I wonder how many blog posts are going up all around the world with that as the subject (or at least as the prominent feature) of the post. It's true though. The whole world is watching what happens with the Occupy movement. Being in New York, I felt compelled to join the protests, but did not. I kind of regret not being a part of this great moment in history. My reasoning was that I was going to get work done. Instead I spent a good chunk of today mesmerized by my Twitter feed, the Occupy Wall Street webpage, and the most importantly the livestream video. It sounds so cheesy and lame to say that it warms my heart, but it does. It makes me truly happy to see people out there voicing what should be a concern for so many of us. If I didn't have to work tonight, I would have been on my way to Foley Square. Just to witness it all, to be a part of it.
There are a lot of people out there who don't understand what the movement is about. Really, I don't think they want to know. They'd rather just sit idly by and let everything carry on as it should. When people ask me if I am for or against the protest, I smile and answer that I am so for it. When prodded further as to why, I iterate that the Occupy movement is for people like myself and many of my peers. It is for my generation, the next generation, for every generation. They are fighting for change for good.
The people that make me the saddest are those that know they are part of the 99% and claim that they do not stand with us. I even read something today with a quote from someone that was along the lines of that person being okay with barely making ends me, struggling with ever-increasing debt, and having no light at the end of the tunnel. How? How are you okay with this?
I look at my life and my future. I did everything right. I went to school. I went to college. I did well. I went to graduate school. I went for more graduate school. I have applied for jobs, was constantly rejected (not even brought in for an interview because of the 300 something applicants, I didn't even make that cut), and eventually got a job waiting tables. My life plan originally (well, as of a couple years ago) included going on to get a PhD. Part of my decision to stray from this idea was the current economy. Funding for research based PhDs is decreasing while the lack of jobs is increasing the number of applicants. Even if I were to get a degree, the prospect of jobs is grim. I have since reevaluated (see previous post about law school), and yes, part of that was as a result of looking at what is feasible. As a counter to this, I offer the fact that I almost didn't go to college. I almost dedicated my life to being a professional ballerina. I didn't because I knew that I would have a longer and most likely more successful career in academics. Eight years later and I have the same job I had the summer after my freshman year in college.
And I'm okay with that. I was thinking today about how my morning consisted of me sitting on the couch, reading the internet, and eating Cheerios right out of the box. If I wasn't so confident in myself and my future, it could have been a depressing sight to see. I know I will overcome this year off from academics. I will return to the scene and get shit done. And the Occupy movement will hopefully allow for enough positive change in our country that it will be worth it. Hopefully those who work hard and do what was always taught to us will come out okay.
Last little tidbit before I go. I think one of my favorite things about the Occupy movement is how "occupy" has come to signify so many things. It is often used in a joking or even derogatory sense, but it's there. It has infected our culture. And that is what this protest is about. Getting people thinking and talking. Making people aware. It's step one. Whether people like it or not or agree with it or not, they know about it. They're thinking about it. They're talking about it. The conversation has been started and we will all keep it going.