Friday, March 12, 2010
Living A Life With Gratitude And Purpose
I have been thinking a lot lately about the people:
(a) with whom I am friends
(b) with whom I am affiliated and/or work
(c) with whom I wish to be connected
I have an amazing circle of close friends as well as a wonderful family. Moreover, I have developed strong relationships with countless people via social media. Like my close friends, they are dotted across this entire world and are precious gifts to this particular moment in time in which we all find ourselves. Moreover, these connections aren't restricted to exchanges via Facebook, email, etc. In fact, before I left I met a number of people who are big supporters of my work (i.e., my writing, my research, and of course my advocacy work). In addition, these supporters are all amazing people who have become enormously involved with this amazing, loosely-connected (yet strong and ever-growing) grassroots movement. These individuals understand the enormous ramifications of what has become of higher education vis-a-vis the student lending crisis. They know that higher education is now part of a complex web of absolute injustice. This injustice was created by:
(1) student lending industry,
(2) the U.S. Government (and until they truly offer solutions to the problem, they remain blameworthy),
(3) the Colleges and Universities,and
(4) the anemic organizations who claim to be supporters of students.
Like me, these wonderful supporters aren't involved in this political activity for personal reasons (though we have all become acquainted as a result of being part of the indentured educated class), but instead they have committed themselves to the cause because they understand the classic idea of what it means to be an engaged citizen. We're doing this for collective reasons.
Since we're all educated in various and wonderful ways, these individuals have offered their talents and skills to raise awareness about the student lending crisis. For instance, a fantastic graphic designer recently offered to create a logo pro bono! Then there are the three fabulous documentarians out in L.A. whom I met with the night before I left the country. I was thankful for their company on that final evening in the grand U.S. (how I do miss it!), as well as their continued commitment to this cause. One of them has already put out an amazing short - it's interviews with me and also provides resources for student loan debtors. There are the therapists, the doctors, the attorneys, the artists, the architects (Jp - I wouldn't forget that category!), the academics, etc., etc. - and while I wish I had met these amazing folks under different circumstances, I am so glad they are a part of my life. Indeed, so many of them play a major role in my everyday life activities, and that makes me most grateful.
I'd also like to mention a very noteworthy person in this post, Mr. Raymar Hampshire. It is an honor and a privilege to be connected to Raymar. He is a model citizen, and his organization, SponsorChange.org, exemplifies that fact. Along with his brother, Dr. Robert C. Hampshire, and an amazing team, Raymar is making a difference for student loan debtors.
Recently, Raymar endorsed me on LinkedIn. It is an honor and a privilege to have received these remarks (I am so glad to be an affiliated partner of SponsorChange.org):
“It is my pleasure to recommend the work of Chase Cryn Johannsen. Through her work, she has assisted our organization by tenaciously advocating for student loan debt relief for millions of U.S. citizens. This partnership has allowed SponsorChange.org to focus directly on our mission of rewarding student loan payments for individuals who complete service at non-profits while also remaining informed on the national conversation on student loan policy. Overall, I have been impressed by her strategy of organizing both an online and offline movement that is increasingly influencing student loan policy reform.”
So, I'd like to publicly thank Raymar, and also let all of you know how much your hard work and involvement with the student lending crisis means to me.
I have a tendency to "overthink" things (if that's possible), but the last few days has allowed me to really think about the people in my life and why they matter. They are people who are:
(d) concerned citizens
And, most importantly, (e) their lives are informed by goodness and deliberation.
By way, that's just the short list.
So, tonight, friends, I am feeling enormous gratitude. Thank you. I should also note that that goes for the nation of South Korea. I am most grateful to have a job here, and my students are amazing - they are inspiring, smart, and kind. So, thanks to you, South Korea, for providing me with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to teach your best and brightest children.