Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I had another thought

This is about abortion again. It'll be shorter, hopefully. I just had a thought about it.

If somebody were to come up to me and say "you are literally the only person in the whole entire world who can save me from my debilitating disease, but I require access to your body and its resources for 9 months. This will be invasive, painful, and dangerous, but I am a famous violinist/heart surgeon/other thing that is good for society and you can save me" I can still say no.

Now, that person is a person. And I can still say no to them. So to me, changing the personhood of fetuses doesn't DO anything. Even if that fetus is classified as a person, they're still asking for use of my body and resources for 9 months, and it will be invasive, painful, and dangerous for me. And yet to some people, that's okay, but so is me saying "no" to the first guy.

For all intents and purposes, these two are the same. Persons (for this example). They have potential- heck, one has even already proven their potential. And you know what else they have in common? Even if the use of my body is the only thing that can keep them alive, I still don't owe it to them. I can still say no in both cases and that is ok. Because I, like both of them, have bodily autonomy. They're in positions of dependency by chance, i.e., they can't survive without the use of someone else's body. But nobody has to provide them with that body.

This is the same principle behind why people aren't required to donate blood or organs. We all get assigned a body by chance (and have created a system wherein some bodies are more valued than others, which is pretty fucked up), but there are still moral laws that say "this body is yours to do with as you please, provided you can support yourself."

This also means that if I was that person who needed the use of one person's body to stay alive, I might be little miffed at them if they said no, but I'd have to accept it and move on. Their bodily autonomy is more important. Besides, if the procedure might kill them (the "savior") too (which is true of pregnancy! It's very dangerous), then I mean I REALLY can't blame them.

This is what pisses me off about pro-life. It's like, oops, something happened that was beyond your control and now you're in a potentially life-threatening situation that requires your constant attention and vigilance in addition to use of all your body and resources? Sorry, but you're not allowed to get out of that shit. And that, to me, is just fucked up. You can't just go putting people in that position without their consent. That's not okay- that is morally and ethically questionable. Far more so than terminating a pregnancy.

Still my favourite comment on the issue- "Nobody has the right to use anybody else's body without their consent." I like this because a) it applies to more than just abortion, and b) it's gender neutral. It's such a great statement.. I just wish I could remember where I'd found it.

yer pal,

Monday, September 29, 2014


I was talking to Ptarckas about this today after I got a B+ on a presentation/essay (I'm not sure if it was for both or for one, but either way it's pretty good) and I started thinking about what GPA that B+ will convert to, and I think it's around 3.

To begin, there are a few things I think I could do with this degree I'm pursuing
1) Go into a professional program (medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, education, nursing, etc)
2) Go to graduate school
3) Attempt to get work experience so that I can get a job later (via internship program at my uni)
This is really all I can see coming out of a BSc in biology. I don't know what the fuck else to do with it. Professional, research, or some kind of career... which I would probably need at least a graduate degree to go farther in. I don't think there's actually much I can do with my degree on its own, it's more of a building block.

The problem, per se, is that I need it to be a good building block. I know that to get into grad school, I need a GPA of at least 3.0 for my last 60 credits or something and then probably letters of reference and stuff. For professional programs, I'm of the impression that I need good grades, volunteering hours, and work/research experience. Which is a lot to balance at once. For work experience, I need to have a good resume and then good interview skills and obviously, an employer willing to hire me. My position as a general student doesn't help that, unfortunately, but I can't even apply to that until next year so if I find something I want to specialize in in the meantime, I guess I can do that.

Today was just a bunch of worrying what if based on that B+. What if my grades aren't good enough to get into grad school? What if I can't get an internship? What if I can't get into a professional program (should I choose to go that route)? It just worries me that I could theoretically fail at all of these options. I could theoretically not go anywhere with my life.

I mean, this is a narrow and limited view, probably because I'm young and inexperienced. But it seems to me that I don't have something I can fall back on- some kind of career or experience or SOMETHING that it would be really, really hard for me to fail at.

That's how I got through IB for a large part- I knew that I'd already been accepted to a university and that even if I bombed all my IB exams, I'd still go to university. It really took the pressure off, although I still put pressure on myself to do well, study hard, etc. And I did pretty well on my exams in the end.

I just feel like now I have to put so much pressure on myself, and I have to be competitive, too. Sometimes it feels like I'm battling hundreds or thousands of other people for the same positions and jobs, that there are a whole bunch of other people in my field who want the same things I do and who are willing to work harder than me to get them.

Every time I don't do all the extra practice questions, I feel like shit about myself. Like with biology this semester, there are peer assisted learning sessions every week I can go to, but I never really feel like I need to. So far I feel like I understand everything, that I have a good grasp on all the material, I just need to review it because we learned some of it weeks ago already and I need it to be fresher. But it all makes sense to me (and labs have helped). So to me, going to these PAL sessions would be a waste of time. I already understand things, I'll go to a session when I don't understand something. But when I don't go, I constantly feel like going would have helped anyway, but I don't want to bother to put in the effort (the only one I can attend cuts into my lunch on Wednesdays).

I guess I'm just worried that I won't ever get anywhere. Especially because I'm lazy today, I don't feel like doing anything at all, and yet I have a midterm on Wednesday and a paper to organize and a lab tomorrow and I just don't want to do any of it.

Hopefully over thanksgiving I can get a bit of a break. That way I also don't have to pack heavy textbooks in my suitcase for the trip home...

And I mean, realistically, I know that things will work out somehow. Some way, somehow. As long as I keep trying and don't give up, I'll find a career I enjoy, and maybe it will be many careers, but I'll be okay. Besides, like I said, I'm young and inexperienced, so I should probably take myself with a grain of salt right now.

yer pal,

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Summer thoughts

Summer was decidedly Not Fun.

I know this because a) I put a lot of posts on here with very clear themes of "running away" and "I'm really sad all the time" and b) because I listened to Beyonce's new CD a lot this summer and so now those songs are tied up with the emotions I was experiencing, and listening to them again brings those feelings back very clearly.

Remembering summer is painful. I constantly felt Not Good Enough and then Not Happy Enough and the two feelings built off each other and spiralled. I wasn't good enough at my lab job. I wasn't good enough at staying in touch with people. I wasn't good enough at spending time with my family. I wasn't good enough at staying healthy (seriously I went through a bag of bulk barn chocolate pretzels every week, and my workout attempts didn't last very long at all). I just Wasn't Good Enough. Everything sucked. My memories of summer, unfortunately, are all tainted with this feeling, even though I had good days.

I had days where I went to see friends, where I came home late and nobody cared, where Freckles and I hung out and watched movies. where I saw friends I hadn't seen in a long, long time. Where I biked around and felt freer, where I worked out and my mood improved, where I drove around listening to loud music. But I also remember having a lot of bad days. I remember every day being a bad day. I was too hot, I had uncontrollable rage at other drivers for the tiniest of mistakes, I was simultaneously mad at other people that had booked the dark room so I couldn't get into it at the time I needed, but also get mad at myself for not figuring out when I'd need it sooner, or showing up earlier. I remember a lot of skype calls with Ptarckas, in which our relationship felt very different to how it does now. I remember eating a lot of chocolate pretzels and dill pickle chips. I remember a lot of mom-comments about my weight, I remember a lot of feeling guilty for wanting to be by myself after work, I remember a lot of bike rides and workouts that were the only things that made me feel good about my life.

I also remember specific events. I remember the two times Vince and I actually ate lunch together, and the time I saw her and Lucy before heading back to school. I remember going to the park with my sister and swinging on the swings and feeling good about life. I remember driving out to an interview at a lab for a job I wasn't going to get, but that had the prettiest commute ever, all mountains behind prairies and endless blue sky (ironically, I was listening to "Blue" on the Beyonce CD for the first time on that drive, so now the song and the experience are connected). I remember how much my knees hurt after one bike ride. I remember the weekend Ptarckas came to visit, a happy spot even though it was severely marked by Parental Comments. I remember being at the cabin and how desperately hot it was, and how fun it was when Freckles had friends out there, and how much the trip to the states for back to school shopping sucked because it meant mom got to make comments about the size of the jeans I tried on, leaving me crying in the changeroom.

All of these memories lead to one thing for me: I do not want to go home next summer. I can't. What if it turns out the same way last summer did? The endless heat in my long pants that were proper lab attire, the endless feeling dragged down and sad, the endless irritation at pointless things, the endless, the endless, the endless. I don't want to go back. I can't figure out WHY.

Maybe part of it is the alone time. Here, I see people at school, I come home, I do homework, I go down for dinner to chat, I come back up. Heck, I didn't even go down for brunch today, and I haven't seen my roommate at all. I've spend basically the entire day alone and I feel fine. I hang out with friends sometimes. I come back when I want, I sleep when I want, I slack off when I want, I study where and when I want. And I study, god I've missed that. There is something nice about school that I didn't get from work, although part of that was that work was the same thing I'd been doing for the past two summers and I was bored- the days in the lab where I did new things were always the most interesting and the ones where I felt the least sad.

I think there's a certain sense of independence here too. I get myself to class on time, on foot or with public transportation, I arrange my schedule, I am in charge. At home I always felt like I couldn't go out after 10 because my parents would wake up if I opened the garage door and also they'd want to know where I'd be going even though I was legally old enough not to have to tell them that. But hey, they still pay for my car insurance, so I guess I shouldn't really push it. Thank god, too, because being in my car used to be a safe space for me, one where I could cry and be alone and not want to ever go inside the house where god forbid I would have to interact with somebody.

The problem is... I'm pretty certain I could get a lab job at home next summer. I went in for an interview-type-thing last summer, and they told me they couldn't offer me a job since I'd applied so embarrassingly late, but that if I applied on time next year there was a fairly good chance- the offer had sounds of certainty to it, and it was at a good lab, and I think a government one as well. A government job is a Big Fucking Deal, and I'd be an idiot not to consider the fact that I have a good shot at getting a government job- I've talked to 3 people there who have labs, they all have my resume, and I've got good past lab experience in addition to a good academic standing and ... well, I don't know if high school actually matters now, but volunteering and the IB program on there as well. Which makes me think I could get a lab job HERE if I tried. And maybe I should try. But the problem is that staying here over the summer is expensive, and my parents would get sad and my sister would get sad and they'd all family-guilt-trip me into coming home because they miss me. And yeah, I miss them too. My sister in particular, because ... well, I guess we kind of drifted apart as we got older, but I like to think there's still something there, some kind of magical sister friendship bond that we have. I'm a shitty sister, and I know it, but I still love her and do like spending time with her. Also, I worry about her way more than I should b/c she IS old enough to be ok, but still. I worry. It's my job. It's how I am. With me gone from the house, what sibling will look out for her? Let's be honest, we all know it isn't my brother, based on past entries (the fb thing still has not caused any tension. We'll see what happens at thanksgiving). I still love him, but god, I really don't like him.

I just have conflicting feelings about going home. The lack of alone time and independence (and also Uni Friends and Boyfriend) leads to a lot of sad for me, but not going home would feel weird, and I'd feel terribly guilty about it.

In short: I'd like to go home for the summer, but not if it's going to be like last summer. I still have until December/January to make decisions about employment (where do I apply? If I get in to certain places, where do I accept the offer? How does that work out for me?)

Anyway. I texted my dad about it (I will text mom, but I am not texting her first because dad this summer actually said that he was sure I wouldn't come home for the summer at some point because he stopped doing that, so I think he'll react to it better), we'll see what he says.

yer pal,
swegan :/

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Pay Gap

What really bugs me is when people say "no it's not that women are paid less, women just choose to go into lower paying careers."

Okay, fine. Why do women choose that?

In a society that didn't influence people to choose a career based on their gender, you'd expect to see about equal numbers of men and women in high and low paying fields. And that would probably even out the pay gap a little bit. But you don't see that. And don't you dare tell me it's just "biology"- the existence of some men and some women in low and high paying positions, respectively, tells me that people are perfectly capable of performing either kind of work, regardless of their gender or sex.

So maybe women do get paid the same as their male counterparts, when you look at it individually. I can't know that for sure. But what I'm sure anyone can see is that engineering is still "a guy thing" while you see women majoring in arts classes all the time (not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just that based on my life experience, arts graduates make less than engineering graduates), and while female enrollment is increasing for medical school, you still don't see a lot of women in really technical fields like physics, computing, or math. Why is that? It's obviously not because women aren't smart enough, and if you try to tell me THAT, I will kick you in the shin. No. There's got to be some underlying reason why the numbers of men and women in fields like physics aren't equal.

And furthermore, if the numbers of men and women in those fields are equal, why aren't we talking about it?

I just find it hard to believe that the pay gap is solved by "people of different genders choose different career paths." That certain explains why the overall average for women might be lower than the overall average for men, but then you have to go deeper: why is that a fact?

I realize this post is limited because when I talk about high and low paying fields I am thinking in terms of university degrees. This is the environment I was raised in and it's extremely limited and obviously just one piece of a much larger puzzle. But it's all that I know, so it's all I feel I can contribute to the discussion. To talk of career paths that don't involve this would involve a lot of research for me which I currently don't have the time to do, since I'm lucky enough to be pursuing my own university education.

yer pal,