Saturday, April 12, 2014

Financial Aid to Fratty Gent

Darryl Alexander Hamilton Brown has categorically avoided the first person on this blog,

But my doing so on this occasion will clear the air of potential smog.

Throughout my journey at the College, starting in the fall of 2009, With admissions policies like meeting full need and need-blind, I viewed my collegiate opportunity less as a privilege and more as a right that was fundamentally mine.

Freshman year, my experience played out just fine, But over the years my full scholarship and work study appeared to me as an invisible stop sign.

While on campus, my poverty was abruptly suspended. To that end, my status quo ante perspective on life was upended. The change imperfectly analogous to a driver immune to getting rear-ended. To be sure, in my eyes, life was simply splendid! I never had to worry about housing, dining, or a source of income.

What I thought was a newfound wisdom proved to be a fundamentally privileged rule of thumb. Before Williams, I was certainly part of the 99 %, (my expected family contribution has always been nill-zero-none) But on a full ride in the purple bubble, I could focus less on work and more on fun. In a previous era at Williams, poor students couldn't seriously enjoy themselves until their work was done.

Indeed, financial aid students in those days were waiters for oh-so-wealthy-Fratty-counterparts, But this visible demarcation of financial status made wealth inequality clear from the very, very start. Not having to worry about the pitfalls of a new Recession--I graduated high school in 2009--My life in the purple bubble was more like one of those oh-so-privileged-Fratty-Gents. But this is what the College wanted right? I was on financial aid, and I never had to worry seriously about makes sense!
As Jay-Z tells us in Money Ain't a Thang, sometimes the debtors never make your phone rang.

I actually lived in former fraternity houses from the days this all-male institution was only down with heterosexual spouses. You know, I'm taking about Frats, or societies within the purple bubble that refused to let in Jews or blacks. President Sawyer, the namesake of our soon to be relocated-and-renamed library, Made membership in one of these societies very scary.

Indeed, efforts to Fraternize were suspend-able offenses, and one aspect of the culture Sawyer particularly deemed characteristic of vultures. Sawyer wanted to end the visible lines between the have-so-much and the have-nots, Through his vision the College achieved financial diversity in the decade of race riots in Watts. With the College's more-than-generous gift to me, To wit, an endowed scholarship from the class of 1963, Sawyer's dreams were thus manifest, And on campus I was functionally equal to the wealthiest of the best.

This policy of what-I-now-deem-ever-supreme-generosity, served during my underclassmen years as a paradoxical monstrosity. Based on what the federal government said, I as broke as can be--0 dollars EFC. In all seriousness, immediately upon arriving on campus, that nomenclature barely applied to me. While the newly inaugurated President Obama battled to pass reform so that uninsured Americans would be so no more, Free access to the College's insurance and health care could easily handle a medical sore .

This was plain to see to any observer at the time, but not me.
The College stiff-armed poverty for me, and I didn't even need a dorm key! I was presented with an opportunity at the College that billions of people across the world could only dream of. In terms of my access to resources, by September no longer was I the pink-industrial-hand-soap, but a dove,

So with a free Health care plan, free books, kitchens full of high-quality cooks, an environment free of crooks, I could elope, In other words, if I were to describe my existence in the context of fiscal concerns, linear wouldn't do, I would have to exponentially calculate my slope. To some degree, Sawyer's vision, if at all possible, worked too well. Instantly my life became the exact opposite of a living hell.

Dean Bolton was Dumbledore, and Williams was Hogwarts. Yet, not everyone has read the Harry Potter books, and there are certainly some who have seen the movies who would passionately disagree with me--Dumbledore is a male and Dean Bolton is a female--can't you see?

Regardless, I know that I am the Boy Who Lived, and I am infinitely blessed to be where I am today. And like Hermione's relationship with Hogwarts, my experience with Williams is a direct result of my privilege and this institution of education's commitment to diversity.
Indeed, by meeting full need the College makes a great effort to value adversity.
That's really how I feel, gratefully full of zeal, and I really don't give a fuck if this causes some sort of controversy. I'm an Eph for life, regardless of the strife, and luckily for me, my experience as a poor, black, recently (mentally and physically) disabled individual, I want the College's mark on my life to be much more than residual.

As an Eph I will always fight for what I perceive be right, and now that invisible stop sign is a visible green light.

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