Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Day of School!


And this is how I see myself...
well, maybe a female version.

        My classes require three books each, and they really aren't as exciting as I expected. Actually, I didn't expect them to be exciting. Instead of learning Chinese and Asian Wisdom in a classroom, I want to go to China. Instead of studying an anthropological view of Magic, Witchcraft, and Sorcery, I want to live in a pagan village. Instead of discussing Economic Problems, I want to work on economic solutions.
        Dorm life isn't too exciting either. I'm stuck in a freshman hall filled with people who are more concerned with what color their comforters are rather than discussing where and how these dorm products were made. This is the first time that most students are feeling a sense of independence, since they are away from their parents, but I feel like I'm on lockdown. There are many rules to be followed, and the huge bureaucracy is impersonal and too orderly for me. Where's all the action? And I don't mean the flyer stuck under my door about the G-Spot Club - "If you can't find it, you won't cum!" Apparently there is a condom drop on one of the dance nights.
        What is this world I'm living in? Why are our youths being encouraged to focus on sex and partying rather than intellectual discussion? These of course are rhetorical questions. We all know that our culture has been methodically constructed. We, the masses, are trained to listen, accept, and certainly not question. Distractions have been placed in order to placate. Why complain when we are living comfortably? We have roofs over our heads and food in our bellies (at least for now). What we aren't realizing is that there is something else. I haven't found it yet, but I feel something stirring, something in my bones that's telling me there is more to life than being comfortable. I want strength, knowledge, and, most of all, value in my life.
        It seems that my view of working toward experiential learning is proving to be correct. It seems that university takes away the fun of learning, just as my high school did. It seems that students are here just to pass their classes, so that they can get a degree, and then get a job, to then be consumers just like the corporate and marketing industry would like us to.
        It seems that we are all running into a big hole - a hole that leaves us feeling empty inside and leaves our society nugatory.

Go sheeple, go!

46 comments:

  1. Erica, there is no easy fix for your plight. Teachers often do not have the passion they should. Pupils often have no interest in certain classes regardless of how inspirational the teacher is. You might have success coaxing a better lesson from your professors during office hours. They deserve to know their classes are incredibly boring and/or their method of instruction is ineffective.

    It seems you are intrinsically motivated, and most college students are not. This is a rare gift. You are your own master, yet I beg you to demand a better experience from your institute.

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  2. In real life a net of friends and connections is much more valuable than any load of knowledge you may learn. It always was true and is true now more than ever. You may reject this as silly advise, but please consider: you may any time in the future learn more. While it will be increasingly difficult to party more than now!

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  3. Erica, what do you want? It's a simple question that many have difficulty answering. What do you want?

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  4. I had the same thoughts the first few weeks I spent in the freshman dorm. I cringe remembering! Higher education is a commercial interprise, but unfortunately a needed feather in your cap for the "real" world. If you can avoid the spoiled brats that have the attitude the world owes them a living after they buy their degree - and the professors stuck in their ivory towers, youWILL make some lifelong and meaningful friendships.

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  5. Why do I get the distinct feeling that everyone else who has commented on your post completely missed the point? Is it just me?

    You are seeing through the lies, the manipulation, the false paradigm that we have all been led to believe in. In the process, you are getting glimpses of the truth as to why we are really here, and what needs to change within individuals.

    Many are asleep, but many are awake. You may or may not know this, but there is a huge group of people who think just like you on FB, and your speech has circulated far and wide amongst this group. (It went out to over 750 like-minded people when I posted it on my FB, and I got it from someone else who had a list equally as big...and many reposted after that.) To us, you are a hero! Keep it up!

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  6. I've read your past two posts about college and your displeasure with the continuation of institutionalized education. Everything you've said is true, to an extent.

    You are most definitely not alone. Find the others at your school who want a real education, make like-minded friends, or rather seek out those with a different opinion and broaden your perspective. Join organizations that allow you to create economic solutions. If you want to travel to China and experience a different view of the world, there are ways (beyond the standard study abroad/tourist method). It really is true that you get out of college what you want. It just takes a little work to find the methods.

    You're lucky that you've figured out your displeasure so early, now you have more time to actually create the college experience that you want. I didn’t take advantage of my university until my junior year. When I finally did, the whole world was at my feet. I went to conferences, engaged in meaningful conversations with my professors, had great discussions in class, traveled the world and made friends who all had a passion for life, and knowledge that was contagious. Yes we drank and partied, but we had some great conversations while lounging in a living room with a couple of beers. So I guess I’m saying that you should have fun too, don’t block yourself out of your young adult life.

    Thank you for your insight, and forgive my ramblings. Your speech and delivery were truly inspiring. Don't give up on college, it can be a wonderful experience. I know it was for me, especially once I learned how to use the institution as a tool for my education.

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  7. Your speech and post reminds me of Will's retort from one of my favorite films, Good Will Hunting, "You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for $1.50 in late fees at the public library."

    I feel that quote ring true when it comes to my college experience, except for the semester I spent in Chile. It was then that I knew I was getting my money's worth, más o menos. I still don't think you can put a price on education, but traveling and studying abroad is definitely worth some of the cost!

    We can educate ourselves. Most of the resources are at our fingertips. And once in a blue moon we'll meet an "avante garde" mentor to help us along the way. I just wish there were more people like that and like you at my college!

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  8. Oh yeah, it gets a lot better once you're out of the dorms. At least it did for me.

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  9. This reminds of the "mandatory career meeting" we had yesterday for seniors where the most important things they could think about were about scrubbing your online profiles and dressing in business attire for the career fair. Unfortunately college education has little choice but to be a cog in society's machine, but the value of college doesn't lie in the degree (or even in the classes) but rather in the people you meet. To get the most of college you have to seek out people with similar interests and passions (and there are people like that if you look hard enough). Good luck.

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  10. Hi my name is Brynjar Gunnarsson and I'm from Iceland. I loved your valedictorian speech and
    i think you really might have nudged things in the right direction just by voicing your opinions so publicly. If 500.000 people have seen your video, it already has made a difference in my opinion.
    You are a truly inspiring person and it would be an honor to shake your hand. Since i cant do that right now i will instead place my hand on
    my screen for the next 48 hours and await a high
    five from you :)
    Best wishes from Brynjar Gunnarsson,
    PhD. Polarbear training

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  11. The fact that you've already looked past the 'parties' and the drugs of your classmates in college puts you a couple steps further on the journey you've decided to undertake for yourself.
    The problem is... it's your journey; not anyone else's.
    Yes, the profs in their ivory towers will lecture and expect their students to do a tremendous amount of extra-curricular reading to learn aspects of the subject that will subsequently be tested, yes it seems like a never-ending slog of classes with profs that don't seem to have any more interest in teaching the class than some students have attending it... but use this opportunity as one for discovery. Find what your passion is... explore avenues and take hold of an interest - talk to a career counselor at the college and see if they have information that might help you. It helps sometimes too to be inspireed by a prof you might have met (or know of - audit a course) that has a genuine interest or passion for a course... this might help you discover your own path - if only by inspiring you...
    But in the end, it's something that you have to do for yourself.
    Life isn't about having someone hold one's hand - it's about striking out and carving a name and a place for yourself in the career that will give you the most satisfaction in life.
    To get there, you're going to unfortunately have to jump through some hoops... just like all the rest of us did... or you can not 'play along' and instead, perhaps, find gratification in a menial job with less pay but perhaps greater flexibility to pursue your other interests... the choice is, naturally, up to each and every one of us to make for ourselves.
    I, personally, took a middle road and worked a job I found fun while I went to university... and took what I call 'special interest' courses periodically to shake up the monotony of my course load. Yeah, it took me a little longer to finish my education than it otherwise might have, but I enjoyed the journey.
    Does the current system suck? Certainly. Is it terribly flawed and in need of an overhaul? Absolutely.
    Welcome to the world beyond high school.
    We have t-shirts! =)

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  12. http://www.davidicke.com/headlines

    http://www.davidicke.com/forum/

    http://www.infowars.com/

    All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

    There is an awakening going on and many truth sayers are trying to help the sheeple to wake up. But as long as the people rely on the governments to tell them whats what,unquestioningly towing the line, the ignorant masses will ultimately drag the awakened into the New World Order, microchipped slave race that is being pushed through now...

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  13. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Klqv9t1zVww&feature=player_embedded

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VebOTc-7shU&feature=channel

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAaQNACwaLw&feature=channel

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  14. ps your video is being shown here too

    http://www.davidicke.com/headlines

    Scroll down..Great speech ;-)

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  15. You made me react in two ways:

    1. "Cool, someone who I can agree with."
    I love your enthusiasm. I have just finished high school, which is pretty much like yours and I just followed it's type of teaching to the point where I couldn't stand it anymore. After that a kind of science became my hobby and I started dedicating a lot of spare time to it. Eventually my grades got worse, everyone was telling me that I became a worse student. But I didn't care because finally something was truly inspirational, fun and a real challenge to me. My successes got to the point where I was going to international olympiads. Now that was also awesome because it opened LOTS of gates to real life opportunities.

    2. "Yeah, okay..."
    This has been discussed many times. There were many ideas to make schools more interesting and inspiring, but in most cases they just failed. IMO, the main problem is that usual teachers don't have such inspiration. However, I've seen lots of young people who do have it. In fact, my teachers, the ones without and only without whom I wouldn't succeed and have loads of fun are - students. So my advice is: go find people like you, there surely is the place you want so much. It's just that it's hard to find it in average schools.

    BTW, maybe you have guessed it: I have some holes in my education. That's true, it's really not well-rounded enough. However, right at the time I just don't feel like studying stuff I missed, but there will be plenty of exciting time at some point in the future where I will study basically everything.

    Anyway, keep it up, girl! Respect!

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  16. FreeSCV here,

    Nice read. Happy others care about what's important.

    I skipped collage/university for the rewarding experience of being a garbage man. Tuesday I lifted 27,500lbs /w my older brother. (I did 60% ad gave him 40%, lmao)

    When not smashing cans in I play an online conquer game pushing a new political standard:

    www.grepolis.net - Epsilon/World 5 is the free place where the new Open Source Government clan now hangs it's jacket.

    www.opensourceg.com is my website for ranting about political things, it's been transformed into a clan site for it's front page but links will hook up my old work within the week I'm sure.

    I am pushing for:

    Open Source Political party (transparency as it's platform, opening up public books in all areas for online reviews and debates)

    Daily Voting (b/c every 5 YEARS is not enough)

    So things like that are on my mind, I'd love to see you sometime in our world battling Risk board game style for some virtual territory. :)

    Or on the website in a week or two when it's got the political stuff back on (the game trumps our corrupt govt ideas, atm)

    God bless Erica!

    The fact that they aren't giving out free e-books like pirate bay does has got to say SOMETHING about the approved education.

    Only when we've caught the last fish, cut the last tree, and killed the last deer will we understand we can't eat paper money...

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  17. What you're searching for is Jesus. He's that something more. God fills that void. Go out and reach the world in His name. The poor, the widowed, the lonely. Those is places near and far who are in need of help and compassion.

    As for education, I have no faith in the system. We've chosen to homeschool our children.

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  18. Hey, Erica. I'm 18 and just started college, and relate a lot to how you're feeling.

    However, one thing you mentioned that I want to delve further into is your quote here:

    "What is this world I'm living in? Why are our youths being encouraged to focus on sex and partying rather than intellectual discussion? These of course are rhetorical questions."

    I was wanting to know specifically want you meant by this assertion. Who specifically do you believe is encouraging this, and do you believe they are doing so explicitly? My guess would be our media, and that they are doing so rather subtly by placing otherwise taboo and unspoken subjects everywhere we look: Sex, drug abuse, consumerism, and so on. Naturally, to escape the plight of every day life, we seek pleasure, release, and even a sense of rebellion in senseless partying when we get the chance. We are torn between the abstinent and almost puritanical "family values" of the reactionary right (ala Jerry Falwell) and our garbage media, the latter of whom bombard us with seductive images of every socially acceptable form of debauchery possible. They're dangling the carrot, and few see reason not to bite: How else to alleviate the pain and stress of submitting to the will of a boring and repressive school, job, and routine every day? Obviously, this reasoning is still bad.

    It's no wonder some of these people want so badly to drink and shag away their problems. I'll gladly take a good intellectual discussion or personal experience over some frat party any day, but the wild urges are like hornets in our brains. They simply will not go away. Come on, don't tell me you haven't ever understood this: You had to have felt some frustration like that, especially during your incredibly uptight and repressed high school tenure. Ever read 1984? I'm not a paranoid radical who's comparing our situation to that book, but haven't you felt that "ankle ulcer" before, so to speak? Was there not a time when, in spite of your endless subservience, dreams of spontaneous rebellion or sexual release clouded your focus, even for a moment?

    I look forward to your next blog post.

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  19. Hey Erica,
    The one thing that stuck out to me in your speech was that you didn't know what you wanted to do with your life.
    I think that majority of us have sat where you are some have taken the road of passion and some have taken the road of financial gain.
    I myself chose passion. To my family and friend's surprise, I left the college that I had worked so hard in high school to get into, after only one semester. I moved across my state and started attending a small entry level licensed midwife program. It wasn't what anyone had thought for my life, but who were they to decide?
    I don't know you anymore than the 500,000 plus people that have watched your speech and read your blogs, but I can say; that from the outside looking in, I see and hear your passion.
    Your passion for making sure that you don't conform and for making sure that you do something that affects this world is not only loud and clear, but inspiring.
    Use that. Continue exploring that passion, and if it takes you to the other side of the world writing about poverty or sickness or even to Washington DC pushing reform in our public school system; where ever your passion takes you; live it, explore it and never let it go. Your mind is so very powerful when you use it on your own.
    No one can figure out the puzzle of what you’re going to do with this passion but yourself. But I can tell you this; when you find exactly how you want to exercise your passions in life, the education it takes you to get there no longer feels like conformity, but rather a means to an end.
    You go girl! Stay Strong!
    Peace&Love
    Erica (yes, I’m also an Erica lol)
    Here's to the crazy ones. The unique. The rebels. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules an they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do... is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to try and change the world...are the ones that do!!!
    - Jack Kerouac

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  20. Hey Erica,

    Welcome to the club !

    Bad new : I think, unless you're very lucky, you'll know the taste of a deep loneliness

    Godd new : Even if you feel alone, your thirst have been share everywhere and everywhen by many people

    a pretty example :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ru-ho1ZZj-4&feature=related

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  21. I discovered your graduation speech by chance. It was a tremendous bit of luck.

    In a You Tube comment I wrote:

    "I am much too old. If timing were such I would have surely found my life's partner.

    This speech was magic. It has lit a fire under my ass.

    I don't know who the young woman is who spoke, but to you I can say there are now two people whose words have influenced my life. Denny Fitch, who helped land a crippled airliner, and you.

    Denny survived to say: "Your attitude determines your altitude. If you think you can't you won't".

    You did. You did it with class (pun). Thank you!"

    Maybe you've heard the late George Carlin's take on education? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGL8FEMc378

    I am a product of this same system. I've squeaked by through dedication, inspiration (such as your speech), ignoring the voices that say "you can't" and "you won't", and hard honest work.

    Wishing you all the best!

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  22. Yo please keep posting on this blog. I've been reading your last few posts with a great amount of excitement and fervor because clearly you possess the same motivation and aching for understanding and value intellectualism, something that I really appreciate.

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  23. Sometimes people find comfort in knowing they're not alone. Hey Erica, you're not alone.

    But sometimes that is not the case. I remember my old roommate Brady negatively reacting to the news that our friend Nicky was bisexual. Since Brady is gay, I thought "wow, what a hypocrite". He went on to explain that he can't help but feel sad when he finds out there's more and more people who identity as queer yet there's still so much hate.

    Continuing with the analogy... thankfully, there is more and more understanding and equality for homosexuality. Hopefully the same comes for [y]our point of view.

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  24. “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face-for ever.” - George Orwell

    http://orwellsdreams.wordpress.com/

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  25. Erica, if you decide to run for office in a couple of years, you can be sure that I'll contribute to your campaign. I wish I'd understood as much as you do by your age.

    -jcr

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  26. Erica, just found your valedictorian speech, and it lead me to your blog. Bravo.

    "What is this world I'm living in? Why are our youths being encouraged to focus on sex and partying rather than intellectual discussion?"

    I understand your your perspective; when I graduated HS I went to UB as well. Found myself siting there asking the very same question. Is this it? This is just the 13th grade-- plus book costs of coarse. When I graduated all my teachers in HS would always talk about college as something that was completely different, somewhere where there would only be people who wanted to learn. According to them, there would be no more of the "I'm here to get done" mindset and the riff-raff that came with it. Perhaps this was true at one time. Not 6 years ago when I first walked on UB's campus, and I doubt its any different now. Exactly what you dislike about your public education will continue, in class, and on campus. Its not about learning anymore, its about "getting that paper!" Which is why, as you will learn, a degree is as worthless as the paper you used to pay for it. Try not to let the fact that you wake up to witness the great decay everyday get to you. Oh also, while you're at UB make sure to take methods of inquiry, one of the only classes I took that I would suggest to anyone else.
    Keep up writing, more importantly, keep on thinking.

    Nick

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  27. A comment made me think: it is always easier in the right now to live in debt and have 'fun' right now while it is easier to ignore the right-nows that will inevitably come to demand payment of someone somewhere for the debt of right-now. It is interesting to observe how our culture has spread out into the ridiculous suburbs and exurbs and other un-human distances. Mixed itself around so thoroughly that most of the social connections and human ties that in times long gone by would have been a part of a person's life practically from birth have vanished into history swiftly; not a difficult task to vanish so in a nation that tries not to remember so much of its own history. However, with the loss of those natural human connections in our regular lives it is interesting to see the universities becoming too often little more than kennels to sort out and pair up breeding animals, barely educated by their basic schooling and now to be little more than indoctrinated and trained to be good, lethargic, obedient livestock sent out to work the world and be feasted on at the tables of the unseen.

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  28. Seeing you mention experiential learning, I am reminded of the Waldorf philosophy of such learning and its unique approach to the development of the child as a human being who works with head, heart, and hands to make a difference in the world. I grew up in the public school, was a quiet, compliant, straight A student, placed into gifted classes very early on in 2nd grade and went all the way to the top-- AP classes in high school, college scholarship, Dean's List, study abroad, Bachelor's degree, Master's degree, summa cum laude...the list goes on. My 10 year college reunion is in a few weeks. I have no desire to go.

    I will not place my children in the hands of the education system, if my very life depends on it. I have found a healing, experiential type of learning in the commitment to social renewal as laid out in the Waldorf philosophy. It's so much more than a philosophy. It is based on a comprehensive view of the development of the child as a whole person capable of willing, feeling, and thinking at various stages of his or her development through childhood as a preparation for adulthood. The more I learn, the more I wish I could go back in time and do this learning thing all over again. But I can't. But I can try to guide my children to get out of the "Race to Nowhere" (to borrow the title of a new documentary). I am now a recovering academic and involved in the 'lucrative' field of staying home and raising my family. I may or may not enroll my children in Waldorf education. As they are still young, I have brought that philosophy into my home and may continue it in the form of home education as they reach school age.

    Here are some great links!!!

    I saw this author speak a few months ago. I love that she has a PhD and has a book out called Radical Homemakers!
    http://www.yesmagazine.org/blogs/shannon-hayes/can-money-buy-education

    Waldorf info...
    http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journal_Articles/NZJournalfairman.pdf
    http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/01_WhyWaldorf/index.asp

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  29. Getting involved locally:

    www.wagthedog2010.com

    Restoring our Republic one American at a time!!!

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  30. Hello Erica,

    I enjoyed the valedictorian speech but I'm sure you already knew that. I don't know anyone who disagreed with what you said. I have felt the same way about college for the past 6 years but never spoke so openly about it in front of so many peers. I made the attempt at college to do what was expected of me, found it utterly pointless to be told by professors what I already knew, and dropped out after the first semester.

    Since dropping out of college I held various jobs. I continue to strive for the one goal I've had for my life, make a difference. While that goal has changed from opening a computer manufacturing company to becoming an organic farmer and revolutionizing our food system, I still pursue the goal of making a difference.

    Just thought it would be nice to hear that there are people out there that share your dream to make a change.

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  31. I've sat here and I thought about how to explain this to somebody who pretty much knows the whole story. You are on a path of education only to be bombarded with those who were sold a good that promised to make them "suitable for industry". You look for answers while they aimlessly look for success that will continue to evade them for many years.

    It's a bit of irony that government buildings look the same and that a prison is laid out in such a way that it could be a school or a school could be a prison.

    The best advice I could ever give you is to take classes on your terms. If you are interested, feel free to stay as long as you like but never feel like you are required to stay or that staying is in your best interest. The fact of the matter is your fate is in your hands and you could just as easily do anything you want to with hard work instead of a multi-year alcohol-drenched "paid vacation".

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  32. I love your perspective. Keep speaking your mind.

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  33. excelent spirit you should start a video blog you become a lightning rod for people of spiritual energy like myself

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  34. Let me first say that I absolutely love your writing! Make sure you keep track of all you've been going through and experiencing because sooner or later, when you figure this thing out we call life, you'll want to write a book about it.

    I was intrigued by your statement of desiring to find true value in life. Many people, as you obviously have noticed, don't admit to having the very same question. Whatever holds them back, they feel no rest as this question of value nags at them day and night. Well I'm here to tell you; There IS purpose! You're here for a reason, and it's not just to inspire others to learn (although you clearing have a gift in that!). Among all your curiosity, how about picking up a Bible sometime and reading through it? Start in the new testament (or wherever you want). That is the only place you're going to find the answer you're looking for. That nagging feeling you get that there's something more to be had in this life is absolutely right. There IS more. There's a God that exists that actually made all this you see: the earth, it's oceans, your very body, etc. Not only does He exist, He actually wants a relationship with you! He wants to show you true knowledge and open your eyes to things no one has yet even dreamed about! He's the only one who has what you need and are looking for in life. He knows because He made you the way you are! And He loves it! It's just so awesome that you are seeking an answer. Check out Matthew Chapter 7, verse 7: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." How awesome is that?! You aren't looking in vain, keep searching. God won't let you down. He's been seeking after you for your whole life and now that you're seeking Him (although you may not realize that yet), your eyes can now be opened to the truth! SO EXCITING!!!

    Anyway, I can't wait and look forward to the day I see your writing spring into action. I hope you're holding up well in school. Not sure what college you're going to but if you look up BASIC (Brothers and Sisters in Christ), they might have a club on your campus. I'm sure they can help you find answers as you read. But always remember: don't let anyone make your decisions for you. No one really can anyway but don't deceive yourself into thinking they can or have. It's your life, your choice. Whether you take the responsibility for it or not is up to you. I hope you can get connected and will do well in your classes. Let your curiosity carry you to amazing places. And never hesitate to ask questions, as I'm sure you don't :)

    Laura C

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  35. It is refreshing to hear from another real person. It doesn't happen very often. I live on the other side of the Atlantic - things are much the same (or maybe even worse) here. You should be proud that you may have saved the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of people from going to waste, by simply standing up and pointing out that it is all an illusion.

    We are living a lie, that has been propagated down through our society, and soon - this lie is going to explode. It is marvellous that you quoted Mencken - I just recently had my first reading experience with him. "On Democracy", while it may seem to be about something else, really is about what you said. There are two kinds of people in this world, those awake, and those not.

    It would be quite interesting to meet you on an intellectual plane someday - in this age of three-letter abbreviations, tweets and media garble.

    Be well,

    //Hpx

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  36. Look for good professors. Ask around and get recommendations. Find out the reading lists of courses and pick accordingly. Once you find a great prof, get to know him. He can let you in on what the great classes and profs are in your school, and he can also point you in directions for self-study. There are a lot of great opportunities for interested students. Or if you don't want to read and think and write in college right now, have you heard of WWOOF? I met a girl in Costa Rica this summer traveling around with WWOOF. It's a cheap way to travel, learn, and meet people. She does it in her summers off of school. I'd never heard of it, but there are many opportunities like it. There is a lot out there for you. You can find it.

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  37. Erica, when I watched your valedictorian speech in it's entirety I was stunned, mouth hanging wide open. It's rare to have someone as "institutionalized" as yourself ;), yet at the same time absolutely independent of thought. You hit the nail on the head many times over. I can't imagine how many teachers were squirming in their seats. You were absolutely right regarding enslavement to corporations, the military industrial complex. etc. etc. The schools are specifically designed to create automatons within a narrow field. We are taught from early age until we are ready to take a job to obey without question. First to get into massive debt, and then to be subservient to your masters, and become a good consumer. It's a false concept, it's an ill concept, and our devolution has only accelerated since 911. The reason this country is in such great danger of complete collapse is in large part because of the educational system. We are manufacturing an entire new class of very dull people by design, the media plays a heavy roll in it as well, and all of this has been implemented for the purpose of controlling everyone. People who are free thinkers are quickly put on drugs because they have "add" or other supposed focus problems. It never has anything to do with the curriculum of course. I think there is one overriding issue that would change a lot about this world, it would end a lot of the corruption, and people would wake up from this trance like nightmare, and that is 911 truth. If you look closely into 911 you will see the root of a lot of what ails this country, and you will see why the dumbing down of the public has accelerated. 911 was rotten to the core, and if you want to fight for whatever heritage of freedom this country once had, you need to come to terms with what occurred on that day. If you like I would be more than happy to share with you my deeper opinions on that, the educational system or retaking this country back from the plutocrats, oligarchs, and the neo fascists who care only to keep us ignorant, and distracted. My email optronix87@yahoo.com. I would love to get in touch with you to share some information, it might be very enlightening.

    cheers, Chris

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  38. Dear Erika,

    I heard your speech recited on two podcasts I listen to regularly: Gnostic Media and C-Realm, and was struck by the courage and wisdom of your words. I'm glad you're continuing to share your thoughts on society and wish you luck in college and "finding the others". Among these "others" are those finding your blog and offering words of encouragement, much of which I've found inspiring as well. Similar to previous commenters, I also have made my way through life on a "middle path". My grades were always average but I did spend much time studying things that interested me. But even with a college degree I wasn't able to make a living in a way I feel passionate about (I work in a medical lab), but I continue to expand my mind at every opportunity and to participate in art and political activism (mostly) off-hours. It does feel like a double life, but I think of my job as a temporary loss of freedom I cope with while I do more important work. Incidentally, my non-paying work involves food sovereignty and strengthening local economies, which may eventually become a primary focus as the current systems collapse and traditional jobs like mine disappear. So though I'm a part of mainstream society I have no illusions about the lies we are being fed and the need to make changes. There's possibly many like myself who aren't exactly heroic but not ready to join the brainwashed herds either. I see my own role as a transitional one, but as things get worse I think the world will need more radical voices such as yours.
    Keep fighting the good fight!

    PS
    Since this also seems to be the place to offer advice and references, I'll offer you this link which I think may resonate with you:
    http://montalk.net/conspiracy/39/the-horrors-of-public-education
    I agree with most of what he wrote, though I think he misuses the term "political correctness" since "politically expedient" seems to fit better in context.

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  39. Hi Erica,

    I think you'll like this blog, The Art of Non-Conformity. The author has just published a book, so he's writing a lot about that right now, but check out this archived article:

    http://chrisguillebeau.com/3x5/unconventional-ideas/

    ...and maybe also his original manifesto:

    http://chrisguillebeau.com/3x5/a-brief-guide-to-world-domination/

    Best wishes.

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  40. I saw your speech, and was moved, great job. Happy to see more Younger folks getting into the gravy.
    This is thick, old musty territory that has no easy reasons or solutions.

    Just keep up the positive flow, connect with your intuition, connect with others.
    You think college is bad? Well,just wait for what's outside of those walls.
    If you are true to yourself, you will find others who will open other avenues of understanding up. The biggest advice I can offer, is be patient. The age / number game is as big of a sham as forced schooling. It's the same paradigm. Clock in- Clock out. Patience, is what MOST do not have. At least from my experience. That is one thing I have been gifted with and it's saved my real self-life continually. peace from vancouver Island

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  41. Hi Erica,
    I had a similar experience as you which is why I got into the field of education and why I started a blog to address these issues.

    Thank you for having the courage to share your voice. It's one that needs to be heard. I shared your video and blog post over at my blog, along with some background on my own experience. I hope you and your readers check it out and perhaps even leave a comment. It is at http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2010/09/valedictorian-asks-is-that-all-there-is.html

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  42. I hope that things are starting to pick up for you after the first month into your time of undergraduate study. When I started my first semester of college in the fall of 2003 I was still testing the waters during that time. While I did make some good friends whom I stuck with through the end of my college days and beyond a lot of the people I associated with I don't speak with that often anymore. College enables an interesting understanding of maturity of others as well as yourself. Unfortunately I was not as mature as you are when I started my time of undergraduate study. Confide in your professors and TA's plus try to join others interested in the same academic discussions and forays that you are. These things are easier said than done but you strike me as someone who knows exactly what to do.

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  43. Found your valedictorian speech on You Tube and have read your blog. I must say, you absolutely blow my mind. I hope you do big things on campus and use your education to help open the eyes of the masses afterward. Believe me, college is not all worthless information and mindless fact/theory binging. Read all the material assigned. Leave no page unturned. Take the knowledge they give you, but remain skeptical, always ask 'why', and why they want you to know this stuff.

    Anyway, keep at it! You are just one of a few enlightened people @ your age!!

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  44. Here's another article on the topic of education that you might find interesting: http://chronicle.com/article/What-Are-You-Going-to-Do-With/124651/
    Hope it helps.

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  45. I suppose you've heard of recession-proof grad?

    www.slideshare.net/choehn/recessionproof-graduate-1722966

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