University of Illinois at Chicago (Paulina)

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    Jumping Through Hoops

    By Paulina
    Jan 25, '05 12:49 PM EST

    It looks as if my trip for New Zealand has a greater and greater chance of happening. I have approached my company in an attempt to gain sponsorship and have spoken to several professors about various "earth-first" businesses to which I can pitch my ambition. I have one donation made and am keeping my fingers crossed that the owner of my firm will be willing to foot a large bill because of the reason that we are a 100% minority owned firm and we have a long history of contributing for non for profits and charities. Plus it is tax deductible to the business/individual.... Actually if anyone who comes across this would like to donate dowward this excursion, please let me know.

    What I am involved in, is a international student volunteer program, which will take me for month into the South Pacific, working with the native Maori peoples, building small facilities and being involved in community development. At the rate that I have been pushing this, I am fairly optomistic this will happen and I will be able to take this opportunity. Even If I have to pay for it... somehow.

    At concern here is my attempt to take advantage of the Barcelona program offered by my school. I was supposed to graduate with my Master's program this upcoming April, but becaue of my legal issues finally falling into place i.e. becoming a resident of the United States, I accepted the idea of extending myself an extra year in order to be able to travel abroad and study. The only issue at stake is the money, which unlike the New Zealand trip offers no non for profit, tax deductible sponsorships. Loans seem to be the only way to go for me right now, which is frustrating. The last 7 years of my education I have worked so I could maintain myself outside of debt and avoid being committed to a particular place once I am finished with the academics. Scholarships are also an option, however as a grad student almost all scholarships out there require a certain level of committment to research or dissertation following the year after... That doesnt necessarily support the sort of freedom I am working towards attaining and my ambition to provide my architectural knowledge and service to various organizations across the world once I am finished. How unglamorous I know, but Id rather be poor and travel and provide the needy then be defined by the crease of the starchy collar...

    For the first time in my life, I am becoming fully aware how money, or lack thereof defines opportunities and limits social class. Ive always worked to support myself and pay out in cash but it seems in order for me to transcend into the next level of challange of my personal goals I need to find a way to either go around the obstacles or work that much harder to get through.....

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