December Diaries: Gratitude

To all university students protesting out there,

I’m back with a bit of a rant today. It’s Christmas, the season of gratitude and thankfulness and the rant might seem a little out of place but the rant in itself is on gratitude, or lack there of.

Before you say anything, I don’t think I understand your cause. See I was among the “privileged” that was schooled in a semi-government entity and was even more (supposedly) “privileged” to have read for my degree at a private university in India. The experience in itself was a little difficult at first but to this date I’m grateful for having being able to study abroad for three years as it shed perspective and taught me a lot on independence, budgeting and most importantly growing up.

My Orthodox Catholic University wasn’t sororities and dorm rooms in cute skirts. Since I was in South India, this involved a lot of kurthas, shawls and a 2100h curfew at the on-campus hostel that didn’t give us food. My roomie and I moved out during the third year because they insisted on a similar dress code inside the hostel and fixed some CCTV cameras that we were not really down for. Also, we wanted to have some home cooked Lankan food once every four days. University also was 0900-1600h and 0900-1300h classes every weekday and Saturday respectively for three years with mandatory 85% attendance. If we failed to meet the criteria, we were first sent to a counsellor who would try and find out what the hell was wrong with us (family problems, relationship problems, mental / psychological problems, you know the dose) and then if we failed to make up for it, we were not allowed to sit for our finals without paying a certain fee of compensation (that varied according to the attendance percentage) – and let me not even start on the process when it comes to paying this actual fee.

On another note, I always believe that people who pay for their own things and possessions, often understand the value of money. This is why when I had to buy another Mac after spilling coffee on the Mac I already owned, my non-mathematical brain started doing a number of serious calculations in order to budget wisely and efficiently.

In Sri Lanka however, I have nothing against this free education system. I think it’s great that people are educated for free because it’s knowledge, which is a gift and is not equivalent to any sum of money (that you can actually pay, lol). I also have immense respect for teachers and lecturers because they take a lot of shit for very little pay (I speak of the government-paid cadre) and throw in a lot of their hours, despite the “paid vacation” etc.

Having studied under the similar primary and secondary semi-government school conditions most kids on the roads these days too were once a subject of, I don’t recall being taught to protest they way these kids are doing so these days.

As an “adult” in her 20s, I am thoroughly “aware” that most of what I have become now are partly because of the education I have received. And as most other adults out there, I am thoroughly annoyed at this group of ungrateful shit heads that keep blocking the roads that other working “adults” travel to work in, to make a decent amount of money before it gets cuts off to taxes and vat and other ridiculous nonsense that pays off tuition fees for these kids who know absolutely nothing on the value of money.

However, their lack of gratitude does not stop there. Once they (finally) graduate, 800 years later, they are old, with only one degree and no work experience. They become frustrated mid-20s adults who still continue to live off their parents, shamelessly too, I must add, angry at the rest of the world.

Honey, the rest of the world was trying to move on in life despite you blocking the roads with ridiculous protests of not wanting to go to university for 80% of your student time. After all, what else is a full time student expected to do but study? Have you ever even stopped to think as to how privileged you are to have made through the cut off mark and eligibility criteria to start with? 

No? I didn’t think so either. 

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If it helps, think of the starving children in Mongolia children your age in rural Sri Lanka who do not have an opportunity to complete their secondary education, let alone university because of the family responsibility they took on after their father, a farmer, committed suicide after the last drought.

You don’t really know how that feels do you?

I don’t feel it either, but I’m trying on my part to do what I can for my family and to my country by being a “productive” working citizen paying a massive amount in taxes for your education and their spending.

I hope someday, soon, you understand how frivolous (and inconvenient) your actions are.

From,

A concerned, tired 20 something who did not make the cut off mark that the “privileged” kids did and chose to study in a private “privileged” university abroad

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