It seems like an eternity has passed since we ended the realm of COVID. March is quickly approching and so is the 1-year mark for the day that my state's Governor called a shelter in place mandate. My University went remote. I went to doing my Gradaute Assistant duties remotely. Funding issues saw me go back to being a Student Worker remotely.
March 21, 2020 was first offical day of our state-wide stay at home order. March 18, 2020 was my last day on campus due to feeling ill the following day. I still think about the rental book that is still in limbo until they return us to our work stations. It will get back to its rightful place someday.
For the most part I have manged to do quite well with online classes. The year of being remote has seen me manage to somehow keep focus and keep my grades up. The lowest final grade of a B+ was obtained last semester. The rest have been straight A's yet the motivation is not as strong as it was when I was on campus each day working on homework and other other tasks. Understanding the material is a little harder without that in-person interaction. I see familiar names in the online class discussion forums, but it is not the same as being face to face with each of them. Discussions are harder to have when you are leaving a post rather than speaking the words directly.
Last semester was prepping for my future classes in which I will put my Master Thesis together. It is terrifyingly difficult to put togehter the bones of the paper that you will use for finalizing an education you have devoted yourself to online in the middle of a pandemic. I earned a B+ for that class. I have been modifying that paper between my online business statstics class, and my current strategic management classes assignments. I have compiled my commitee for when I do present my Masters Thesis. Once I have put the requested touches on it that my Professor requested after my final grade last semester I plan to email it to my Commitee chair and the other two members of my committee. It is a mere research proposal what the final paper will consist of. I want it to be perfection before those emails are sent. Despite wanting this level of perfection in my proposal I have what seems like ten thousand other things to do and modifying this one item must come after all of those.
Current homework with deadline, Grocery shopping, preparing meals, washing clothes, cleaning my apartment, tending to my cat, taking care of myself, doctor's appointment and so much more on are on my plate and at the main bottom of what seems to be a never-ending list of things to do is "Modify Reserach Proposal" It is not an immediate need, and has no deadline that appears to be quickly approching, but I am hyper-aware that after this semester I only like four more classes before I will be required to have it modified and be fullying engulfed in working on my Master Thesis. Needless to say I am excited, but terrified.
Why would one be terrified about coming to the end of their education and graduating with their Masters Degree. I am terrified that upon Graduation in the current economic state that I am going to struggle to find employment in my fields despite the fact that I will hold two Masters Degrees upon Graduation. I am terrified about what the future may not hold for me. I want stability like anyone else does when they are looking to enter the workforce, and yet I see my freinds who have already earned Masters Degrees struggling to find employment that is not part time.
I am set to earn two Masters Degrees by 2023. One in Public Administration and the other in Criminal Justice. My previous degrees all focus in Criminal Justice and Psychology. Many of my freinds did not go the dual degree route. They did have minor in psychology for their Undergraduate degree. They did earn a Masters of Arts in Criminal Justice. Many of them unlike myself have military backgrounds. They are still struggling to find full time work in what they hoped to obtain work in. Most of my peers unlike myself have the desire to work in law enforcement. I have been clear from the start that I do not want to work in law enforcement. This conviction of having no desire to be a police officer only grew stronger as I moved forward in my educational journey. My peers want to be federal agents, local law enforcement, and various other law enforcement related jobs. I have no such desire.
My peers have asked me many times what do I want to do with all of my education. I want to work in Administration where I can systemically make a difference. This is not to say that Law enforcement does not make a difference at a certain level, but those who work within Administration give directions to those who oversee law enforment officers. In considering this, I see that Administration is the way to make the biggest systematic impact even if it is not apparent on the outside looking in. I am not sure if my peers think I am serious in my logic. I am dead serious.
A police officer enforces the laws as does federal agents and others whom are to act in a police function. Those who are put in the postion to enforce laws are put there by those with the Administrative power to do so. Administrators can also remove bad actors from their duties and strip their polcing power. Administrators have the ability to have bad actors legally charged for their misdeeds while acting as law enforcement. Administrators can ensure that those who break the rules, hurt citizens, kill citizens and abuse their power are stripped of their ability to do so, and face charges for doing so. Administrators can help obtain procedure changes, get new laws passed, Ensure that new training procedures are mandatory, work towards obtaining better programs for the community and much more. Individuals working in law enforcement roles that take on a polcing role generally can not, no matter how much they desire too. This is not to say that they will not be a catalyst for change. They just will not have the larger systematic impact that those in Administration can and do have.
I want foster systematic change within our broken system. I want to move things foward to a better way of doing things. I want to work towards systematic change that ensures that fear is erased from People of Color when they have interactions with law enforcement. I want to be part of the reason that People of Color can feel safe in their interactions with any type of person acting in a polcie capacity. I want to foster the systematic change that should have been our reality the entire time. I am terrified that I may not get a chance to work towards this. I want to be part of a solution that I an not sure how to be a part of. I am willing to admit that I am terrified but the terror I feel is a propelling me to keep moving towards my goals. The terror I feel is nothing compared to the terror I have felt coming from my boyfreind when he has had interactions with the police. My terror is not equal to the fear he gets in his eyes when he sees the police at the train station. My terror does not even compare to his when I have to steady him with a firm hand on his shoulder so he does not run at the sight of the police. The survival instinct he has built as a Hispanic man when dealing with the police is to avoid them as much as possible, run at the slightest chance of interaction with the police. Now that he is no longer able to run quick enough to get away it is to lie down on the ground and yell "I am disabled!, I am uarmed! Hands are Up!" That is a terror I have never felt. I want to to be the reason that this terror is no longer there for anyone. I can not do that working as a police officer. I have more of chance of being the change I hope to see by being the Administrator that helps foster changes in educational requirements for officers, changes in training and protocol, and if all else fails the Administrator who ensures that those who act in improper ways to induce fear face the consequences.
I know my future hopes are huge. I know I may not obtain them all. I damn well can try. If I obtain them and leave a good mark on the world then when my time comes after the end of my journey on this planet I will be happy.