Tap-Out Thoughts

I hate coming home. Not because home is terrible but because home is home and my heart is here and every time I sit in this airport waiting to board a flight back to Jamaica my heart breaks. Sometimes I simply want to stop – come home, write an email to my lecturers and tell them that I’ve changed my mind and I’m not coming back. My comfort zone is tantalising and alluring, constantly provoking me to abandon what I’ve started and return to the place where I’m happiest and unchallenged. I’ve put on a brave face for my family and friends, but my heart is completely shattered and my eyes have felt the sting of tears during this past week too many times for my comfort. This is my second trip home in eight months and just as the time before this, I’m contemplating tapping out.

I’m at a point in life where all that I’ve done so far can be compared to little pieces of a picture and while I imagine the final product will be something offensively beautiful I’m not certain what it’s supposed to look like so I can only hope that all the pieces will fit together perfectly in the end. I chased after academia because he seduced me and I gave in but now that we’ve laid together I look at him and question what about him was so appealing that I decided to leave home and pursue sleepless nights at his Cabana in a foreign land. Hopefully, this is a phase, and soon I would shake this sullen feeling and be back to my bubbly, energetic self; taking on new challenges and making my mark on the world!

For now, however I am sad and I wish I didn’t have to leave this beautiful island and my amazing family to go back to Jamaica.

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Gov’t Bailout Feathers UWI’s Nest

THE EDITOR, Sir:

It is baffling that the University of the West Indies student body is celebrating the Government’s short-term solution of offering $300 million to final-year students being barred from sitting final exams. But I ask while the proposed bailout is much needed and graciously welcome, can we expect the Government to bail out final-year students every academic year? If the answer to that question is yes, let’s celebrate this accomplishment and give credit where credit is due and praise the JLP for answering the prayers of present and future UWI students.

If, however, the answer is no, I suggest we focus on the bigger picture and seek to find a long-term solution to this problem that has been plaguing students of the UWI for far too long.

The UWI is developing a track record for demonstrating that money trumps student welfare at the institution. In fairness, I agree that students should pay what is owed. However, the point at which the administration demands this payment clearly shows that the institution is more concerned with dollars and cents than it is with student advancement and development.

DELAYS

The cost to final-year students who aren’t allowed to sit exams because of outstanding fees greatly exceeds the actual figure owed to the university. Many of these students already have huge loans accumulating interest, and a delay in completion of their degree means delaying the chance for students to earn money – at least at the rate of a person with a degree, it means delaying when they begin to repay their loans and having to pay even greater interest on these loans.

A common consideration among many final-year students is to go on the travel-work programme and earn money to finish paying their tuition before graduation. The problem here is that the UWI has not taken this factor into consideration, and rather than withholding students’ transcripts or certificates, it chooses instead to act in a way that is detrimental to students.

The UWI’s solution to this problem is equivalent to wringing the hands of their impoverished students behind their backs while pressing them against a barbed-wire fence ensuring that they feel immense pain for even daring to owe the region’s premier learning institution.

REAL WINNER

So while the student body rejoices in this supposed win, the real winner is the UWI’s administration, which is now perched on a glorious throne, unconcerned about which students will benefit from the bailout, but resting assured that its bank accounts will definitely look healthier in the next couple weeks.

Don’t get me wrong, we applaud the Government for stepping in, but its involvement is putting a pretty bandage on a rotting sore. The system used to recover funds from students at the UWI is inherently flawed and there is the need for a better system to be established.

Akeela N. Marin

President, UWI Mona Debating and Public Speaking Society

 

The published article can be found here: The Gleaner