Introductory ESSAY / Remitting Default: A Psycho-Economic Performance of Getting Skoooooled

Psycho-economics describes the various ways that we allow a singular perception of money to determine life choices. This is not to say that money shouldn’t be a part of these considerations, but there seems to be a pathological tendency towards an overemphasis that supports sexist, racist and divisive class models. I have always had a psychological problem with money. A significant portion of my childhood was spent under circumstances, which that restricted my access to basic resources (health care, food, electricity). While both my parents are college educated, I grew up in a single-female-headed household in a non-industrial, racially segregated town. In retrospect, I can identify that we were often walking the poverty line; conversely, in some interesting ways, my upbringing was decidedly middle-class. I went to summer camps, I was familiar with air travel from a very young age, I adored live theatre, I always had an enviable personal library and college was an unquestioned inevitability. But paired with the everyday realities of a possible electric power shut-off (due to non-payment) or the fact that I didn’t have a physician’s check-up from age 11 to 19 presented a kind of schizophrenic disconnect that I still haven’t remedied reconciled as an adult. This disconnect has is often been made moremost apparent within the context of education. Because I was an intelligent and ambitious student I would participate in activities that exposed me to what middle -class in America looked like. I was the student body president of my high school and many of my peers introduced me to the foreign concepts of vacation homes, quarterly dental check-ups and college funds. I knew I was supposed to go to college, but I had no idea how it might be paid for. The whole notion that college preparation was a set actions and not just a proclamation was not a part of my eventual experience. I was fortunate to earn a scholarship that covered my tuition, fees and books, but soon learned that the college experience is much more than that. My personal fuel ran out, I became depressed; I contemplated suicide. I successfully appealed for a medical withdrawal, then went to work full time during the interim. I did not graduate; I am 13 credits shy of my Bachelor’s Degree. Time passes and I became more mature, recognizing that my goals could be completely my own, and not a shared property with my parents. Occasionally, I mimic middle class life with free therapy sessions and I manage to complete a program in fashion design at a community college in Los Angeles (also free). I am encouraged to visit art museums as a part of my design curriculum and, I even work part-time selling audio tours at MOCA. After an impulsive move to New York City I settle into a freelancers grind as a gun for hire, and secure a stable yet boring gig at a generic T-Shirt Company. After about a year of this I get “laid off”, but the transition feels more like “fired”, since I am ineligible for unemployment benefits. During this time the nascent art projects I’ve been tinkering with sustain me against depression as the job market dries to a cracked finish. I loose my apartment and develop a more experimental approach toward housing. It involves illegal squatting and baths in a bucket. But I am fulfilled. I am introduced to a creative community that seems to understand me on the deepest level, supporting and inspiring me toward my most authentic self. I earn a residency through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, I make musical instruments out of combs, I lip-sync cultural commentary and stuff my face with crackers. My close friends and colleagues consistently suggest graduate school, but I rebuff the proposition as a wrench in my ‘self-taught artist’ narrative. But the real reason is that I am frightened by the financial commitment. The notion that I might explore academia, as an investment, is wasted on me. I am shell-shocked by my financial? circumstances, not to mention I am in default one thousand dollars for a scholarship that turned into loan after my failure to graduate. And, although I am actually a stellar candidate for graduate study, I resist the possibility for 3 years, completely distracted by the (perceived) price tag. In fact, I do not even allow myself the option of imagining what the experience would look like, I am so committed to the idea of a Sisyphean rock of educational debt.

Kenya (Robinson) | July 236, 2011

Perhaps this process will provide a moment of clarity for me that will contextualize and visualize “money” within its proper place: the toolbox. but also inspire the questions. It’s paid by money. moral support. information. But therein lies the rub: this invaluable commodity actually has a price. that not only provide the answers. Regardless of how much of it I may have at any given moment. 2011 . lends itself to the populous. and is not remitted solely by currency. in perfect world. I can personally attest to this psychological block that can override an investigation of worthwhile possibilities. confidence.Introductory ESSAY / Remitting Default: A Psycho-Economic Performance of Getting Skoooooled Educational attainment level is one of the most prominent determinants of class status. REMITTING DEFAULT is my attempt to examine the psycho-economic factors that influence my journey towards middle class-hood as an MFA candidate at Yale University. connections and a host of other tools. What do you mean by the toolbox? (Or) “Just ‘cause you don’t have the cash.KenyaWit Kenya (Robinson) | July 236. The National Bureau of Economic Research has identified that even when students of color have similar (read: competitive) academic records and test scores they still refrain from applying to selective (read: ivy league) schools. it must remain only one part of the equation when I consider the direction of possibility. family history. it don’t mean you can’t look.” . It has a falsen air of accessibility based upon achievement that.

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