If I Went Back to School… #FreeCommunityCollege

January 9, 2015

book + computer

As I was desperately trying to make the most of the end of my work day yesterday, Tunde pinged me on Microsoft Lync with the link to a tweet that said Obama was handing out community college degrees like tic tacs!! Ok, that’s a gross exaggeration but it did say that Obama was trying to make 2 years of community college free. Say word?!?!?! My mouth dropped open and I gasped. I had no further context for the nature of this news but those few words told me all I needed to know. First, if it wasn’t already clear with his immigration reform and his stance on Cuba, Obama has officially moved into the “IDGAF” stage of his presidency. #WhoGonCheckMeBoo #IGotYoLameDuckSucka. Second, EDUCATION BOUT TO HAVE THE BEST YEAR EVER!!!! Third, and perhaps most important, the GOP has to be shitting their pants – which is well worth the price of admission.

In the only logical next response, I consulted Google. What is goinz on, Mr. President? Apparently our beloved POTUS is a tease and he dropped a video on Facebook that was taped on Air Force One saying he will propose two years of free community college education for Americans “willing to work for it” (#FreeCommunityCollege) in his State of the Union preview address in Tennessee today. 2015 is gearing up to be quite spectacular and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out.

So this all got me to thinking, what would I do if I went back to school? I mean, I did vow after I got my PhD to never take another test or class [voluntarily] again because I’d reached my peak in education – what more can one do after attaining the highest level of academic achievement (on paper, anyway)?? Buuuuut a FREE 2 year education changes things. If I was eligible, I would seriously consider taking advantage of this.

So what would I study?

The practical Gem would study computer tech shit. I’d study coding/programming – HTML, CSS, C++, Java, Python. I want to learn how to build programs, use programs to build websites, apps, and useful tools for scientists and businesses alike. I also want to be more comfortable with using computing languages to do stuff like solve complex problems. I don’t want to just press buttons of a script some one else designed (which is what I do at work now, a job that a nutless monkey could perform). I want to be the designer, I want to be able to say, “this is what I need/want to do and I’m going to create this program that allows me to do it.” And if the shit doesn’t work, or needs to be updated? I’d know how to do it! I’d also need to through in some serious statistic and maybe some engineering to achieve my goals, but I need some fundamental instruction to get me closer. Not only would these programming skills be extremely useful in my current position, but they could be applicable to damn near anything and so marketable. Technology is the future, it’s the present. And I feel like a neanderthal when it comes to using it beyond basic web design and social media communication SMH.

The dreamer Gem, follow-your-interests Gem would study English. I’ve always loved reading and writing (creative or otherwise). It’s so near and dear to my heart. I took a 400-level English course (Latino/a Literature) in college, that required 3 or so prerequistes that I didn’t have but got approved anyway with my freshman-level course experience because I was just that damn invested (and that damn good of a teacher’s pet student).There was also a time in 5th grade I’d won a few awards for some of my creative writing – poems and short stories. I thought it was really cool that my teachers thought my writing was that good. Little did I know that not only had I won awards in a few different categories, but I’d also won “District Champion” that came with a very large perpetual trophy. My name was added to a whole host of other students who’d won it over the years, and I got to keep it for a year. In an interesting turn of events, the district discontinued the awards after my year (AKA no one was close to my level so they were like, fuck it, this is done). I still have the trophy – it’s prominently displayed in my room at my parents’ house (though I don’t remember the details of how this came to be). Had I not gotten so many opportunities to pursue science, I think I may have gone down the language arts road. I love putting words together, making outward sense of my inner thoughts, creating images and feelings, traversing worlds through purposefully constructed language. It’s freeing. And deep down I wish I did it better. I could really use more instruction and structured learning experiences to improve my writing, broaden my exposure to various types of writing styles and literature. I’d even be interested in taking some journalism classes, and flexing my writing muscles in ways I’ve never done before.

Maybe I’ll have the chance to pursue one of these areas of study. Going back to school actually seems kind of fun 🙂


What do you think about the Obama proposal of 2 years of free community college? If you had the opportunity to go back to school (for freeski), would you? What would you study?

You Might Also Like


  • Reply madscientist7 January 9, 2015 at 11:31 am

    i think its excellent. i would rather 4 year schools be free as well but i know we have to take baby steps. what annoys me is people who are against this because of taxes. -_- elitism at its finest. so many other advanced nations have free education post high school. we’re always playing catch up but we’re the greatest nation on earth right?

    if i went back to school like you i would study computer programming. i took a course in college but i didn’t take C++ seriously. i would also want to study business.

    • Reply Gem January 9, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      i feel you on 4yr colleges/universities being free. i’d love for my children to be able to go to school without worrying about accumulating debt.

      i think ppl who complain about raising taxes probably wouldnt notice any discernible difference in their paychecks or lifestyles, any damn way. if you fundamentally believe that your tax dollars in general shouldnt pay for something like this, thats another thing. although, i dont see how anybody loses when our citizen’s have ACCESS to education. i just dont.

      i look back at college me and just SMH at my not taking computer programming and more advanced math more seriously. i could just kick college me. business courses would be uber valuable in any career field also. esp with the rise of technology and the need to manage it. thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Wu Young, Agent of M.E. January 9, 2015 at 11:47 am

    I think what Honolulu Slim has proposed is a great idea.

    If I were to pick something in the realm of formal academics I would do English. If I went the blue collar route I would study one of three things: Agricultural science #farmerswag, welding, or culinary arts… because eff that office life and I like working with my hands/being out doors.

    • Reply Gem January 9, 2015 at 1:48 pm

      English?? twinsies!!

      i so could see you doing farming or welding. maybe its because you’re a self proclaimed country boy lol. but if you decided to get a farm, id so come work on it like 2x a year – i’ve always liked the idea of farm life without having to have the responsibility of owning and maintaining one lol.

      • Reply Wu Young, Agent of M.E. January 9, 2015 at 4:02 pm

        It’s the owning part of farming that’s the rough part. You’re simultaneously at the mercy of the commodities market, the weather, and the banks.

        • Reply Gem January 9, 2015 at 4:09 pm


  • Reply miss t-lee January 9, 2015 at 11:54 am

    I’m thinking of going back and finally finishing my long languishing associates in psychology. I’ve also given thought to getting a certification in event/meeting planning, so I can move my hobby into an actual business business venture. If I could do it for the free–that would be gravy.

    • Reply Gem January 9, 2015 at 1:50 pm

      you should totally go back and finish it! and i totally see you as an event/meeting planner. you already know if i had the money i’d hire you to run my life – keep me organized, while having a good laugh over some chopped and screwed beats LOL. i didnt realize this was your hobby but i wish you all the best in turning it into a fully functional gig!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: