My Response to The Current College Admissions Scandal

blog pic march 13thALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2019.

By now everyone has heard the latest scandal on the news involving certain celebrities bribing college officials and testing officials guaranteeing the entrance of their children into prestigious schools. Although this may appear shocking to some, given the particular celebrities that were mentioned in the scandal, I, for one was not that shocked. I feel that this has been going on for generations. It was always quite apparent to me that some celebrities use their wealth and status to get into Ivy League schools. I see all the time that actors will pursue their college degrees in between acting gigs and will have bachelors from Yale or Harvard or another top-tiered school. When I hear certain celebrities have bachelor degrees in psychology from Yale I am not very impressed because I know that their status factored in on how they got in. The lines have always been blurred as to how many actually got in by merit. Who wouldn’t want a big named celebrity going to their school? What great business that is to have a prestigious individual serve as an alumnus in your institution!

Now, I’m not saying this about every celebrity. I am certain that many do work hard for their degrees and their passions but I am certainly skeptical when I see a celebrity’s child’s educational background and wonder how much was merit and how much was status or monetarily motivated.

One thing I do, that I really should stop doing, is read the comments on posts highlighting certain news announcements. The comments really boil my blood. I understand that there are so many varying opinions, what I am offended by is the close-mindedness of people who are so quick to identify things in a clear cut black or white manner. They never consider that gray area. Situations are never identical. You have socio-economic status, familial structures, educational backgrounds, and other matters to consider. The conversations in the comment section veered away from the topic at hand and became a conversation about the usefulness of education and what a waste certain majors are in terms of finding fruitful employment post-graduation.

We are raised believing that going to school when you’re young, then going to a four-year college, getting married, having kids, buying a home and a car, while earning a paycheck at a traditional nine to five position is the only effective form of living. This is perceived as “the norm.” Imagine if everyone thought that way? There would be no actors, musicians, comedians, artists, photographers, or other entertainers out there. And if everyone opted for a four-year school there would be no military personnel or trade workers either. Some people thrive thinking outside the box. Everyone has a place in this world and every single person on this planet deserves to feel fulfillment. That person defines fulfillment for themselves.

Few things boil my blood more than when people mock someone who pursued a major in English, Psychology, Liberal Arts, etc. Education is never a waste. Granted, I feel that every college should properly guide students who do choose such a major and inform them of the appropriate path for each major. It should be presented as a dichotomous key.

Do you want to be an English Major? Yes. What do you see yourself doing with this major? Teacher. Then proceed. If you say you want to be an English major but aren’t sure how to proceed then that student should be given opportunities to do internships, enroll in seminars, and engage in other programs offered by the college to expose them to all of the job opportunities that they can do with that major. If they want to become a published author, or work in advertising or do copywriting, or be an editor, or whatever their skills could be used for there should be transparent information provided for the students so that they are properly prepared and given some hope post-graduation.

The same is true for majors like psychology. I was a psychology major as an undergraduate. I admit that I was an absolute hot mess coming out of college at twenty-one. I had no direction and no guidance and I figured everything out on my own. I realized fast that my degree was pointless and I did try to go back to school for a masters in social work but I didn’t get into the programs that I applied for at the time so I dropped pursuing that path altogether and went into education. Not everyone is meant for education; however, and no matter how much I wanted to pretend to be normal like everyone else, I just couldn’t squeeze myself into societal’s mold they had for me. I knew right away as a child that I was different from everyone else. I was more artistically inclined was not interested in striving towards a traditional path. But I lacked direction and ambition in my youth. I was a dreamer. The traumas of my childhood enveloped me into this safety blanket nestling me from outside exposures. My mind protected myself for so long from the elements of the cruel outside world that I was just not prepared for life post-graduation. I recognized right away that the world was certainly fast-paced and you had to be aggressive if you wanted to find a place in the world. I just wasn’t that type of person to run people over to get what I wanted out of life. I always believed that the proof was in the pudding. If you do a good job and people witness that then you should be offered a position. Merit should matter much more than status.

Now, nearing my forties, I have stopped trying to hide behind the shadows of others and finally am forging my own path. Would everyone agree with my path? Certainly not! What is good for the goose, may not always be good for the gander. But it’s also not anyone’s place to judge.

You had a great childhood with two loving, supportive parents who got you a car at seventeen and paid for your college and you now have a nice cozy job in the city and found a spouse at twenty-three and are now married with kids and live in your own house, blah, blah, blah. Good for you. That’s not everyone’s path. Not everyone was built to be doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, etc. You can’t judge someone’s experience based on your own good fortunes.

I don’t make excuses for myself. I outline the reasons that things occurred the way they did for me. I had no one to guide me. I had no money to pursue things the “right” way. I had to pay for my own education, my own textbooks, my food, and clothing, etc. I was left to my own devices and had to learn about life on my own. Therefore, I made a lot of mistakes, I learned about life on the streets from different types of people. I was naïve and foolish and idealistic. Yes, I made so many mistakes throughout my adulthood, but they’re my mistakes to make and I learned so much from them. As painful as my mistakes were, the life lessons were priceless and I wouldn’t substitute any of my experiences for anything. Do I have regrets? Absolutely! If I could go back in time I would make changes where I could. I don’t enjoy being poor and doing things the hard way. I would do one of a few things. I would either pursue my masters and Ph.D. in psychology right away after my bachelors and be a psychologist. I would have convinced myself that risk-taking is a part of life and that if one school rejected me that there were others to pursue and to not give up so easily. By the time I did go back to school for my masters and Ph.D. in my thirties I wasn’t interested in psychology anymore and decided to pursue degrees in business administration. If I could go back, I would definitely have chosen to go to a brick and mortar school for my masters and Ph.D. and not do the online route that I did. I hadn’t realized what a negative reputation online schools would have by the time I was done with schooling. If I had gone the brick and mortar route, I probably would have gone into accounting or something that would have gotten me a traditional job.

At this point; however, sitting at home regretting my past mistakes is not helpful and is borderline destructive. I have learned that instead of lamenting on all of my past mistakes and all of my life choices, I have chosen to instead highlight all of the positive things I have done. I choose to recall all of the positive contributions I have made to society, all the lives I have touched. I choose to remember my former students telling me that I was the best teacher they ever had because I was different, in a good way. I choose to think of my former colleagues at my old high school where I worked for seven years and how they are all reading my novella, A Wynter’s Tale, and constantly ask my sister when the next novella is coming out because they loved reading my book so much. I choose to think of my poetry, my novella, my children’s book, and my music that I was able to produce because of all of my past choices. I choose to be grateful to be at home with my dad during his final months with dementia instead of the opportunities I could have taken had I moved out of state or out of the country. I am a firm believer in the sentiment that everything happens for a reason.

My path may not be easily understandable to most people out there but it’s what works for me and it’s all I know. I finally feel that I am on the right path. It is certainly slow-moving but I have learned so much and have improved as a writer and artist and have learned so much about myself as an individual. I follow my own path. I don’t feel compelled to fit into molds others have forged for me. I will never be perceived as “normal.” I’m the trailblazer and I forge my own paths in life and create my own trends.

As William Ernest Henley wrote in his poem Invictus, “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” My life is not yours to make sense of. All I ask is that you don’t pass judgment of others when you don’t understand their situation. People are complex and things in life aren’t black and white. What worked for you may not work for others and that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. Enjoy your successes. Everyone has goals they set for themselves. One version isn’t more correct than another’s chosen path. It’s all about respect and empathy in my book.

I Fear Success More Than I Fear Failure

blog pic january 17th 2019.png

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2019.

Before I get into today’s rant, I’d like to take a moment to show off my amazing new business cards featuring my new logo and updated contact information. I also received postcards and stickers as well with the new logo to hand out to my readers when my new work comes out soon! A very special thanks to my sister for always taking care of her sissy! Thanks for always believing in me and pushing me to keep going especially on the days when I feel I have nothing left to give.

Now onto today’s topic. Success. When I first decided to leave teaching altogether in 2016 and start The Moonlit Goddess, I did some research and decided to focus on writing erotica full-time. There were so many things I was unhappy about while writing erotica but had read several articles of people becoming rich quick with writing erotica for Amazon through their self-publishing platform. Not really concerned about quality, I was writing four erotica short stories a month every month for four months. I charged a mere 99 cents a story and kept my identity under wraps and wasn’t really sure how to go about marketing my work. I knew that I still wanted to write poetry, and I dabbled in photography and digital art as well, so I knew that was something I was interested in also pursuing.

Several things went wrong during my earlier pursuits in writing.  I hated writing pieces in shame. I hated the way that people were speaking to me and treated me when I wrote erotica. I just ultimately felt sick to my stomach about it and realized that this was not my true path as a writer. I felt that my writing deserved an appropriate platform to address all of my hopes and fears. I wanted to triumph in my successes and lament in my failures with all of you without hiding behind this persona having to hide in darkness in the shame of my writing. I also had no one to properly edit my erotica because it’s not really something many wanted to look at let alone edit so I’d publish the work with a lot of typographical errors. A real amateur mistake. This whole fiasco lasted four months. I was simultaneously releasing poetry samples and my erotica from September 2016 to December 2016.

My new year’s resolution in January 2017 was to completely revamp my writing line in order to create pieces for everyone to enjoy. I was able to step out of the shadows and fully identify myself and my brand and, in my opinion, created something that I am truly proud of and can continue working on and improve upon as time passed. In 2017, I self-published two poetry anthologies, one novella, and a children’s book, along with my song single. 2017 was a great year for me and I had hoped that 2018 would bring similar prosperity. That would not be the case.

Even though 2017 was a successful year in terms of my writing, I was going through a lot of major changes personally. I had new people in my life whom I was using as a safety net while I was dealing with a lot of horrible trauma at home. This trauma involved my dad who is currently suffering from advanced dementia. I found a romantic escape and used that as a crutch as well as food. I gained a lot of weight in 2018 and was not concerned with anything other than moving overseas and beginning a new life. Throughout all of this, I hadn’t realized how I was cheating myself and not producing any writing at all. 2018 was a horrible dry spell for creativity and I’m so ashamed of myself for completely letting my dream slide through my very capable fingertips. During that whole romantic bubble, never did I once believe that while I was at home depressed, anxious, and dealing with the daily care of my father, I was simply letting precious time pass me by.

My world came crashing down in the new year of 2019. I woke up from the bewitching spell I was under and now a fire has been properly lit under my ass and I am no-nonsense back into writing 100%. I’ve been writing frantically every day since the new year and I’ve no intention of stopping. I recognize that I was regressing a lot and waxing nostalgic over the past instead of focusing on my bright writing future. I always ever knew failure and was terrified of what would happen if I actually felt a bit of success. That’s why I hid behind the erotica, that’s why I always self-sabotaged dieting and exercise, and I always forged unhealthy relationships that I recognize now are no good for me. I am always hiding. I am always playing it safe. I don’t allow myself the possibility of actually feeling what it’s like to maybe be a success for once instead of always succumbing to that self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. Failure is expected of me. I have never known true success. My family had never witnessed success for myself. They always expected me to fail. They know the flaky, unreliable, flighty version of me. They know that the second things are going well for me, I give up and run the other way. And that’s exactly what I did in 2018. I cheated myself repeatedly and set myself up for failure. I don’t know why I did it. I don’t know what I was thinking. I do recognize it now and am going to spend 2019 rectifying my past mistakes.

Maybe this path was meant to happen so that it would shake me up a bit and realize what a mistake I made and fight harder for the things that I want in life. I do want to succeed as a writer. I do want to get out of this financial rut that I’m perpetually in and I want to know what it’s like to treat my family for a meal without sweating about where I’m going to find the funds to replace the money I spent. I want to know what financial freedom is like and I want to be able to take care of myself first and foremost and have the capabilities of taking care of my family like they took care of me all of these years. I feel that we’ve all been touched greatly by misfortune over the years. It is well past time that my family and I felt what it was like to feel the sunshine of success touch our faces as we march towards a greater existence.

I know 2019 will be my year. And as of January 17th, 2019, I am fulfilling my end of the bargain.