Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Sympathy for the "Snowflakes" --warning, a bit of a diatribe!

Sympathy for the “Snowflakes?” Not so much.

I have a very hard time finding any sympathy for the college students who have had hysterics and nervous breakdowns about the election.  They are, at least allegedly, in such a demolished state that they need “safe rooms” to go to, coloring books, puppies, teddy bears and many counselors to help them find their balance and the strength to carry on with their studies. Exams were waived and I imagine grading scales have been modified to accommodate a major dip in work completed and other normal factors. Goodness, we cannot expect these poor souls to work, can we? And we could not add to their tragedy by giving failing marks.

Why am I so hard hearted? Well, let me tell you a true story about a student I knew the 1960s. I know this person and every word that I am going to tell you is true. She came from an impoverished family and would not have been able to go to the state university nearest her home without the scholarship and grant she received. She had worked hard in high school and earned good grades which gave her this small foot up.

Just as she was ready to begin her second year, her family was evicted from their home and left essentially homeless. She was torn but knew if she did not return to continue her schooling the financial aid would be gone. Her parents and siblings bounced around in several substandard temporary dwellings for some weeks. Finally her father was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon after firing a shot at a car that drove slowly past where they were living. He was incarcerated until his trial and then sent to the State Hospital once it was determined his actions were the result of a nervous breakdown. He recovered at least enough to be back in society after awhile.

This student returned to her ‘home’ for a number of weekends that fall to help her mother and siblings store or get rid of the family’s remaining possessions and then sent them off to shelter with relatives in two different locations. During the same period, her fiancĂ© lost his job and had to move to another state to work; they parted ways after realizing the long distance relationship would be difficult for them both although hoping to resume it later.

This student continued her classes, usually sixteen  or more hours each semester. She did earn the only grade of 3 or C received in her college experience during the next semester as she struggled to find her emotional and mental footing after the extended period of trauma. Otherwise it was all 1s and 2s or As and Bs with the higher grade most often.  She had no counseling, no ‘safe room’ other than her room in an older—less expensive—dorm on campus. She had no car and walked everywhere she needed to go, taking a bus when she had to leave the immediate area. I know she had no puppies to pet; as to color books or teddy bears, I really cannot say. But she pressed on and managed to turn in all required assignments and pass all exams that year and the next two as well.

She graduated in four years and five intervening summer sessions with not one but two degrees, just a percentage point or two below cum laud status. Part of the time she also worked about twenty hours a week. The week after completing requirements for her second degree, she reported for work at the opposite end of the state, moving with the help of a friend. That job was the start of a career she stayed with for twenty five years.

I would never call her a hero or anything exceptional. She just did what she had to do in order to reach the goals she had set for herself. I am sure it was a difficult and painful struggle much of the time but in that era, you were allowed to fail if you did not measure up; you got very little in the way of ‘slack’ no matter what went on in the rest of your life. Nobody was too concerned about feelings being hurt or anyone taking offense at much of anything. You got tough or you did not make it. 

So no, I’d tell these pitiful excuses for young adults to put on their big kid britches, pull up their socks and dig in!  One election is not the end of the world no matter how  troubling it is to many, myself included. The fact remains, it is what it is and if you cannot deal with setbacks and trauma, then you may as well just give up and commit suicide or go into a sanitarium and live out your days as an aging infant, taken care of by those more competent.  

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