Was Traveling Three Miles Worth It?

The way education is perceived has drastically changed. The gap between the less fortune and the elite is a major concern that affects our education system.  This gap causes insecurities, as well as, success for those who are able to come across it.  In the podcast “Three Miles,” Lisa and Angela, two teachers, believed that their students should come together and learn about the differences in each others school.  Although their idea worked, there were some results that affected a student named Melanie.  

Melanie, a student at University Heights High school, was devastated after seeing Fieldston, an elite private school.  It was what she had dreamed of.  Melanie loved reading and was an intelligent student.  She was so disheartened after seeing this elite school that all she said was “we’ve got to get out of here.”  Melanie felt like she didn’t belong there.  She felt like a “ratchet-ass girl from the hood.”  She also explained that there is a racial gap saying that the students at Fieldston “were just a sea of white, blonde, blue-green eyes.”  Her race and her social status made her feel unwelcomed and hopeless.

The insecurity she had caused her to believe that the elite colleges wouldn’t even consider her.  Even though her intelligence got her a Posse scholarship, she became selfish and only went after the one college she had always wanted to go to.   The college she wanted to go to, Middlebury, rejected her and it tore her life.  She felt that if she didn’t get into Middlebury, she wasn’t smart.  Instead of applying to other colleges, she decided to not go to college at all.  Now she regrets not going to college.

Jonathan,  as opposed to Melanie, never really saw college as anything important.  He was a foster child and always thought that his experience in cleaning wouldn’t help him in college.  Just like Melanie, Jonathan felt devastated after seeing Fieldston.  He felt like that was where all the rich people went and he didn’t belong there at all.  His girlfriend, Raquel saw that he had the intelligence and potential to go to college.  Jonathan did end up getting a full scholarship to the college he wanted to go to.  The pressure of being the “only black guy,” not having the money to buy books, and the insecurity that college wasn’t for him caused him to flunk out.  

Raquel, on the other hand, went to college.  Even though, she struggled and was in the same situation as Jonathan she seemed to manage.  This is because she valued education. She graduated and became a teacher.  Although,  she wasn’t as smart as other kids she proved that she can become successful.  Raquel also believed she didn’t deserve it because her parents weren’t educated and they didn’t have money.  Through hard work, she finally accepted the fact that she truly did deserve it.  

Success isn’t granted.  You have to work hard for it.  Don’t let anyone or yourself let you down like Melanie and Jonathan, but focus and put effort and you’ll find a way out.  Just like Raquel succeeded, anyone can.  At the end of the day race and social class doesn’t matter as much as dedication and effort does.  


Do you think insecurities or people demoting you come in the way of education?
How can we improve or change the way education is perceived for a low income student? High income student?

Works Cited

Glass, Ira. “Transcript.” Home. WBEZ, n.d. 13 March 2015  Web. 25 Sept. 2016. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/550/transcript
Glass, Ira. “#550: Three Miles.” SoundCloud. n.d. 13 March 2015 Web. 25 Sept. 2016. https://soundcloud.com/danica-savonick/550-three-miles

7 thoughts on “Was Traveling Three Miles Worth It?”

  1. Great post, I thought that the podcast put an unsettling light on a sad reality in todays world. I found it to be extremely that such a gifted student such as Melanie was built up and supported so much only to be knocked back down by the college admissions process. It really was unfortunate to see that someone who was regarded so highly was working in a supermarket and going to class part time on and off. It was even worse seeing that Melanie was not alone at all, with a lot of students from her school going off to college only to drop out. It was very unpleasant to think about how even the students who do graduate and come from a low income background feel like they don’t deserve the opportunities that they earned, which was pointed out to be a lifelong issue. Insecurities affect students on a daily basis, from the clothes they wear to the family history which they come from. In this case, it was the insecurity of their backgrounds as these children of lower income upbringings are placed in an environment almost exclusively comprised of wealthy and privileged students. This is the unfortunate reality of private schooling, because generally the more expensive private schools are almost entirely filled with students from wealthy background. When a gifted student of a lesser background enters this environment, they instantly feel unworthy or out of the loop, and can cause them to lose hope in furthering their education.

  2. You explained the blog really well! It is sad how the three people Melanie, Jonathan, and Raquel dropped out of college due to differences. I agree that a private school may have looked better than a public school but they let that fact get into the way of their education easily. Melanie was smart enough to receive a Posse scholarship although she did not put that to good use. As you said in your blog, “…she became selfish and only went after the one college she had always wanted to go to”. She also felt out of place from the private school because it was filled with white people of green or blue eyes. Jonathan also did not put his intelligence to full use. He flunked out of college because of the color of his skin which is totally wrong. Because if he got a full scholarship then why did he choose to not take it? It was good that Raquel took full use of the education she was receiving. She managed even though her boyfriend could not, which is good. Everyone should do that; they should not let something as little as racial or status differences come in the way of their road to success. Three miles should not block anyone from their goals.

  3. Hi Sumaiya, thanks for your blog.
    I definitely agree with you – success of not granted. Raquel is a perfect example of that. She portrays the one who made it, the one who pulled through, the one who defied all odds and succeeded in college and securing for herself a career. She was never told that she would be the greatest nor was she selected by her teachers for her brilliance and intellect. She struggled and persevered and ultimately made it to where she wanted to be.
    You ask whether insecurities can affect education. We clearly see form the example of Jonathan that this can be the case. For somebody who won a full scholarship to a fantastic college only to flunk out because he didn’t really believe in himself has very much to do with the the fact that his foster mother was always putting him down. If success isn’t guaranteed and we must work at it to achieve, how much more difficult will it be when being told time and again that you cannot possibly make it?
    However, the truth is that too much praise can also be problematic. This can be seen in the case of Melanie who was told over and over that she was a prodigy and that she was destined for greatness. However, when things didn’t work out exactly as planned, we all know what happened to Melanie…

  4. Great job, Sumaiya! Your post was very well organized and narrowed down all the concrete details in the podcast well. I definitely agree with your personal input at the very end of your blog post. Succeed comes hand in hand with hard work. If you’re not struggling, you’re not succeeding. It’s all about challenging yourself. Instead of encouraging yourself to quit after you fall, students need to get right back up and fight back. For instance, Raquel did not give up. After she got eliminated from the Posse rounds, she could’ve easily thrown away every other opportunity. She did not. She got up and applied to other schools, which ultimately got her a scholarship to Bard College. A perfect example of falling down and staying down is Melanie. It’s very saddening to know that students with such potential feel low about their educational worth. Even Raquel, who graduated and is now a teacher, admits to thinking about how she does not deserve the salary that she does. As you stated, wealth and background should not determine your worth in education in particular: “At the end of the day race and social class doesn’t matter as much as dedication and effort does.” Keep pushing forward!

  5. That was a great post Sumaiya you covered a lot of the topics that were discussed in the podcast. One of the things that you said i disagree with though. You said that Melody got selfish and only went after one of the colleges that the posse scholarship could of helped her apply for. Also she never did achieve the posse scholarship because she got “voted off the island” in the last round of the posse decisions.

  6. I really liked Raquel’s Example, and that’s the reality that I would like to see on every student from a low socio economic status. What should really matter is the vision for the future. The present is here and there is nothing to do about it, but, we have the power to build our future and create an amazing path to success. If we stick on our current situation we are letting life to pass on and for sure, it will be late when we realize the great opportunities that we had and we did not take advantage of. Also, if we let our insecurities to take over us, we will never be able to see the promising future that we can have.

  7. We all know that there are gaps between people from rich class and poor class in this society, but we should realize that this kind of gap is also exists in school. Melanie was a smart student from a public school; she saw the gap after visited an elite private school, she felt unwelcomed and hopeless and even didn’t feel any confident after Middlebury rejected her. I think if she didn’t give up at that time, tried to apply for other college and get higher education, she won’t work in the supermarket today, but time can’t go back. Another student Jonathan wasn’t smart as Melanie but she had a better future than Melanie. The only reason was she valued education and worked hard. The social class is not an excuse when you don’t try some hard working, it doesn’t matter if you believe in yourself and try to work hard.

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