Praxis: What I Wish Existed When I Was Younger

I have a love/hate feeling towards my time in college. I met some of the most amazing people and had some great times, and the networking with faculty and students put me directly on the path I am on today. I love my life, and I don’t think it would exist in this form if I had not gone to Horry-Georgetown Technical College and College of Charleston so many years ago. But, I feel like I was sold a lemon in a lot of ways. The information I gained from being an Econ student wasn’t worth the $65,000 of debt and took more years of my life than it should have. In order to graduate I was forced to take a variety of general ed courses that have created almost no value for me, the worst offender is the foreign language requirement. I had to take four semesters of the same foreign language, which is basically a waste of time. You can’t learn enough in four classes to be anywhere near fluent, or even remember the basics of the language a couple of years later. I wish when I was in college there was an alternative.

Luckily, I believe things are improving. With free programs like Coursera and Khan Academy you can feel out subjects, and even get mastery in them, without spending any money. And, of course, programs like Praxis are leading the way in providing a true college alternative. When you enroll in college you are told it is a bundle of goods that will provide you with life experience, networking opportunities, and the skills you need to get a good job, but colleges are failing students in getting the skills necessary to get a job. Praxis actually provides training and an education so that students can prove their worth and be given some freedom to explore their passions.

As a military vet I think Praxis would have been perfect for me. I started college at the age of 23, much later than most of my peers, and I really only went to college because that is what you are supposed to do. If something like Praxis existed when I ended my service it would have been incredibly appealing to me. I hope Praxis can reach out to veterans when they get out of the military, I think many of them would be ideal candidates. They tend to have some life experience and maturity, as well as discipline to get work done. They also won’t be in a rush to the classroom again, it is sometimes tough to become a student again after 4 years of working for a paycheck and going on adventures. Besides, they won’t have much to lose. It is unlikely they will be dependent on parents for support, they have an easy college fall back if Praxis doesn’t work for them due to the GI Bill, and soldiers tend to have a high risk tolerance for travel and new experiences.

The world is getting better and institutions are being forced to evolve. It is a slow process, particularly for any industry that the government has so many tentacles in, but it is inevitable. The internet changed everything and we are just starting to see the effects. Education, from Kindergarten through College, is beginning to undergo a revolution. It is creative destruction, and may be painful for many who are entrenched in the old way, but it will be beneficial to individuals, society, and our species as a whole.

If you are interested in learning more about Praxis just check out their webpage at www.discoverpraxis.com where you can find testimonials, blog posts with their values, podcasts with their founder, etc.

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Finding Home

peace

This week I had two amazing experiences when I was able to check out two places that I may get to live. I’m moving out of my current place around March 1st and instead of rushing last minute I have started searching now. My current roommates are amazing and I will miss them, I never got as close to them as I would have liked due to my own personality and work situation, but the few times I had hanging with them were great. It isn’t often you will come home to a Buffy The Vampire Slayer marathon or can discuss police raids where everyone has personal experiences. I am optimistic though that wherever I end up next it will be an amazing chapter in my life.

The two places I have checked out so far share the same spirit but have some stark differences… and I love them both. The first place was a co-op near USC filled with some of the most passionate, friendly, and eccentric people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. I could feel the positive and motivated vibe to change the world radiate from every person I met. The welcomed me in, talked to me, and even let me participate in a figure drawing session they were having. I don’t think I have ever put pencil to paper in an artistic way but I actually had a really good time trying… I am a sucker for new experiences and it really opened my eyes to the visual arts. This is a home with many people who dumpster dive, have vegan dinners together, go to protests, host parties, art events, and respect all peaceful self-expression. This is a sex-positive home where the who in “who do you love” means the individual and not the gender.

The second place was near Culver City and had fewer people filled with a calm serenity. The current occupants are burners, festival-goers, fire dancers, mermaids, and acrobats. The huge yard has fruits, herbs, vegetables, and chickens spread about creating an atmosphere of sustainability and harmony. I fell in love with it instantly when I saw the colored lights up in the trees and the warmth of those who live there. I almost bypassed social norms and went straight in for a hug instead of a handshake. This is a place where personal intimacy, meditation, and balance is absorbed through every pore.

Both places are amazing and reflect the values that I pursue: peace, love, intimacy, and balance. They are yin and yang, action and inaction, adrenaline and seratonin… and my spirit would be happy at either one. I think I made a good impression but that normal fear creeps up into me, I was too shy, nervous, and introverted to let my light shine through. While I hope that I have the opportunity to live in one of these places I am not worried, even if they both find someone who fits better than me (not surprisingly there are many people looking to live in each place) it gives me such joy to know these peaceful sanctuaries exist that accept people for who they are. Places that would accept a peaceful, poly, happy, sex-positive, open, person like me with all my scars, experiences, and aspirations.