Friday

Akademic Conference Panels, Being Filipino, and Rewiring Reality

Since I've graduated, and teased out all the possible careers, I've attended a bunch of academic conferences in topics I thought I'd be interested in. I went to one about California Studies. One about the history of the Pacific Rim. One about the re-addition of streetcars in downtown LA. And today, one on Critical Social Neuroscience.

Can you just feel the jumps in career-making in that?

I don't really go to talk to anyone, to network or whatever, I go there for taking things in and mainly observing how academics talk. All conferences have had very interesting bits to me, and I got a bunch of notes from each of them that I never bother looking at ever again. Obviously, these conferences are stock full of older folks, professors, elders, usually a good blend of males and females of all races and ethnicities.

However, there was something a bit agitating in the Los Angeles streetcar workshop and the Critical Social Neuroscience workshop.

In their final panels of 8 people or more, each conference bragged a panel of "experts."

Take a wild guess who they are? As in, guess what demographic they represent.

Suspense killing you?

Middle-aged. White. Males. All of them.

No, I'm not here to bash on white folks or to bash on the groups of experts, or to bash whatever they've accomplished as individuals. Matter of fact, most experts do say lots of interesting things, which is why I probably go to a conference in the first place.

I'm here to bash the reasons, the root causes for that regularity. Root causes being exclusionary policies and actions from years of district redlining to job discrimination, at a job where you might not "fit".

What I am agitated about is not these experts themselves, but just the regularity to all this. The regularity, the pattern that middle-aged white males are the experts. The normality that middle-aged white males are the experts. The people assumed to know things the best. The people who are chosen to represent what we should listen to. The people who can ultimately influence decisions in stuff as wide as media perception to public policy-making. Ultimately the people who are seen as rational, logical thinkers. Ultimately, the people who in large numbers are perceived as qualified and skilled. Ultimately, the people who are perceived as the "normal" of society to whom we should all adapt. Ultimately, the people who "fit" in anywhere.

I can't really verbalize how badly I want to disrupt that regularity. By having more of us up there.

This doesn't mean that I sit thru each of these conferences looking at these experts agonizing over the paucity of people of color. I notice it, but it doesn't ever distract me from the content of what's said.

However, when this dynamic really hits me is when I'm actually at home out of that academic space and plugged into my everyday reality.

Virtually everyone else that surrounds me does not look or talk like those academics or experts. I don't know many folks in my circle with anything higher than an M.A. (which would be Chiars!). The generation ahead of us brought us here which is cool, but it's not like they were able to make friends with lawyers, doctors, bankers, professors, and have those friends hire us once we got out of college or serve as a reference. Historic Filpinotown, Panorama City, South LA, East LA. North, East, South, I'm rolling around in dirt brown country with a few sprinkles of hipster. Every weekend when I play basketball in Eagle Rock, it's brown kids around my age whose places of origin were colonized by Spain either from the Philippines or Central America. We are barely effin' employed as bank tellers, video poker players, lowly lab assistants, high school tutors, teachers at nonprofits, and or going back to school and whatnot. Eh, I guess It's cool, for now.

Good to be here and all, but later we need to be there as well.

Thursday

Research on Pinays

Hello everyone!  This is Chiara again.  I'm starting to build on my dissertation topic and it looks like I'm headed towards studying the vocational choice of 1.5- and 2nd-generation female Filipino American college students.  I'm in the very early stages of my research and am wondering if any of the current UCLA undergrads can suggest a student org meeting, a class, or any event I can sit in on and do a preliminary observation.  I've contacted the Pinays coordinator of Samahang and she's informed me of the collective taking place on Feb. 17.  I'm looking to conduct an observation sooner than 2/17, and I'm unsure of when the various Filipino orgs meet now that I'm no longer on campus.  It doesn't have to be a formal meeting; an Asian Am class would do.  In any case, I'd appreciate any leads you have of events &/or classes.  I can be reached at chiara.paz@gmail.com.  Thank you!

Wednesday

Focus Group @ El Camino Community College: Inviting all alumni

Hey everybody, I'm glad to see so many people contribute to the blog site and I just wanted to let everybody know that PTSP will be holding a focus group/open discussion forum at El Camino Community College on March 4 from 5-7. It will be held at the student services center, Room 106-Counseling Division Conference Room. Basically, it will just give us a chance to have transfers speak out their concerns about transferring to a four-year university. PTSP members will share their experiences on what's it like to be in a University. I want to extend the event to all the alumnis so that they can share their post grad experience as well. Let me know if you can come out and support. O, and there will be free food (hopefully Filipino food!)

Tuesday

SPEAR Post-Graduate Workshop

To All PTSP Alums,

SPEAR is hosting a Post-Graduate Workshop on Thursday February 12. We are looking for Alumni who are interested in giving advice to students on post-grad options. PTSP Alumni can help in two ways:

1) SPEAR is looking for alumni to come and speak at the workshop, held on Thursday, February 12. More specifically, we are looking for at least one alum who have experience under the following fields: nursing, public health, teaching, engineering, pre-health, law, graphics/art design, public policy, entertainment, music, economic/finances/accounting/business, Asian-American related fields. If you are interested in helping us out, you can contact me at education@samahang.org.

2) Here's the link to a PostGrad survey.  SPEAR is trying to gauge where Alum from various years are, and how they can help prepare today's undergraduates for a more secure future, esp. with the economic crisis.  If you have a few minutes, please fill it out. It's fun!
Click here.

Thank you.

Mike de Vera,
Academics Coordinator, PTSP

Sunday

My Story

Hello PTPS'ers. I think it's about time I contributed to this blog, so here's my story.

My name is Angeline and I was a Bayanihan intern in 07, Chair in 07-08, and the current Alumni Advisor. I transferred to UCLA in 06 from Ventura College. Before that I went to NYU for a year. So I've experienced my fair share of schools. From out of state private schools, to community colleges, to a UC. I even spent a semester abroad, but that's another story. I guess my point is out of all the schools I attended UCLA was the one where I felt most at home. Which is kind of odd since I never wanted to go to UCLA while I was in high school and I actually hated it there my first few weeks. But that all changed when I got more involved.

So my first two years of college, I focused on academics because somewhere along the way I decided that my goal was to graduate with honors. Also, during my freshman year I was still adjusting to living in New York and I figured I would have the next three years to get involved. But the summer after my first year my plans changed (long story short NYU does not give out sufficient financial aid and paying 50,000+ for three years was not an option for my family) and I went to community college. I took about 7 classes a semester at VC to make sure I could transfer in a year and I got involved as a tutor, but that was the extent of my community college experience.

Anyway, I was hoping to transfer to Berkley because I never pictured myself at UCLA. But since I didn't get in, UCLA it was. I didn't enjoy it very much at first, so I got involved to get my mind off of things and of course to build my resume. I started with BruinCorps, then Unicef, and then thanks to my cousin who also transferred to UCLA a few years back PTSP ( he suggested it because he wished he would have joined while he was there). I did a lot my first year at UCLA and PTSP was kind of in the back drop until we started prepping for SEND and until my SPEAR counselor started encouraging me to consider a leadership position. So in prepping for SEND I realized that PTSP was something I wanted to continue to be involved in and with the encouragement from my fellow interns I ran for Chair.

My last year at UCLA was crazy. I spent the first quarter living a care free life abroad and the last two worrying about keeping PTSP alive and my grades up (graduating with latin honors . Luckily, I had a very supportive board who put up with my craziness and we made it through. My best memories of college have been with PTSP and even though I can't express in words what PTSP has meant to me, I know everyone who is involved with this blog knows how important PTSP is for whatever reason.

So that's my story of how I came to be involved with PTSP.

That came out longer than I expected, and I didn't even talk about what I did with PTSP. But I can tell you what PTSP did for me. The leadership experience I gained in PTSP helped me get accepted into Teach For America, an organization that puts people passionate about equity in education in the classroom. So I am currently a Kindergarten teacher in Oakland. It wasn't the grade level I originally wanted, but I am happy with it. Although I don't plan to be a K teacher forever, it's something very rewarding for the time being. I am also in school working on my credentials and a master's in Education. My plan is to continue teaching for a few more years and go back and get another masters (maybe even a PhD) and become a community college professor, but in my experience plans change and that's okay with me.

I don't know how often I will be writing on this blog (I find it very stressful to think of something to write worthy enough for my peers to read) but know you can contact me anytime and if you ever find yourself in Oakland, don't be a stranger!

~angeline

Saturday

Swimming the Unemployment Pool

The unemployment pool is getting to be as full as the one used for swimming in Sherman Oaks recreation center on a July day. I was rubbing elbows, bashing teeth in, Didier Drogba kicking people, but I've finally climbed out, kind of.

Unemployment in LA County was measured at 9.9% for December.


The state Employment Development Department today reported that the December jobless rate was up almost a full percentage point from 8.4% in November. It stood at 5.9% a year earlier.

The rate for Los Angeles County, which like the state number is seasonally adjusted, was 9.9% for December, up from a revised 8.9% for November.


9.3% in the state of California.

Officially the highest in 15 years.

This means that a sizable amount of folks lack legal money-making activites.

If it weren't for the social safety net called my parents, I could've tipped the balance to a full 10% and filed for unemployment, but I wouldn't do that to you guys.

The news of sky-rocketing unemployment is doubly bad for young folks. This fact documented by the NY Times. It probably has to do with the fact that not a lot of people trust us. They think were lazy and pampered. So goes the story of every generation, ever.



And the news gets even worse still for males of color.

But it has also taken its hardest toll on racial minorities. Among men age 25 to 34 — the youngest group in which virtually all have completed their education — there were 1.6 percent fewer jobs for whites, 2.1 percent fewer for Hispanics, and 6.2 percent fewer for blacks.


But wait, wait, not yet finished. Los Angeles County is expecting to lose 144,000 jobs in 2009, according to a forecast from the US Conference of Mayors.

Three Strikes, and were out!

I'm really really really grateful for all that volunteering experience for the job I have now, though. With PTSP. Post-PTSP with the various community organizations in LA. I'm greatful that I even had the opportunity, and the space to do that. One of my UC-Santa Cruz friends, a guy trying to make his dent in the world of journalism, once told me that the way to get in where there wasn't a job was to volunteer. Work for free. Intern. I think it sort of paid off for me, as I end up knowing all the people in and around the organization.

I don't know how that applies across various fields, but it's stuck with me. I think it sorta works. It was a point reinforced by Will Smith's last great movie about pursuing happyness; a man on the streets and his will to survive interning at a brokerage firm's stipend, and eventually making good on it. You know, so many times, it seemed like it happened too fast. He might have changed his passion for glory in 6 months, but it didn't seem like he ever gave up on his dreams of the past. The logic behind volunteering and working your way into a job seems to be built on the premise of becoming familiar with your employer's working culture.

Seems that ultimately what prospective employers want to know is that you "fit" into your job. This idea syncs nicely with that old maxim, "it's not what you know, it's who you know." Most propsective employers have told me many times that while they were impressed by my resume, my cover letter, they ultimately did not hire me because I did not "fit."

When you volunteer (which is just ONE avenue to getting a job besides just basic, good ole-fashioned networking and schmoozing over cocktails) you possibly take away concerns of that "fit." You could show your dedication, your work ethic. As a volunteer immersed into their culture, MAYBE you won't require much orientation or training. But as a rule of thumb, I doubt there are many employers who want to invest their time and money in someone who seems like an outsider and/or is "new", especially in my field.

So, with the job market not in the favor of people of color and young people, where exactly do you go nowadays to get a job?


Film industry which was considered recession-proof has been cutting back, Microsoft laid off a bunch of people, and even super-successful companies like Sony and Google have even lost money. Even college-educated Chinese folks feel the pinch.

Despite virtually everyone having lost something, there has been growth elsewhere.

Those industries growing? Prisons and the military of course! The institutions that thrive upon providing illusions of all kinds, including that of security.

Prisons will eventually cost more than education.


The prison population has grown by 8% since 2003, to more than 173,000. But the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s budget has exploded, increasing 79% to $8.5 billion, and is expected to top $10 billion next year.


The report concluded that substance abuse treatment programs, which have cost taxpayers more than $1 billion since 1989, have had no effect on keeping people off drugs so that they don’t end up back in prison.


The average monthly salary of corrections officers has increased 57% during the current decade, to $4,959 a month, according to the department.

Sillen, for his part, has raised salaries for doctors, nurses, dietitians and X-ray technicians to fill long-standing vacancies and recruit more skilled employees. Prison pharmacists, for instance, who had earned less than half the salaries they could get outside the system, have received 64% raises to as much as $123,936 a year.

There is little sign that the growth in the prisons budget will abate any time soon. Prison healthcare spending alone has increased 263% since 2000, to $2.1 billion a year,


Awesome pay if you work within the prison system!

They seem to cost a lot for no real societally-beneficial reason, other than the fact that people make a lot of money from it.



Military getting more applications than usual.





Another lure is the new G. I. Bill, which will significantly expand education benefits. Beginning this August, service members who spend at least three years on active duty can attend any public college at government expense or apply the payment toward tuition at a private university. No data exist yet, but there has traditionally been a strong link between increased education benefits and new enlistments.


Trading your body for knowledge.

If the military nor the corrections system interests you, like just about every other Filipino you know here in the United States, you could do nursing and head into the health care industry. That's one thing that seems to be recession-durable. One of my friends who got a Sociology degree at UC-Riverside is now on track to become a nurse. She's enrolled at Los Angeles City College. One of my b-ball friends who was going to be an electrical engineer decided to switch course and become an Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN).

However, that's not all necessarily us.

I think most of us in PTSP, the Pilipino organization community, and UCLA generally really love what we do and what we study, which tends to be "impractical", "humanistic", "activist", social sciences stuff (or maybe that's just me), and we tend to follow just that. The job market tends not to smile down on those kind of activities.

I had thought that teaching would be a stable job. However, education across the board K-16 has been ravaged with LAUSD was on the verge of laying-off 2,300 teachers. Teachers! The people actually in the classroom dealing with boogery, smelly little kids. One of my cuzzos, an LAUSD teacher in Watts, says that the lay-offs would have been based on seniority, meaning that the younger folks would've ate the dust on this.

I've done the temp thing, which ranged from attending TV tapings in Studio City to scanning documents all the live long day. I would've loved to have kept on scanning documents for as long as I could to break out of my debts. Unfortunately, my main supervisor, who was kind of an idiot and smelled like she had 15 years of peanut-butter jelly sandwiches stapled to her ass, didn't seem to like me and launched me on my merry way.

There might be some hope within the green jobs industry. Obama's got the green thing going for him and is part of his proposed stimulus. All kinds of job-training and education should be in it. Apparently, 57,000 jobs can be created in National Parks alone. Interesting also is the fact that becoming an urban planner is a great practical job idea. I actually was on track to do that, but obviously I'm not a fan of practicality or stable jobs, so I've decided that I'm going to follow my nose to some kind of professorship or something.

In the meanwhile, it's writing grants, marketing, and doing numerous gigs.

Like the gig below:

Here is one opportunity from the US government that I myself will be taking. And it seems to pay decently.

The Bureau has set up a great website detailing the recruitment effort for Census enumerators. The Census enumerators are meant to go out into their communities and confirm the addresses of almost everyone. The pay is quite good and varies by the geographic location. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area the pay starts at $22.00 an hour.


Yeah, we all need a little paper to survive. The pool is crowded, folks might be drowning. It'd be cool if other PTSPers and other folks within the UCLA community would toss out some of those lifesavers around and yanked others out.

For added inspiration and to close this post out, ladies and gentlemen, Vlade Divac.

Thursday

Help Support my Lil Sister, a PTSP-bred Designer

My lil sister is a 3rd year environmental engineering student at UC-Riverside. When I was with PTSP, I made her the unofficial designer of all things Bayanihan.

She pimped out our logo.



and

our myspace.

and

She also busted the numerous iterations of SENT and SEND Flyers.







She inherited the part of my dad that does graphic arts.

Now she's on to big things. Her high school uses a design she originally made for T-Shirts in their centennial commemoration journals. She won a Chris Brown CD Cover Design contest. Her stuff is on his myspace.



And now, she just entered a UNESCO design competition. The task was to create a poster for International Mother Language Day on February 21st centered in Paris, France.

This is what she came up with.



I wrote the description.

This poster represents a visual interpretation of the quote "A different language is a different vision of life" described by linguists Benjamin Lee Whorf and Edward Sapir, anthropologist Franz Boas, and most popularly attributed to Italian movie director Federico Fellini. The iris represents a satellite view of planet Earth and is looking towards the background. In the background, the quote is translated into various languages spanning the global community: English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, French, Filipino, Italian, Japanese, Swahili, Portuguese, Greek, Russian, Romanian, and Inuit. These languages represent only a portion of the planet which reflects accordingly back on the iris; the iris contains only a partial view of planet Earth. As captured by Linguist K. David Harrison in his work "When Languages Die," "language disappearance is an erosion or extinction of ideas, of ways of knowing and ways of talking about the world and human experience." Acquisition of multiple languages enables an individual to "see the world through another's eyes." The individual is allowed a new in-"sight", a new thought, a new idea into the human condition. Without having this list of languages to look at, the iris would be staring at an empty background.

She's facing a field of 1133 other entries. If you want to help us win, you'll have to do this:

1) Go to this website.
2) Sign up (name and email)
3) Sift thru a dastardly amount of entries (1133) that are brought up in random order, paying attention when you finally do see the poster above and clicking the Green Vote button

Don't expect anyone to sit and do this because that took way too much time even for me, but just saying, just in case.

Wednesday

My PTSP Experience

Hello Hello. It's Dom again, now coming with a proper intro piece.

I transferred to UCLA in the Fall of 03 from my hometown of Salinas (Salas Represent!). I stayed at UCLA for 3 years and graduated in 06. During that time I served as PTSP Vice Chair 04-05, Academics Coordinator 05-06, SPEAR Counselor 05-06, and Education 80 Discussion Leader Fall 05.

My first year I wasn't big on extracurriculars at all. I was real focused on academics and getting good grades, plus it was just a huge adjustment coming from where i'm from. Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't a square ass book worm who didn't go out. I did my fair share of partying and chillin, I just didn't really have direction.

Towards the end of my first year I started the process of my "holistic development." The reason I put this term in quotations is because it became taboo among my fellow PTSP'ers. It gets thrown around a lot in the P org community, but in the end it's meaning rings true. Without this concept I would've graduated with no real understanding of myself, my community, and where I wanted to go.

Choosing to become involved was probably the 2nd best decision i made in my life (1st being going to UCLA). I started attending PTSP meetings during Spring qtr of my first year, and instantly found a comfort level. I had homies from the apartments, and we were real koo, but I bonded on another level with the folks I met in PTSP. Everyone was welcoming, and it was a small group as well. Samahang kind of turned me off because they were such a large group. PTSP was a nice alternative. After coming to a few meetings I knew that I had found my niche.

Vice Chair was the first leadership position I EVER held. I took the job tentatively and a bit scared, not knowing what to expect. But I put my heart into it cause I wanted to give back to the organization that opened so many doors for me. That first year on Board was an excellent excellent year. I get excited just thinking about it. We were innovators and we were taking the org to another level!! All the while I was learning about myself, about the unique experience that is the transfer experience, about the Pilipino experience, about the educational system. I was meeting new friends, and I was forging bonds with what would be my FAMILY.

So many things sprung from my involvement in PTSP. Like i said, i found my niche and i didnt want to stop there. I stayed on Board another year, I became a SPEAR counselor (which was another great experience), and I was a discussion leader for a class of great students including bball super stars Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Alfred Aboya!! (if you don't know who they are, you are not a true bruin : p). Moreover, this involvement made me realize that I wanted to work in Education, and that I wanted to serve my community.

Amidst all my other involvements, I always knew that PTSP was my heart. Reason being because they were the folks that first opened up to me, they were the folks I struggled with, and they were the folks I could relate to. They knew where i was coming from and we were all able to learn from one another. Today these people are family.

This commraderie has always been a PTSP trademark. It was the quality I always tried to exude when I was a Board member. Beyond the politics, the empowerment, the activism, is the friendship. Thats the first thing. Without it none of the other stuff will work.

Whew! so that's my PTSP experience in a nut shell. I'm glad I have a space where I can share my experience. I hope that it offers some kind of perspective to current PTSP'ers. Ilook forward to sharing more with you. I also look forward to hearing from current PTSP members. Let me know what y'all are going through. I'm sure you have much to share!

PTSP WINTER RETREAT 2009

Some pics from PTSP's winter retreat 2009 at Lake arrowhead.

























Jill Biden, Community College Advocate

Apologize in advance if this is already common knowledge, as this stuff is already in her Wikipedia. However, I feel like it should be said.

While watching the Inauguration yesterday on NBC News, the commentators made mention of Second Lady, Jill Biden's career as an academic and her role in this new administration.

Apparently, all she wants to do is continue working at the community college.

This, despite being offered positions at more "prominent, high-profile" universities. Obviously, any rational American logic dictates that she seek the creme-de-la-creme of professorships and tuck herself away in the ivory tower. But not Jill Biden, who sort of looks like the alternate universe version of John McCain's wife.

We should mother-effin' call her G-Biden because she's a G, and I definitely know one when I see one. What she's done is more or less what I'd want to do. I think.

She's had quite a history of plowing through, pushing on with her work, almost regardless of Joe's numerous campaigns for presidency and vice-presidency.

Throughout the time her husband was running for vice president, Jill Biden continued to teach four days a week at Delaware Technical & Community College during the Fall 2008 semester, and then campaigned over the long weekend, while grading class papers on the campaign bus.


And it seems like she remains adamant about keeping it that way, having authored a paper specifically about student retention at the community college. She'd be prime example of instructor retention for the community college.

While she moved to the vice presidential residence in Washington as Second Lady of the United States, she plans to continue teaching at a Washington-area community college. She has been weighing offers from institutions such as Montgomery College, Northern Virginia Community College, and the University of the District of Columbia.


Jill Biden's White House Plans


DC-Area Community colleges fighting over Jill Biden


On a side note, it's amazing how grounded Barack, Michelle, Joe, and Jill have been in their careers and throughout this campaign. From Joe's notorious Amtrak-riding days, Barack and Michelle stepping out of the limo to walk their own parade yesterday, to Jill's dogged insistence at remaining in the community college, I speak for a grip of people who really hope that this is all more than just a fa├žade.

Monday

Remember

Hello PTSP. This is Dom, Vice Chair 04-05 and Academics Coordinator 05-06. Glad to see that we are getting a lot of participation on the blog!! I'm excited!

I wanted to post about my background and experience with PTSP first, but being that it is Martin Luther King, Jr. day, I thought I'd post about that. His actual birthday is January 15th, but for some reason we don't celebrate on that day any more. So on the day we observe his birthday, I wanted to shout him out and remind people of the relevance of his work and how it relates to our work today.

Last night I saw the History Channel documentary, "KING" which "focused on the man, rather than the legend." I was really inspired by what I saw. Dr. King was passionate, and selfless about his work. He and so many other people put their heart and soul into the civil rights movement, and despite the hatred and bigotry they faced they succeeded in making progress for the people.

We are on a similar path today. Our country is restless and we are ready for a change. But it will not be easy. Obama’s campaign energized America and on the verge of his inauguration, it is crucial to look back on the civil rights movement and Dr. King's work. Theirs was a labor of love, and patience. Change was not immediate, and it came with many hardships. In a world of instant gratification, this is what we must understand. Just because Obama is in the White House does not mean things will get easier. We have to ready ourselves for the tough tasks ahead. And we have to remember that one man is not going to change things, WE all have to be part of the change.

How does this relate to PTSP? As former and current PTSP members we are agents of change. I think we tend to forget the impact we have, and can have on the community. It’s easy to lose perspective of the work we do, and our potential amidst the stresses of school, work, and life. But keep in mind that we are capable of making change.

With that said, I’ll leave you with this.


Saturday

Post-Grad De-fragging

(Note: I'm just filling the space until everyone posts, exploring the different directions to go with this PTSP blog: past memories of PTSP, academic experiences from UCLA, broader educational issues affecting community college transfers and the UC, and now this personal post-graduation de-frag.

I'm NOT going to drown out what other people have to say by making 2posts a day, so this'll be my last post till EVERYONE whose emailed me an emphatic YESSSSSS or COUNT ME IN like the vampire from Sesame Street actually starts posting on their own. I'm sick of talking, everyone else please speak up.)

It's been 2 and a half years since I got that B.A in Anthropology from UC of LA.

Every day that I spent unemployed, which has been about half the time of that 2 and a half years, there would be moments when I felt like such a motherfuckin' chump.

There wasn't a day that went by where I did not think at least one of the thoughts below: when am I going to stop being a pansy-ass and move out of this house? What kind of skills did I actually learn in 4 years of college? God, I should've stuck it out with math. God, I should've learned more Spanish. Where did all this theorizing and anthropologizing get me? Why the hell did I nail myself to such a new unproven project in PTSP Bayanihan and not get a real job and/or research experience? Where the hell are my hook-ups now? When am I just going to blast past all this shit and go to graduate school?

Things usually didn't get better hearing about how some grade and high school mates were doing awesome. One of them who was really involved in doing all kinds of crap in college and managed to stay employed, had already gone thru 3 jobs. She was some kind of auditor. One of them was a computer engineer who made almost as much as my mommy. A lot of my high school mates were in law school. Some doing other kinds of graduate school. A grip were/are in New York, Washington DC.

Meanwhile, I'm still in LA living in the incubator called my parents' house.

Inevitably in these 2 and a half years have been countless social functions with family, high school friends, and new friends, where I've had to explain myself to people.

"What are you doing now?"

"How much do you make?"

"Oh, I heard the County has great benefits!"

"Why don't you teach?"

"Why don't you look into the LAUSD?"

"Do you have a girlfriend now?"

Those days of unemployment were more of a daily grind than the time that I spent employed. Least when employed, I could mindlessly sink into a daily routine and had reason to go out and about afterward. I could confidently maintain in conversation with Acquaintence X or Sir Anonymous Muckety Muck Muck, "why yes, I do pick asses and brains for a living, ha ha ha, how 'bout yourself?"

But even though I was really anxious about being unemployed, those were very temporary. Extremely temporary. I said that I only had *moments* during the day when I'd think about all the crap that I didn't do yet. Rest of my day, I was farting out skittles and pissing out rainbows.

Cause I'd read other people's stories.

Here.

Here.

Here.

Here.

Here.

Here.

Here.

Here.

A story about a kid from Malawi building windmills from busted bicycle parts.



And last but not least a last lecture by a guy who knew he was going to die.

The History of Science and Medicine Minor at Bruinopolis

When I got to taking classes full-time at Westwood, I was heavily under the influence of this class I took at UC-Santa Cruz called "Science as Cultural Practice." It was stashed in a department called the History of Consciousness.

History in the History of Consciousness program wasn't really history in the sense of establishing dates, names, accomplishments, we just went over different topics over different time periods and more remarkably across different borders and regions.

Our reading material included a random assortment of the Rule of Experts, Maps, Tricksters, and Cartographers, and Twice Dead. The topics: the artificiality inherent in cartography and the construction of maps, brain death, the masculinity embodied within the sciences.

I was 18. Technically, the language was English, but fuck if I understood most of what my professor, my TA, or my books were saying.

Still, I knew that it was very fascinating stuff. Science six years ago and science today occupies the reverence religion seemed to have in the medieval ages. In sum, no laypeople, mere civilians, homies on the block, dare question its validities, its institutional power. Scientific findings work for our purposes, namely creating new technologies. People study hard to become scientists and we laypeople, civilians, homies are in no position to challenge their opinions.

What we were doing in this class was reversing that tide (if only temporarily and in one microfractioned space of the world). We were exposing all the artificiality, the emotions, the politics inherent within science. We were exposing the human, error-laiden side of science, that which is often ignored in popular discourse.

When I got to da school, I wanted more of that type of book-learnin' and analysis.

The closest I could find to that experience was the history of science located in UCLA's history department. Without hesitation, I took up the history of science and medicine minor.

Save for my one class called Social Knowledge and Power, appropriately enough taught by a UC-Santa Cruz History of Consciousness Ph.D., we actually talked about...the History of Science and Medicine. The history of Western science and medicine.

So, it wasn't the history of the history of consciousness. It was history of businesses and patents acting as the infrastructure to white guy creativity and geniusness. It was the history of John Snow, Conrad Roentgen, Andreas Vesalius, William James. It was history of Isaac Newton, Antoine Lavoisier, Lamarck, Chuck Lyell, Chucky Darwin. Most of these topics were the classes that sunk my GPA.

A lot of this pretty interesting in their own right, but if you're really into dead white guys, their rationality, their objectivity, and the great things they accomplished in technological history, this department is quite possibly your calling in life. Not mine.

Friday

The Summer of 2005: PTSP Bayanihan in the Community and Dreams of a Future

When I first got the position of Bayanihan Director in June '05, I was all about getting us out into the community of Los Angeles. I wanted us to build community resources unlike any other organization at UCLA.

I started with the largest, most visible symbol of Filipinos in Los Angeles - SIPA or Search to Involve Pilipino Americans. We were going to volunteer with them!

Starting with their community event, SIPA Summer!



From the left to the right (and notice whose at the very left) Pens, B-Saturday, Gelatinous Jel, YT (yours truly), Dom

I honestly expected a lot more people to show up since it was a Historic Filipinotown party and they did go to the trouble of cordoning off a block.

However, I didn't want to admit to the people with me that it was a waste of time. I really hated admitting any kind of failure back then especially in the incubator ages of Bayanihan, so I guarded against that by turning this into an opportunity to survey people about community college and education.

I figured that this was the opportunity to ask local community people about their perceptions of community college. This was when and where I began to think that we could've made a part of PTSP Bayanihan into some kind of research group.

A research group staffed full of students that PTSP would recruit into our intern program, who rather than having SPEAR and SPACE methodologies spat back at them, were engaging in the process of active student-driven knowledge creation. I thought that's where the real student power would emerge: when we began to be the ones defining knowledge. Creating it. Using it...to influence current thinking and most importantly action amongst administrators, professors, and other forms of media.

Thursday

Hola from a former PTSP-er!

Hello PTSP-ers! I'm Chiara Paz, PTSP alum from the Class of '03.  I'm quite excited to see that this phenomenal student org is still very much alive and is continuing to create a niche for Pilipino transfer students at UCLA.  Thanks to Brian for reaching out to the old timers and letting us know about this online venue.  

Let's see...for starters, let me share a little bit of my Bruin background.  I transferred in Fall '00 from L.A. City College and entered as a Psych major.  I initially thought I'd be a clinical psychologist and tried to make Franz Hall my home.  Later I realized that my calling is in education and decided to complete the Education Studies Minor & Applied Developmental Psych Minor. It made sense at that time because I planned to become a high school science teacher.  

After graduation, I took the very popular "year off" to mull over life goals, prepare for various tests like the GRE and CSET, and submit applications to different schools of education.  Like any college graduate, I needed some form/source of income and that led me to holding 4 part-time jobs located in the farthest corners of Los Angeles (all of which were education-related).  Upon realizing that my paychecks were being funneled to my Chevron gas card due to the enormous amount of driving I had to do and that I needed some form of health coverage, I began to search for one full-time job.  That's when I landed a position as a Student Affairs Officer in the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies (GSE&IS).  'Twas a credential counselor position which allowed me to work vicariously with teacher education graduate students.  Consequently, my "year off" turned into two & a half years off.  And my goal of becoming a teacher shifted to a goal of becoming a university professor.

In Fall '05, I began the M.A. program in Higher Education & Organizational Change at UCLA while still working full-time in GSE&IS.  [One tip to future UCLA employees:  the university pays for 2/3 of your tuition if you're admitted to any academic program on campus.]  I finished my M.A. in '07 and I'm now enrolled in that school across town, the name of which true Bruins dare not mention here.  I'm in my 2nd year in the Ph.D. program in Urban Education, with a concentration in Higher Ed.  [Another tip: the school across town offers full funding for 4 years.  This means that tuition is covered and students receive a monthly stipend for living expenses.] 

All that being said, I hope I can be a resource for you as you go through the ropes of being an undergrad and as you ponder post-graduation objectives.  Even though I had an inkling of what I wanted to do after my B.A., I certainly didn't have a straightforward path that led to my current graduate program.  There were many twists, U-turns, 3-point turns, somersaults, and most inevitably emotional rollercoasters too.  These twists and turns still take place until today as I figure out my dissertation topic and what I want to do with a Ph.D. in education.  I'd be happy to chit chat with you about curiosities you might have about life after UCLA or also possibly connect you with the other old PTSP fogeys who are in specific fields you intend to pursue. There are a handful of other alums from '03 and back who are still in the area and who may be able to share their insights too.  

I'm always on e-mail (chiara.paz@gmail.com) and look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday

UC Cuts Freshman Enrollment by 6%, 2,300 Students

But hold on...It's not that bad for people at UCLA, Berkeley, grad students, and transfer students.


...Enrollment would not be cut at UCLA and UC Berkeley, the most popular campuses, and expansion would continue at UC Merced, the newest school, according to the plan that is to be reviewed by the UC regents next week. The other six undergraduate campuses would see some freshman reductions.

...The number of graduate students would not change under the proposal

...The number of students who transfer from community colleges would increase by about 500, or about 3%.


UC Proposal

Not to encourage further cuts to public education, but having spent my first and second year in dorm life at UC-Santa Cruz, my friend 'Yell and I came to the conclusion that there were plenty of spaces being wasted on some utterly useless kids.

PTSP Alumni Network

Hey everyone, this is Andrew Hambre (08-09 Bayanihan Coordinator). PTSP Board was just talking about the effectiveness of this blogsite and what we wanted to get out of it. After looking at the people who are involved with the site, I thought why not make this site an open space where current PTSP members and alumni's can use to share our experiences in and out of UCLA. As a UCLA student and PTSP board member, I have questions of my future and what I am going to do after college. I don't know if I want to go to graduate school right away and looking for a long term permanent job is also not what I want to do just yet. I would like to hear to stories or experiences from PTSP alums so I can get a general idea or vision of what it's like after college. I would also like to know that there is a space where I can reach out to PTSP and share my experience after college. What do you all think? I believe having the PTSP blog be an alumni network is a good idea. Dom and Brian can you somehow reach other alums and have them join the PTSP Alumni Network blog site?

Tuesday

Perception of the Importance of a College Education

There was some food for thought I came across in last month's Public Policy Institute of California Bulletin.

In California, Latinos (84%) are far more likely than Asians (69%), blacks (63%), or whites (57%) to believe college is necessary for success in today’s work world.

Similarly, our April survey on K–12 education found that Latinos (61%) were by far the most likely racial/ethnic group to consider college preparation the most important goal of California’s K–12 public schools (31% Asians, 30% blacks, 21% whites).

Majorities in all political and demographic groups today believe that college is necessary to be successful, but this view declines as education and income levels rise, and is much lower among residents age 55 and older (57%) than residents age 18–34 (71%) or 35–54 (73%).


In other words...

The most underrepresented ethnic groups in college and in high-power influential socio-economical-political positions are more likely to believe that going to college is a key to success.

These underrepresented ethnic groups who've traditionally been thought of as any one of lazy and careless, actually believe in the value of a college education more so than people who've historically dominated the system, still do, and whose demographic is still overrepresented in the most influential parts of society.

What does that suggest?

For me it reminds me of that Everybody Hates Chris episode where Chris Rock's white Italian friend says "no matter hard I try, I just can't fail!"

Transferring and the PTSP Acronym

There is no one way to characterize my transfer experience from UC-Banana Slug to UCLA in one sentence with one emotion.

Upon typing up my application number and student ID for about the 29th time that minute, and seeing that my application was being reviewed each time, Dr. Vu Tran finally delivered me the news.

"Congratulations Brian!"

Holy shit.

My next-door dorm neighbor named 'Yell was in the room playing NBA Street 2 or something while I was checking up on my future. Once I saw that "Congratulations Brian!" at the top of the screen, any attempt to inhibit that upward-teeth-revealing crease formed by my lips was futile. Trying to hold in the smile was like the New Orleans levee system trying to stop Hurricane Katrina.

Some time later in the week, 'Yell told my other friend Joe that I was gone.

I didn't really want that to be true.

Hanging out at the dining hall, NBA Street, NFL Street, talking about the bullishtiness of everything, our [non]-experiences in the dating life, jokes and trash-talking about other people. My best buddies in my first 2 years of adult independence wouldn't be there anymore, but I guess I'd come up and visit them...and hey I'd have my family...

Little did I know at the time that the "family" I'd refer to is not the one I lived with throughout my life, but the one I formed with fellow brothers and sisters. *Hugikissiness ensues*

Then October 2004 came, Filipi-groes, I'm here. Good-bye.

Upon the first day of class, an old friend whom I will call Chiars told me to check out some other Filipino group and their welcome reception.

P-T-S-P. Wow that had to be the worst acronym I'd ever heard...definitely didn't roll off the tongue like SPACE or PREP or PIE or even PCH which at least can be referenced to a very famous highway.

But you know there was something about this organization...these people...maybe it was the fact that there was food. Maybe it was the fact that I was a transfer and well this organization dealt with transfers. Duh. Maybe it was the fact that they somehow managed to bring in all the aesthetically pleasing people together in one room. Ha. Maybe it was the fact that their Vice Chair, Dom, looked like an older computer-simulated version of the younger brother of one of my grade school classmates. Maybe it was the fact that they actually talked with me afterwards and even outside the meeting.

Even when my car wouldn't start that one afternoon after class.

Didn't know anyone, but I did know Dom and somehow he was in my cell phone directory already. Called him...The 831 area code was a reminder of the good times with 'Yell and Joe in Banana Slugland. He called a friend with a jumper cable and a car. It was all EZ like Sunday morning. Car fixed, back on my merry way.

From there began two new bro-ships, which would help spawn an intense infusion into hip-hop and hip-hop culture.

Because of this infusion, I gradually perceived the P-T-S-P acronym not as four lifeless disconnected letters, but as distinct flavorous sounds that you might start a beatbox with.

Puhhh-tssss-puhhh...Pee-tee-yess-pee

We are the only organization that has a beatbox sound as its acronym's pronunciation.

Just as hip-hop is not just a music, it's life, PTSP is not just an organization, it's life.

Me Brian J. Delas Armas. Tengo veinte cuatro anos. Born Chi-town, raised Los Angeles. Transferred from UC-Banana Slug. I graduated UC-Bruin in 2006 with a B.A. degree in anthropology and a minor in the History of Medicine and Science. Have volunteered, worked with, and derived income from nonprofits since graduation with periods of temp jobbing. Currently a grant writer, which means I like flipping and flooping the written language around and read thru tons of things every day for research purposes. Will go to graduate school for a Ph.D in cognitive and urban anthropology with interests in how we remember things, mathematics, science, and numbers in different cultures, semiotics, and the creation/destruction of public and open spaces. Beyond that, we'll see.