Volume 47, Number 13 - March 1, 2010


About the Reporter

Andrea Orellana
Andrea Orellana
Opinions Editor


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Opinion Opinion

Picture of genie lamp
Illustration by Lazaro Gamio

The government genie: Pell grants grant many wishes

By Andrea Orellana
andrea.orellana001@mymdc.net

Many students will tell you that one of the biggest advantages of going to a college like Miami Dade is the “free money”. Of course it’s not really free; like anything else that comes from the government, it doesn’t actually come from the government but from your parents’ paychecks.

Still, the quarterly bursts of unearned cash burns proverbial holes in many pockets. $50 here and there for a metro pass, a used book or three at the beginning of each semester, maybe a monthly cell phone payment; all these costs are nothing in comparison to all the frivolous things our young minds convince us we need to buy.

An  elaborate rock band simulator, a couple of snazzy pair of jeans, seasons of Scrubs on DVD, a pricey dinner for a sweetheart; the percentage of our refund money that actually goes toward something school-related is unimpressive, or rather, impressively minute.

In fact, the percentage of money spent eating on campus in a single semester is probably higher than that of anything else purchased for or on school.

What is it that makes so many of us allocate our refund money so unwisely? Is it the little kid in all of us that seems to be set free by the power of green; is it, perhaps, an act of rebellion against our “dependant status” on parents’ taxes?

I know the first thing I did when I got my first refund was spend $1 on a Tibetan bracelet on eBay just because I could and then immediately after, I ordered delivery; It felt as if something had been unleashed and my ability to own was no longer inhibited. Of course I could have afforded spending a single dollar before I got my refund, but knowing that there was a lot more where that came from made the purchase special.

Is it possible that the reason we spend so ignorantly is due to the fact that maybe all we’re looking for is a sort of materialistic dominance and a false sense of id-generated satisfaction?

Maybe we define ourselves too fervently by what we own and leap at a chance to make a statement, if only to ourselves, with the money the government so kindly “grants” us.

Maybe it’s just really nice to have a Scrubs box set or two.

A word to the wise: venture away from a Walgreens when you’ve got a heavy MDC OneCard in your wallet. When you’re intoxicated on free money, no amount of singing bass fish will seem enough.


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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin,
disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, or genetic information. Contact the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs/ADA Coordinator, at 305.237.2577 for information.