no, i will not be vapid

The last thing I have is free time. The last thing I need is to go back to my third job when they call me. Yes, I need the money, but I also don’t, because my parents would help me if I asked, and really, I have plenty to be doing that doesn’t cost money. Homework, piano, voice, and reading books that I already own doesn’t cost me anything, and neither does hanging out with friends. Most worthwhile things don’t cost money, or, at least, if they cost money, it’s money I already spent awhile ago.

It was nice to go to my old job today, though, as I haven’t worked in months because of state budget cuts and lack of referrals. I had three little girls, 7, 8, and 10, and they were very sweet and easy to take care of. The oldest one was especially interested in music, and all three told me how they wanted to go to college where I go.

This about the only time when I am ever proud of going to U of A, and it’s very humbling to remember how lucky I am that I get to go to college, and that I get to live a pretty nice lifestyle for a college student who supports herself. Going to private school for five years tricked me into thinking that I was too good for U of A, and that I had nothing in common with anybody who had less money or education than I’ve been fortunate enough to have, because the people I went to high school with did live like that.

I can’t stand people who think poor people are beneath them, or less than, or are poor because they choose to be. I can’t stand people who think they have nothing in common with others unless they are exactly the same in socioeconomic, ethnic, cultural, and religious terms. I love that I got to do a little inspiring today, just by watching “It Takes Two” and coloring and chatting with these three very smart, bilingual girls, and I love that one of them drew me a picture and wrote “Thank you Hannah for being nice to me and for playing with us.” One of them said she thought I was mean when she saw me, but then she changed her mind. I was mildly offended, but maybe I do come off as a snob, partly because that’s just me, and partly because I was conditioned to be one for five years. Private school is excellent for the academics and the great teachers, but it is also extremely unhealthy.

I had a great morning. It went by very quickly. And I wasn’t spending all my time with the kids itching to get away, to read, or to just watch the movie. In fact, two of the girls complained that they didn’t want to watch anything, because the TV is always on at home, so we stopped paying attention and did origami boxes and fortune tellers instead.

Last semester, I came up with my professional plan for the next ten years or so. One more year of undergrad, followed by two or three years to do my dual master’s degree program in Boston. After that, a five-year PhD in New York. Dr. Hannah before my thirtieth birthday. Not bad. People ask what I plan to do with my degree in music, and I usually say nothing, not because I’m going to give up music when I graduate, but because I’m not planning on teaching or being famous (well, maybe a bit that last one. Win a Grammy and get a PhD? Pretty sweet). The master’s degrees will be an MA in children’s literature and an MS in library science. The doctorate, a five-year program I randomly stumbled upon called media, culture, and communication. Could not be more up my alley. And it’s still hard to say what I want to do with that, because it’s not a one-word job, like doctor, lawyer, or professor. And I would die before saying that I want to be a teacher, because that’s what both of my parents, my sister, and tons of other family members and close family friends do. Bleccch. But no matter how I try to get around it, I always end up back at education, because it’s just so important. Education and social services and the arts. Just hanging out with kids who aren’t stupid or bad or perfect, but just a bit at-risk, whether it’s because they are financially disadvantaged (being too poor or too rich equally leave you out of getting a lot of what the world, and Tucson, have to offer, I think) or because they haven’t gotten the best education possible, or because they haven’t had as stable a family life, or whatever it is. Thanks to my excellent parents, my excellent hometown, the excellent opportunities I had to get educated in and out of school, and my excellent job at Child & Family that I just don’t appreciate enough, I am completely preoccupied with the idea that role models, the arts, language skills, and different kinds of educational opportunities, from after-school programs to court-ordered community service to youth groups, can change a lot about people, and therefore society, for the better.

Sometimes I can’t believe that I would ever want to be so selfish as to marry well and not work (not that it’s in the cards at the rate I’m going with boys), or to just write and be musical all the time, or to be famous, because not to change things or help things almost constantly seems so vapid and boring. Getting a doctorate and maybe publishing a few books or recording an album is all the selfish I have time for. After that, I hope to find a job in a library, a museum, or a social service agency where I can work with other people who do the really important stuff and just do my part to provide really useful programs. Mix upper, middle, and lower class kids together. Turn off the television. Read books and learn to love them. Journal. Make good choices and not get arrested before age 14. There is so much good out there, and so much good to do, that people don’t see.

Wow, I’m sappy.


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