Going Back to High School

One of the first things friendly high school teachers will tell their best students when they’re on the verge of graduating is, “make sure to visit!”

Well, being in a DACA standby, a “graduate slump”, that saying rings true for me a little bit too strongly.

My impetus to return to my high school, mostly to provide my services in the way of helping run certain classes (e.g. TV Production), is stronger than that of my other friends namely because I haven’t found its replacement. I’ve lost that 7:20am – 2:20pm routine and heretofore been unable to truly replace it.

But see, writing of it like that makes it sound like I have nothing else to do, which isn’t true. I’ve got college classes to sit in on, college apps to fill out, work to look for, friends to hang out with; the works.

Rather, the fact that I’m even thinking about the feasibility of going back is an indication, in my opinion, that I really do have something to give to the school; else I wouldn’t think twice about not going back.

The faculty I want to help out, in fact, has been nothing but encouraging to the prospect of my coming in regularly to help out.

The only thing that’s keeping me from fulfilling the task wholeheartedly is my fear of judgment, something I never thought would stop me from doing anything, if even slightly.

Namely, I don’t want current students to look at me and say, “Psh, what’s he still doing here” or “shouldn’t you be in college?”. I don’t fear it because I made enemies during high school or anything like that; in fact, it’s the exact opposite. I consider myself a high school success to some extent, and with the territory of that comes, supposedly, the ability to move on and tackle the next hurdle, presumably college.

It’s more a question of pride as opposed to pure insecurity. Maybe a question of not wanting to live in the past, too.

A girl that I’m crushing on at the high school says, “Just do you”; my former English teacher tells me my standby has granted me an opportunity others would want but don’t get and that I should take advantage of it and do anything, helping out at school included if that’s what I want to do.

We’ll see how it pans out over the next couple of weeks.

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Young DREAMers are now empowered to become doers

Click here to see the article on the Sun-Sentinel’s website!
Obama announcing DACA. 

Sen. Marco Rubio, who had reasons to oppose
Obama’s DACA order. 

Giving an interview regarding DACA
and its relevance to me as an
undocumented student in the US
on Univision 23’s Spanish-language
Saturday morning local news program,
Ahora en Nuestra Comunidad

Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented immigrant
who has lived a professional life in the US as an
undocumented immigrant against all odds. 

Receiving awards and a scholarship at my high school’s
Senior Awards ceremony. 

CN’s "Regular Show" + Gardening

The stars of the show and the groundskeepers
of its unnamed park. 

Any of you guys watch JG Quintel’s Regular Show on Cartoon Network? I must say, it’s one of the best cartoons I’ve watched in a while – and I never watch cartoons.

The natural tone of conversation between the two main characters, a blue jay named Mordecai and a raccoon named Rigby, is what’s got me hooked. And their occupation on the show – groundskeepers at the local park – has got me thinking.

I ponder on the environment a lot. I enjoy being outside (even in the “unbearable” Florida heat), I ride my bicycle everywhere, I enjoy invites to the local park, and so on. Why not try to land a job, internship, or otherwise an opportunity to do the same thing Mordecai and Rigby do?

Granted, the work will be much more difficult than it appears on the show. Driving the golf cart around the city just won’t cut it.

To test whether or not I can handle and enjoy the manual labor, I’ve taken to working on the garden back at my high school. Excepting the potentially arduous social task it can be to go back to where you came from, I’ve enjoyed the gardening work so far, which has involved mulching the flower plot and planting some wildflowers.

More on going back later, though.

Free College

Indeed, it is a fair trade. A beautiful exchange,
in fact.

But I’ve got to occupy myself somehow, right? Indeed, I have. One of these occupations – from here on, dubbed, “Free College”, is quite inventive if I do say so myself.

For one, I’ve discovered both the feasibility and power of sitting in on college classes. August 20th (the first day of college for many of my friends) I accompanied my friend Jeannie to her ENC 1101 class. I didn’t want to just drop her off and leave, so I sat in on the class, actively participating for the duration of the hour.

When attendance was called, I just stayed shut and kept on like it was no one’s business.

While this method will get you into the room, it’s not feasible long-term: if you want to stay in the class and do the work, making friends with the professor is a must.

So that’s exactly what I did. I contacted two professors at another university campus that were teaching journalism-related classes I was interested in attending (Law  and Ethics, Intro to TV, Intro to Journalism, and News Literacy), divulged my intentions, and asked if I could essentially take their class for the fall semester. No credit is awarded, sure, but given the DACA-induced standby I’m in, it’s the closest thing to a college education possible at the moment.

So far, it’s worked out great! Now if only I had a university ID so I could go into the football games …

The Graduate Slump

Screencap from the film, “The Sophomore Slump”.
Very slumpy indeed. 

Several years ago, I produced a documentary film entitled “The Sophomore Slump”. The film chronicled my sophomore year for a few months, with the film’s title referring more so to the ubiquitous saying rather than the nature of the year of itself.

Especially when compared to the situation I’m in right now.

I’ve mentioned this before: I am an undocumented alien residing in the United States (see the blog post about my Sun Sentinel article on the subject here). When President Obama announced his executive order to provide work permits and deferred deportation statuses to kids like me, myself and several close others had reason to be excited.

And while the program will benefit me, the gap period between applying for it and actually receiving it has produced a sorts of “Graduate Slump” for me.

Obama announcing his executive order for
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

I was so prepared to move back to my homeland of Argentina and continue my studies there that applying for colleges here in the United States appeared to me as a frustrating waste of time, one that would proportion many acceptance letters (as my friends tell me based on my academic achievements) and much sadness in not being able to return the favor to these colleges.

Blame it on who you will, but since I didn’t embark upon that “frustrating waste of time”, it’s Fall 2012 and I’m not enrolled in any post-secondary institution. Given the fact that I still only qualify for private and/or institutional scholarships – the best of which are awarded solely in the fall – I’ve got a long wait ahead of me.

Hence, “The Graduate Slump.” Sounds like grounds for a sequel, right?