Project Dissertation

I moved to this fabulous city three years ago mainly to; be near an airport for travel, be able to not trade my stilletos for trainers, and to finish my doctoral studies in four years. Yes, that pretty much sums up my priorities at 30. So now I am ABD with nine months to go and San Francisco is no easy city to ignore. Although, I would argue that each experience that deters my academic writing is really just needed inspiration. Welcome and I hope you enjoy...

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Bilingual, Bicultural, and Dual Citizen. J School B.A., M.A. in High Incidence Disabilities, & ABD in Education.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Urban Warriors

A mother came to campus for a meeting today. Walking down the hall her daughter introduced us. I helped the mother prepare some tea and walked her into the conference room where the meeting would take place. In about 10 minutes I learned more than any report I had read. "I come from a family of nurses. I guess being a San Francisco native it might seem weird, but I decided I wanted to devote my life to being a mother and a wife. My husband died of cancer 8 years ago, I never really had a plan B. My eldest son is away at college in Arizona. I was diagnosed with Lupus in February. I am one class away from being a phlebotomist. They say the track marks from all the treatment will go away. Sometimes I think people look at me and think I am just another Junkie." Her daughter, lost a father at two and is dealing with an ill mother at 10, yet all you hear about are her difficulties in school.

On the flipside I accompanied a 10th grader on a campus visit. Cut quickly through the fact that, "no we do not have an appointment, are you very busy today?" A phone call later we were received warmly by the parent resource liaison, that handed us pamphlets on the school then called the student tour guide. The student tour guide did a great job. Took us into the 'college room,' where banners lined the walls. I introduced myself to the counselor and said the visiting student was interested in nursing, so hopefully he could help her with that. Then I asked our tour guide, "what about you? What do you want to study in college?" The counselor had no clue and chimed in, "yeah, what do you want to do?" Law, she said. I remembered reading about the Law emphasis in the pamphlets and said, "oh, she should be in the Law Academy, right?" She didn't even know they had one. When we walked by the Law classroom, I realized they would not be doing outreach, as it was quite full and frankly not diverse. Before we left I gave her my pamphlet, "here girl, you need to get yourself into this honey. They take you on fieldtrips to law schools, link you to a mentor, and give you a paid summer internship." I wondered if the campus would be a good fit, if they would help her pursue her dreams of being a pediatric nurse, knew she did not have a mother or father that would advocate for her, made a mental note to talk to her case worker.

Back on campus another 10 year old had been referred to the office. He has had ongoing difficulty and a recent trauma. I listened when he spoke, "Ever since I was born, things have gotten slimier. I feel like a little worm, climbing up a mountain. Worms can't do that, they can't get to the top of the mountain. That is how I feel, like a worm trying to make it up that mountain. Its impossible!"

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