could get a good job and buy more stuff. I finished undergrad in 2009 during the midst of the economic crisis. The DC Tuition Assistance Grant Program paid for majority of my undergrad expenses. In hindsight, I wish I had just stopped there.
“Oh, don’t worry. Just go ahead and get your Master’s, things’ll get better.” I was so very hesitant to continue after taking my first course, but wanted to “do the right thing.” I always finish what I start. I finished alright, with a lot more debt than before in 2009. Currently, obtaining it is thee biggest and most expensive mistake i’ve made thus far. It’s the sole regret I have to date, I just wasn’t ready.
The Real World
I always hated school but loved to learn. And even though my Master’s degree is the root of my stress, during my quest for it I discovered the source of my motivation to truth seek. It was during my Constitutional and Administrative Law course when I finally decided to reject school and follow my heart, my soul, my inner dialogue. I had learned enough to confidently challenge what didn’t make sense to me.
It was while reading the text for this course, a passage about the origin of The United States criminal justice system, that I had my Eureka moment. It was talking that Greek shit; no mention of any preceding Ancient Civilizations in which they borrowed from. I had just spent 4 years studying an abundance of histories and cultures, including those that preceded Western Civilization. Nothing. When learning how our system of public policy was rooted in Greek Philosophy, I wondered why Greek? How can European philosophy be used to police me or any black person for that matter? I thought about all the students who weren’t as familiar with World History as I was and how they perceived this.
This was the beginning of me learning about global oppression and the identity and space created for me to be conditioned to fit into. It’s what led me to research the Federal Reserve System which just blew the lid off of everything I thought I knew about law and government, civil and human rights. I finally understood what Dr. Barnes was asking in American Government & Politics when he asked “exactly, what is government? exactly, what is politics.” Though I had guidance, I basically taught myself the most important lessons.
Learning about our system of economics and how it ties directly into controlling natural wealth producing resources, including people from across the globe, blew the lid off of imperialism, colonialism, democracy and so on. I was finally shifting my paradigm from what I had been programmed to believe; I could see the lies embedded throughout society and hidden in plain sight.
I attended a majority of classes with African adult students; this was a very precious experience I feel special to have had. My former professor was an Ambassador of Liberia to Nigeria. It was a mature environment with totally different perspectives from my own and those I’m bombarded with. We were able to form friendships and learn about each other in a space that wouldn’t have existed otherwise. I was able to speak on behalf of children of immigrants, like their own, as well as African American cultural influences on us.
A majority of my classmates intention’s were to receive their Master’s in Public Administration and return to their native countries to serve. This made me say, “well damn.” Maybe I should take my education and skills to Jamaica or somewhere it will actually benefit from, rather than falling in line and assimilating into the American way of making things better. Possibly even live The Good Life. Then I think about all the people outside of the United States who’d give anything to trade places with me at my lowest and never look back, regardless.
The real world has been a never ending rabbit hole for me. I’ve answered the most pressing questions i’ve had throughout my life and now I am able to observe and understand the world around me. I am mentally prepared for the ups and downs towards my pursuit of happiness. Money is just a medium of exchange for the things I love that have unfortunately been commodified and overpriced in the name of capitalism.
Thanks for reading!