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What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Back to School

It's back to the classroom following a short spring break. As you may recall, I'm going back to school to get myself some fancy book learnin'. Actually, I'll be the first person in my family to have a college degree, so I have a lot to work for. But it's all worth it. Part of the college experience for an older student is having to re-learn things we were taught in high school, which in my case would have been in 1985. Through my life as a working adult I haven't had to rely on math skills, which means now I have to re-take basic math in order to prepare myself for the math I'll have to take in my junior and senior years. So, this term I get to re-learn algebra. The only downside to the basic math classes is that the credits do not count towards my degree, since right now I'm not in 100-level math (i.e., freshman math), and it will take a few terms to reach the level where I'm taking math that applies to my degree.

I've said it before in this space: if you are an older adult thinking of going to college, and you can do so -- go for it. In fact, right now would be a good time to apply for student aid for the coming year. You'll need to have finished your 2004 tax return. You can get all of the details at the U.S. Department of Education's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASA) web site. In the very least, you'll probably qualify for a student loan. The application process is a little involved but you can do everything online. I don't know if my situation was typical or not, but when I applied last year I had my award letter (the letter outlines what financial aid you qualify for) in about a month. Obviously it may take longer (or sooner) depending on any number of circumstances. (Check out this piece at MSNBC that discusses other ways to get money for college).

News coverage of the Terri Schiavo case continues non-stop, with the conservative punditry stepping up efforts to blame the whole thing on liberals, taking every opportunity to accuse liberals of actually wanting Schiavo to die, all in the name of ugly politics and another battle in the culture wars. I'm not going to argue one side or the other as far as Terri Schiavo goes, but this whole debate is really showing how this case should never have been politicized. I blame Republicans more than Democrats as it was the Republican leadership in Congress who decided to make this a political issue and to create a massive rift between people who support Michael Schiavo (Terri Schiavo's husband) and those who support Bob and Mary Schindler (Terri Schiavo's parents), with the fingers of blame being pointed at Michael Schiavo (accused of abusing Terri Schiavo and deemed a 'murderer' by many conservatives) and at liberals who supposedly are waiting with glee for Schiavo to die. It's been a disgusting display, and will likely continue after Terri Schiavo has died. Michael Schiavo has ordered a full autopsy on his wife, putting at bay (at least momentarily) those who claimed that he wanted to have Terri Schiavo cremated to hide evidence of abuse, neglect, or medical proof that she could have recovered.

I certainly hope that if these next few days are her last, it would be out of the media's eye and left a private matter. But, knowing the media, the final private moments will be made very public.

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