Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pope John Paul II Beatification--No Controversy With Me

John Paul II will be beatified on May 1, and some people find this move very controversial.

He was someone who truly believed in the dignity of every human being.  He proved this to me personally by writing this letter to me.
Out of millions of letters that he got, he freely chose to respond to me.  As busy as he was he chose to respond to me.  Despite all of the other millions of reasons that he may have had, he chose to respond to me.  That has real meaning to me.

Some people find his beatification controversial because he didn't do enough to stop priestly abuse of minors.  But, realistically, there was only so much he could do.  The people on the ground floor had much more of an obligation to intervene, and they did nothing.  People misunderstand the true role of the Pope.  He is not called to be a policeman to the Church.  People in the Church are supposed to police themselves, and each other when need be.  Rather, he is called to be a loving spiritual father to all, and that's exactly who John Paul II was.  He spoke of a greater vision for the world, and hoped that others would rise to their calling.  He always desired for the best of humanity.

Perhaps he could have done more about sex abuse and other abuses within the Church.  But he was only human.  It would have been impossible for him to do more without the assistance of others.  Plus, as repugnant as abusers are, John Paul II believed that everyone could be redeemed.  I also think he couldn't believe some of the charges, because he had seen so much contempt in this world.  He had a hard time believing that his own could be so repugnant.

He is someone who passes my smell test, and that is very difficult to do.  Most religious people do not pass my smell test, not even close.  John Paul II was someone who in some small ways made the world a little bit of a better place, and that should be recognized.  It's uncommon.  He was someone who recognized that he was privileged in this world, and used that privilege to do good.  Some have speculated that he was instrumental in the fall of communism.  But ironically enough, even Fidel Castro was a fan of his.

What I would ask the doubters is, who would they beatify?  There is really no one left.  There is no one else who can pass so many hypercritical smell tests.  There is no one else who crossed so many boundaries, and brought people of all walks of life together.  He was not a controversial figure to me, just a truly decent person who desired for everyone's true good.  And he deserves this recognition.

Friday, April 29, 2011

I Like Religion, but Not Religious People

Is that possible?  I even thought of becoming a nun for  a time, because I liked the idea of living for God and having some meaning in my life.  But the religious people I've encountered, some were all right, but some were so mean.  I was especially surprised by how bitchy and catty the nuns could be, as well thought of as they are.  They seemed to think they had reached some level of perfection to which all others must conform.  They were constantly trying to "convert" people, in the worst sense.  I guess it almost goes without saying that they were intolerant of gays.  Many of them were totally intolerant of everything that they viewed wrong with other people, and they always made their views known.

What's really upsetting about this, for me, is that it's so totally contrary to legitimate Christianity, as I see it.  Jesus was always a friend to the outcast, and those who had been dumped on and "robbed" by society.  He healed the oppressed, he wasn't an oppressor.  Even though, according to Christian theology, he was literally perfect, he never beat up on people for their petty sins.  He wasn't constantly trying to wrestle people down into some sort of a conversion.  These are the real values in Christianity, and unfortunately I just didn't see it in the religious people I encountered.  But they were very good at making people feel bad.

I guess it can be hard to find kindness anywhere in this world.  That's why it's so disappointing that these Christian/Catholic people who pride themselves on being Christian are so cruel.  Why do they even use the title "Christian"?  For the Catholic hierarchy, I guess the answer is obvious.  They live lives of privileged leisure because of their title of priest or bishop or nun.  They are practically worshipped by so many people for  their title.  In other words, they are hooked up.  All the more reason why they shouldn't be so hard on other people.  The laity have to worry about things like working to pay for their bills, accommodating their families, and generally making a go of life without the institutional support of a multi-billion dollar multi-national.  Many of the parishes are multi-million dollar extravagances, and yet the religious people are still motivated by getting more money from people.  They want money from people who are poorer than themselves.

But do they, at least, give good life guidance?  No.  I got a lot of domineering advice and criticism from them in all the years that I went to Church, but none of it helped me in the least.

I still like the idea of religion, though.  The idea that different people from different backgrounds could come together and be friends for a least one part of the day, as it should be at Church.  Church isn't supposed to be a place of alienation and contempt.  For people who aren't sincere, it should at least be a place where they put on their best selves for at least a moment.  A place of respite for your soul.  A place where everyone's innate human dignity is valued, most especially the outcasts and those who've experienced real hardship in life.  But I never found a Church that truly welcomed me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Adult Education

I did a search on "adult education" just to see if I could find anything the might inspire, inform, or enlighten me.  It's pretty slim pickin's.  There were a lot of sites devoted to combating adult illiteracy.  I'm pretty sure I'm not illiterate, but neither do I have a degree.  I'm really stuck in this hard to define position.  Though I don't have a lot of formal education, I have, in some sense, been schooled by life, and through independent study.  The classroom isn't the only place you can learn.

I did a search on "adult education blog" to see if anyone else had shared their experiences as an adult student.  Nope.  Not that I could find, anyway.  It looks like I'm either totally out of my element, or blazing a new trail.  I think I like the thought of trailblazer better.

I do think I will have quite a fish-out-of-water experience at the community college.  They don't get enough adult students to have a separate school for "non-traditional" students, like me.  At the class registration, there was only one other adult there that I noticed out of about twenty students.  I hope there are at least a few other adults in the classes I've signed up to take.  I deliberately signed up for night classes when I could, because I figured adults were more likely to take those classes.

Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by the prospect of what I'm doing, and think I should just give up.  But, of course, I realize that the longer I wait, the older I get, and the more awkward it will be.  When I was in my twenties, I already thought I was too old for college.  I tried to go about building a life without a degree.  It almost worked, but not quite.  And now I realize if I had done it then, it would be over with.  I'd already have a degree, and it would have been a lot less awkward.  Realizing that helps me stay on course.

The University of Pennsylvania is my real goal, though.  If I can get through the awkwardness of the community college, then I can arrive safely at the University of Pennsylvania in their school that  is specifically for adults and other non-traditional students.  I'm pretty sure it will be a better social experience for me.

Less than a month to go before classes start.

The Birthers

I love a good conspiracy theory as much as anyone.  But, unfortunately, in this case, the facts overwhelmingly prove that President Obama was born in Hawaii.  It seems still that nothing will stop the birther movement, which claims that the president was born outside of the US.  Even though I don't agree with them, I find them good for entertainment.  How much time and energy will they devote to this futile claim?  And is this the best they can do against the president?  Do they have any policy issues with which to critique him?  In a way, they make him seem like a better president than he is.  If the worst thing he's ever done as president is being born outside the US, then he's a pretty good president.  Realistically, though, if they want to really nail him, they'll have to get him on policy issues (or maybe an affair).  Or are conventional approaches like that just too difficult for them?  Sometimes, fiction is stranger than truth.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Healthy America

"Not french fries too!"  I thought as I read the latest headline on how health conscious Americans are becoming.  In the past thirty years or so, Americans have become increasingly health conscious at the same time obesity is on the rise.  How can this be?  How can such healthy Americans be so overweight, and have so many health problems?  And why are they trying to get rid of french fries too?

As a committed smoker, these health trends have really affected me personally.  It had been years since I had taken the train.  But I needed to go to Philadelphia so I found myself back at the train station, like good old times.  As usual, since I was outdoors, not inside the train, I lit up a cigarette.  I got a few nasty looks from people.  That wasn't too unusual considering how health conscious and perfect Americans have become.  I was smoking away when I noticed a sign across the train tracks at the other side of the train station.  It was a "no smoking" sign.  Outdoors?!  I could understand no smoking inside a claustrophobia inducing enclosed space like a train, but outdoors?!  I looked around to see if there were any no smoking signs on my half of the train station.  Indeed there were.  SUVs and diesel trucks and many other pollutants are allowed to put untold filth into the environment, but my little cigarette is an offense?  But I had already lit up, so I decided to finish.  On the train ride, despite the no smoking signs outdoors, I noticed one brave soul who was smoking anyway.  A military man.  Someone who still had his human dignity intact.  God Bless America.

So major chemical dumps, nuclear power plants and many other much more dangerous pollutants are tolerated while smoking and french fries are out the door.  What sense does this country make?  In California it's even worse and more nonsensical.  Smoking is barely tolerated, all the while they're trying to make pot legal.  Pot is undoubtedly worse for your health than cigarettes.  But even pot smokers are prejudiced against cigarette smokers.  Being against smokers is truly the last acceptable prejudice.

In 10...20 years we can expect more insane rules that regulate unpopular people to death while big corporations do whatever they want.  And health conscious Americans will continue to get even fatter and more unhealthy.  As for me, I'll stick with my french fries and cigarettes so long as I can.  Everything in moderation.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Good Friday

So today is Good Friday.  It's a celebration of the day that Jesus Christ was crucified.  How can that possibly be good, you might ask.  Well, it's because of his crucifixion, his glorification of the Father, that Christian Salvation was to enter the world.  And it was only after his crucifixion that we could celebrate his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Still, sometimes, even though I know how the story goes and what it's supposed to mean, I don't know how these things are relevant to me.  I'm glad for whatever meaning and joy people can find in the Easter season, but death is just sad to me.  When you've lost someone who's really close to you, you know how much it hurts.  Perhaps if everyone's loved one were resurrected after death, it wouldn't seem so bad.

I've never been a very good Christian.  I've tried, but I've always tried to really get at the deeper meaning of these things and find myself alone in doing so.

There is no Mass said on Good Friday.  It's the only day of the year that there is no Mass said.  The reason for this is that Good Friday is the day of Crucifixion--prior to the Resurrection.  It's the day of the sacrifice.  The Perfect sacrifice.  And only after that can the Mass be celebrated.

So, anyway, Happy Good Friday.  Hope it has meaning for you.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Affordable Care Act the Beginning, Not the End of Health Care Reform

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that passed in 2010, though it seemed huge, was merely a baby step in the right direction.

And all the while this very minimal progress has been made, certain Republicans want to dash it to bits with their budget proposals.

Health Care, as other countries have recognized, is a basic necessity that should be available to everyone.  It is not something that should be solely motivated by profit, which creates so many problems.  If anyone in congress wants to deprive anyone of health insurance, they really need to start with themselves.  If they were on the receiving end of the budget penalties, then they would realize why it matters.  There are real people behind these bills, and I hope that Congress doesn't forget that.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

They're Rich and Beautiful, and They Have Problems Too

Catherine Zeta-Jones recently went public with her diagnosis of Bipolar II.  It's good of her to do that.  Hopefully it will help to educate the public about mental illness, and help to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness.  One of the reasons why she sought treatment was because she needed to go back to work.  Untreated, she wouldn't have been able to do that.  That is one of the most misunderstood problems with mental illness--the inability to work.  It's easier to think that the mentally ill are just lazy, and that's why they won't work, rather than can't work.  When someone like Catherine Zeta-Jones comes out publicly with her struggles, it can help the world see that mental illness isn't the choice of the afflicted, but a real cross to bear that deserves understanding and compassion, rather than contempt and cruel judgement.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Lent is supposed to be a time of reflection, and renewed appreciation for God's grace in our lives.  A grace might be something like being healthy, where others are sick.  Or being intelligent.  Even intelligent enough to be a scientist with no regard for religion.  It's also a time for penance.  A time to recognize our own failings, always with the hope of the Easter resurrection.  I think one of the purposes in giving something up for Lent is indeed to feel deprived of something that we like.  If we feel deprived by our own choice we might develop a greater empathy for those who are deprived through no real fault of their own.  Mother Teresa said to "give until it hurts."  So that  "we know how 'they' feel."  Mother Teresa's religious order, by the way, rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars, so she didn't mean it too literally.  Anyway, as much as it hurts to go without by free personal choice, it hurts even more to suffer unnecessarily through the choices of other people.  The Lenten spirit might somehow give us a greater compassion and empathy for our fellow human beings.  And a greater healing for those who suffer unnecessarily.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

ABC Soaps Being Cancelled in Favor of Reality Shows

I'll admit, it's been about fifteen years since I've really watched a soap opera.  But that doesn't mean I didn't like having them around.  It's not that I watched other shows during that time frame.  I just watched less TV on the whole.  But these soaps were special, and so much a part of the American TV landscape.  Reality shows, on the other hand, are everywhere now, and in no way special.  They're forgettable, and I can't imagine developing an attachment to them like I did the soaps.  There will undoubtedly be a backlash against this move by ABC.  But will it be enough to save these soaps from coming to a certain end?  I kind of hope so, but I kind of doubt it.

Soup Kitchen

I once volunteered at a convent for four years, and among other things, I helped out at the soup kitchen.  It's amazing to think that in the US there are people who would go without food were it not for the soup kitchens and food pantries.  An Indian woman who volunteered there could barely believe it.  And she told her friends back in India that there was real poverty in the US.  They absolutely refused to believe her.  Her friends in India were absolutely convinced that EVERYONE in the US was wealthy and well-educated.  This is a country that is sold to the world as a land of opportunity and a democracy--a land of bounty for all.  And yet there are thousands of soup kitchens and shelters throughout the country that aren't even enough to deal with the pressing needs.  Why is that?

The economy is supposedly rebounding, but one of the things that politicians don't talk about is how they fudge the numbers.  In order to get a lower unemployment rating, they kick people off of the unemployment dole.  That obviously isn't a real cure for unemployment.  What other numbers are they fudging simply to make the country look better?  So you end up with this disparity between the image of the US throughout the world, and the truth of what is really going on in this country.  Meanwhile, millions of Americans are really suffering.  And not enough is being done, in part because of this need to project a good image.

So why did I stop doing my part?  I quite liked volunteering at soup kitchen when I did it, for the most part.  Some of the people who went there were just regular, decent people who had fallen on hard times.  There were a few people who were quite rude and hardened.  I tried to always ignore the rudeness and attributed it to the hard lives that they had led.  Many were prostitutes or drug addicts.  Thank God for the soup kitchens and shelters that are able to offer a small plate of hope to people who had been pushed so far down in society.  In a lot of ways, the nuns were more difficult for me to deal with.  They were supposed to know better.  So when they were rude to me, it was much more difficult to deal with.  I guess it just sort of fizzled.  I did it for a time, and then it was time to move on to other things.

Friday, April 15, 2011

7 Year Old Gets Plastic Surgery to Avoid Bullying

It's worth it.  As someone who has been the victim of severe bullying, I can personally attest to the fact of the lifelong damage that it does.  It made me absolutely hate school and dread going.  In fact, it's why I dropped out of high school, even though I'm a relatively intelligent human being.  Bigger bullies awaited, though, as people look down on you for not having a degree.  Schoolyard bullying is not child's play, it can ruin your entire life.  If only someone had intervened.  If only I had been sent to a different school.  If only I had had the right clothes.  Bullying can have a life-long impact on a child if nothing is done.  It made me know that I was all alone in the world and no one was really on my side.  And adults can be as bad, or worse than the kids.

Years later, when I was teaching religious education to children at day camp, there was a girl who was being bullied by a boy.  She came to me for help.  I told her to tell the nuns, thinking that, of course, they would do something about it.  They laughed it off and just said to the girl, "That means he likes you."  I was pretty disgusted.  I tried to return to teaching the class as normal, but could see how ruined this poor child was.  Why was it that bullies always won?  Why were they always accommodated?  As an adult, though, I knew I could and had to intervene.  I really had to put the pressure on that nun to do something about it.  He was expelled.  So all could be well in my class.

It really is the job of parents and educators and administrators to create a safe learning environment for all students to learn and grow in.  I guess it's human nature to ignore bullying if it doesn't affect you personally.  And, indeed, that is much of how the adult world operates as well.  But to do noting about it is really to give up on younger generations.  It's a way of saying to the victim, you don't matter.  People tend to be protective of themselves, and that same protection ought to extend to people who are weaker, or an easy target.  It really would lead to a more civilized and better world.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

School Nerves

I've been to the school registration, I've taken the placement tests, but I've yet to step foot into an actual classroom.  That won't be until May 23rd.  And I'm full of nerves.

I fear that community college might be the pits for me since most of my fellow students will be significantly younger than me.  We'll see how that goes.  It might not be so bad.  But this is one of the reasons why I am so eager to get into the University of Pennsylvania's LPS school.  It's a school specifically designed for adults.  It will be nice to work alongside others who are intelligent, interested in learning and in the same general age range as me.

Once classes get started, I'm hoping the quality of my blog will improve too.  Not only will I be able to share stories (and pictures) from the trenches, but if I write any good papers, I'll probably share those too.

It's been so long since I've been to a school, that I just don't know what I'm in for.  Actually, I hope it isn't anything whatsoever like high school, since that was quite terrible for me.  Hopefully the professors will be able to jumpstart my brain.  It's been so long since I've had any intellectually challenging and invigorating work.

Long ago, when I almost had a career, I did some interesting work.  I was a guest panelist on Philly After Midnight, a local ABC show.  I was a semi-finalist for Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, and I was selected as a guest panelist when the ABC show The View did its "View Across America" tour.  I wrote, produced and hosted my own little local cable show.  I don't know what happened, exactly.  I guess I sort of gave up.  I didn't believe in myself.  I began to fear that even if I was "successful" that I still wouldn't be happy.  I feared success and failure.  I had no guidance.  People were becoming jealous of me and hateful towards me for the little success that I had.  I didn't want more of that.  It was a venture into the unknown, and I bailed from it.  I gave into the naysayers.  I shouldn't have.

So now, in my old age, I'm trying to find my way.  I don't really know what I want to do with school, but it has to be better than just stewing in regret.  A new beginning, despite my fears.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fundamentalism is Alive and Well and Living in Greater Philadelphia

Last year, my neighbor, who is a born-again Christian, talked me into going to a community Bible study.  It was inordinately stressful for me, well-intentioned though she may have been.  From the beginning, they expect you, on the first day, to make a school year long commitment to the community Bible study.  I asked whether or not I would have to go to every single one, and they said, of course there could be exceptions for vacations.  But other than that you were expected to go every single time.  What if I just didn't feel like it?  Or what if I just wanted to try it out a few times to see if I could stomach it?  So, that was the first danger sign.

This was supposed to be a Bible study, but even the workbooks extrapolated from the Bible, not new and wonderful insights or historical context, but personal questions about how these few verses relate to YOU.  Personal disclosure was not only encouraged, it was expected.  The way it was handled didn't even foster community, but a spirit of competition and one-upsmanship about who was the best Christian and who did God favor the most.  Well, no one has to remind me that I am not favored by God, but remind me they did.  My core group leader said at the beginning that you didn't have to know much, if anything, about the Bible in order to participate.  But I wondered, are you allowed to participate if you DO know something about the Bible?

Sin.  It deteriorated from there.  It became a place where people could air their grievances about "sinners."  People they worked with, friends, family, anyone who wasn't a "real" Christian.  How one makes this determination was never explained, but for some odd reason, it was never the accuser who was guilty of sin.  Even worse, it became a political venue for people who espouse very conservative beliefs in the crudest way.  We would have to listen to these diatribes against abortion and gay marriage before breaking off into our little groups.  As it is with preachers, we had no opportunity to respond or discuss with the lecturer about their, not God's opinion.  Because, of course, their beliefs about God or Christianity are tantamount to God's truth. :sarcasm:  Nothing could be further from the truth, but try explaining that to fundamentalists, or the average preacher.

In all, I had to leave.  Especially the personal attacks against "sinners" made me feel even personally attacked.  There was great hostility in the air.  And I'm not perfect either.  I would hope that a thorough examination of conscience would lead others to that same bombshell. 

Still looking for that which I have not found.    O Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pell Grant Made the Cut

And thousands of students across the country breathed a sigh of reliefThe Pell Grant made it through this years federal budget after a government shutdown was barely averted.  They must have read my post about how important Pell Grants are to the health of the nation. ;)  One less thing to worry about.

Summer is Just Around the Corner

And to prove it, it's going to get into the 80s today in the normally chilly NE US.  No longer will I be able to use the dark cold winter as my excuse for being lazy, and not exercising as I ought.  Time to get my gardening act together too.  Last year the heat killed/damaged many veggie plants.  We'll see if global warming will do the same kind of damage this year.  No matter how bad the heat gets, though, it's better than a freezing cold winter as far as I'm concerned.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Friday Fast

This is what I'm giving up for Lent this year--food on Fridays.  It may seem a little extreme, but when you consider that there are people in this world who have to go without food involuntarily for days, it isn't so bad.  I actually failed Friday April 1st, and ate midday on.  But I have made it every other Friday so far.  It works out well, because according to official Catholic practice, we are not to eat meat on the Fridays of Lent.  If I don't eat anything on Fridays, then I definitely won't eat meat.

An official fast, according to Catholic practice, is to eat two small meals and one normal meal for the day.  For some reason, though, moderation has never gone well with me.  That kind of a fast, in some ways seems more difficult because you really have to pay attention to what you do.  It's more like a healthy diet than a fast.  Perhaps that's why they encourage people to do it.  You end up not feeling very deprived.  Either way, one day of fasting won't make much of a difference on the scale.  If I were really intent on losing weight, I would do well to do my fast on Fridays and the official fast the rest of the week.  People often think that religious rules are so severe, but sometimes we're harder on ourselves than any outside institution would be.

But imagine if I had to fast, not by choice, but because there was no food.  The kind of fasting that people throughout the world in poorer countries have to do.  Or what if I was deliberately deprived of food by a brutal dictator, as is the case in Libya.  After a few days of fasting, I would probably quit expressing myself and fighting for ideals.  Fasting by choice can only give me a small insight into the frailty of us humans.  So, then, a fast should lead to gratitude for that which I do have.  For me, it is only a personal choice.  For some, it is beyond their ability to control.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Blog Comments

Well, now that I have some readers, thanks to the magic of cyberspace, I have a new goal.  I'm hoping to get some comments.  I realize that I haven't written that much, so for the time being, that may be asking a lot.  This whole blog world is very exciting to me.  I love the idea of being able to connect with people from all over the country.  Now to get some comments.  I've set it so you don't have to be a registered user of any sort in order to comment.  I would prefer nice comments over mean comments, but being as I have no comments at the time being, maybe I shouldn't be so picky.  I plan on continually improving and updating the content of my blog, so maybe things will pick up as time goes on.  Thanks for reading! :)

Book Review: Light of the World by Pope Benedict XVI with Peter Seewald

Here's my review of Light of the World, previously posted on

If I hadn't previously read John Paul II's wonderful interview book Crossing the Threshold of Hope, I might have given this book 5 stars. That's a tough standard to measure up to. Light of the World is still a good book and definitely doesn't require a theological background to understand. While many of the subjects covered are quite interesting, they aren't covered with the same depth as Crossing the Threshold of Hope.

The Pope

The Pope emerges as a down-to-earth, humble man, somewhat remarkable in his ordinariness. I was surprised to learn that he was the son of a police officer. He is at home in questions of both ordinary and extraordinary importance. He offers a view of God that is more than cheap moralism or oppressive reductionism.

The Church

Peter Seewald gives the Pope a chance to clear up some past scandals in the Church such as lifting the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying bishop. I feel satisfied with his explanation but that he lays partial blame at the feet of the Anglican Church.

There are a few disappointments. When speaking of the sex abuse scandal, he downplays the role of clerics in fostering clericalism, and instead casts blame on the laity for putting priests and religious up on a pedestal. This attitude denies the fact that the Church hierarchy is designed to put priests and religious up on a pedestal. And if religious leaders cannot be trusted, then there really isn't much of a Church.

Overall, though, Light of the World is informative and interesting, and a tiny window into the life and mind of the Pope.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Adult Education in the NE

The following are the top 2 colleges in the NE for adults seeking a bachelor's degree, according to me.  I'll admit, I haven't done  a thorough researching of all of the possibilities.  But from the research that I have done, these were the two that I had to decide between.  It's kind of a toss up for me between the two.  If I lived close to Harvard, I'd probably go there.  But since I live near the University of Pennsylvania, that's where I'm hoping to go.  Realistically, there really isn't that much in the way of undergraduate schools specifically for adults.  So this list may well be comprehensive.  Here's what I found about these two Ivy League schools:

#1  University of Pennsylvania
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Offers a regular bachelor's degree to adults through their College of Liberal Professional Studies (LPS).

Admissions: Does not require SAT scores.  Requires a B average or higher, and an admissions essay.

No average age of students given.

#2  Harvard Extension School
Location: Cambridge, MA

Does not offer a regular bachelor's degree to adults, but their equivalancy degree has led students to academic success as graduate students at good schools.

Admissions: Take 3 classes at the Extension School including one expository writing class, get a B+ average or higher, and write an admissions essay.

Does not require SAT scores or prior GPA.

Offers long distance learning for a few concentrated areas of study.

Average age of students: 35

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Only 47 Days to Go...

...until my classes start on May 23rd.  I'm taking four classes this summer--English Composition I, and Art History I for the Summer I session, and English Composition II, and American History I for the Summer II session.  Unfortunately, I won't be able to find out what books will be used until the classes start.  Otherwise, I would have the opportunity to familiarize myself  with the material now and be a little better prepared.  I have, though, purchased the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.  It was pretty slow and repetitive reading, but undoubtedly very valuable for future work that I will have to do.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pell Grant Chopping Block

The GOP wants to cut back Pell Grants so that students, including me, would have even greater hardship in going to college.  What are they, stupid?  For them personally, it doesn't matter because they can pay out of pocket for their children to go to college.  But if they want the country as a whole to remain competitive in the world, they ought to encourage, rather that discourage people's attempts to better themselves.  Maybe they're just worried that poor, smart students will easily outstrip their young ones when given a level playing field.

When you want something to die, you cut off funding.  If they want higher education for poorer students to die, they will cut  back the Pell Grants.  It might seem like a good idea to them since they and their friends and families won't be personally affected, but it would be bad for other people, and the country as a whole.


Here's my plan, as of now: To go to community college to get the GPA that I need to get into the University of Pennsylvania.  They have a school called the College of Liberal Professional Studies (LPS) that is specifically geared towards adults.  The faster I get in there, the better, as I dread the thought of only going to school with people half my age.  Supposedly, if I take four classes at community college, get good grades, and write a killer application essay, then I should have a good shot at getting into the University of Pennsylvania LPS school.  It's been about 13 years since I took the GED test, so hopefully they won't hold my old test scores against me.  Do I sound like an unlikely candidate for an Ivy League school?  Well, we'll see about that.  Even though a lot of people think you're stupid if you haven't gone to college, I think I may still have a few tricks up my sleeve.