Yesterday, I encountered this image:
So, recently I earned a Bachelors of Science in Nursing. I didn’t have any scholarships this time. I took out student loans which I plan to pay off as quickly as possible. I wasn’t living with my parents, who have regrettably both passed. I worked my butt off for this degree. I put in long hours studying. I earned it fair and square.
Moreover, I got up off my butt and attended a job fair right before classes ended. I made the effort to dress for a potential job interview, took copies of my resume, and came home with a job offer. That’s right, my job was lined up before I even finished. Hard work paid off, right? Of course it did.
And while this is all true, it ignores certain things that are luck. I had the good luck to notice an ad on Facebook for that job fair, and more good luck that my employer was considering new grads that day. I am lucky enough to live in a city that has multiple accredited nursing programs. Through a combination of luck and work, I actually was accepted into two different programs. If I lived in a small town, I might have had to relocate to get into a nursing school. If I lived in California, I might have had more competition for a seat, and may have had to get on a long waiting list.
Those problems are relatively easy to overcome, sure. Just a little extra hard work, a little extra money, maybe a little extra time.
I am further lucky that I read and write well in English. Sure, learned skills. It turns out that I was lucky enough to be born into a middle class household in a middle class suburb that had good enough schools. My road to this place would have been more difficult had I been born into poverty, living in an inner-city neighborhood with a crappy school system. A matter of a few dollars and a few miles changed the potential course of my life.
And frankly, I was lucky enough to be born in the United States. There would be no road to where I am had I been born, for example, in Afghanistan. My educational and career opportunities in such a place would have been sharply limited.
Sociologists have a term for these little turns of luck: “life chances.” While hard work is very important, sometimes it is overwhelmed by circumstances.
Or, to put things very simply, there’s a very famous little girl named North West. It is very unlikely she will ever want for money. Hard work, or lucky enough to be born to the right family?
In Closing: Happy Thoughts of Peace for Munich; Glenn Greenwald; the TSA could use some house cleaning; yes, obesity is bad; drug tests; how sad that we need a law to enforce common sense; teen abortion; cop killers (thanks, Mikey!); unpaid internships are a bigger scam than I thought; time to rethink the War on Terror; pet adoption; senseless violence. Have a peaceful weekend, folks. It’s crazy out there.