“Like some kind of particularly tenacious vampire the short story refuses to die, and seems at this point in time to be a wonderful length for our generation. It’s a perfect length to read on an iPad, your Kindle or your phone.”—Neil Gaiman, interview with BBC
I’ve been thinking about writing this all last night. You are too young to feel stuck - don’t give up on your dreams. Please. Do. Not. Settle. You have talent - not too many high school teenagers have the experience and talent you do. Don’t give up. “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” ~Les Brown
I am not sure what is making you hold yourself back - if it’s money, know that lots of schools give tons of money (need-based and merit-based) and as far as debt goes, student loan debt is worth every penny. If it’s something else, know that college is an experience that you will never regret. I paid my way through college (mostly with scholarships and loans) and though I’m still paying it off, I would not take it back for the world.
I went to a (very) small (<2,500), private school in the middle of Indiana, called DePauw University. For me, it was the perfect place - small (my biggest class had maybe twenty people in it - my smallest class had a total of five). It is academically challenging, incredibly supportive (financially and academically) and far enough from home that I felt AWAY and on my own. It has a very active extra-curricular community, and, I believe, is VERY tolerant (the new president is the first openly gay man to serve in that position). There are lots of international students and students from almost every state, and there are fabulous opportunities to study abroad. It is a common thing to go to your professors’ houses for dinner. Nobody I knew paid the full tuition - everyone got some kind of aid, and the connections you made set you up for great things. What impressed me most, however, was that every alum I spoke to had nothing but AMAZING things to say.
I know it would be far from home for you, but I suggest looking at DePauw. Though I don’t know you in person, from what I know of you online I am positive that DePauw would be a great fit for you. It has an excellent comm program - and two honors programs that I think would really benefit you: the Media Fellows program (MeFe) and Information Technology Associates Program (ITAP). (Although, I have to say… I cannot believe the ITAP page is still using the banner that I made for the site over 6 years ago… tsk tsk tsk… trust me it looked better on the old page style).
I was an ITAPer, and I learned not only web design, programming, video production and marketing skills (and got paid for it) but I also learned teamworking and team-leading skills that have given me a huge edge throughout job searches. I had many many friends in the MeFe program, and they hugely benefitted as well through experience and networking… I have several friends who are active in broadcast journalism, including a friend who works for an NPR affiliate in Indiana; he went to Medill School of Journalism (Northwestern University, Chicago) after DePauw, and I can get you his contact info if you’d like to ask him any questions. He was a MeFe.
DePauw has an award-winning (ranked #4 in the nation) radio station, WGRE - it runs 24/7, and everybody who wants to participate, can. (I had a radio show for two semesters, while serving as the station’s web director). It streams online, so you could listen to see what you could be a part of. It’s almost wholly student-run, everything from sportscasting to getting advertisers to setting up what music will be in heavy rotation.
I still have connections to people in both programs as well as at DePauw. One of my favorite professors teaches Comm, and I am friends with one of the assistant directors of MeFe on Facebook. I also am friends with several alums of both programs. I can set you up in contact with any of them, if you are interested, and/or I could write you a letter of recommendation - DePauw, sometimes to its discredit, is known for its nepotism - but it can be fairly beneficial if you know someone on the ‘inside’. I’ll DM you my email address - if you have any questions, I’d love to answer them.
“The point of this story is that if someone is terrorizing your neighborhood, sometimes it’s alright to grab a stick and take a swing. Social media, and in this particular case Twitter, has given average people like me the ability to use and invent all sorts of brand new sticks.”—Leroy Stick – the man behind @BPGlobalPR http://streetgiant.com/2010/06/02/leroy-stick-the-man-behind-bpglobalpr/
In this day and age, why does Spidey have to be a white guy? The last thing Spider-Man should be is another white guy.
Yes, I know: “Because that’s how Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created him.” There is no worse argument for anything than, “because that’s the way it’s always been.” Lee and Ditko created a wonderfully strong character, one full of complexity and depth, who happens to be white. In no way is Peter Parker defined by his whiteness in the same way that too many black characters are defined by their blackness. He’s defined by the people he cares for, by his career, by his identity as a New Yorker (incidentally, one of the most diverse cities in the world) — as too many good people died to prove, a man is defined by his choices, not by the color of his skin.
So why couldn’t Peter Parker be played by a black or a Hispanic actor? How does that invalidate who Peter Parker is?
All this outrage over Donald Glover just trying to get an audition to be Spider-man is a great example of how race and racism continue to pervade our culture and institutions. Sigh.
A brief run-down of some common defenses of Spider-man having to remain white:
He’s always been white, that was the artist’s vision - The movie is an adaptation, so the writers/directors can really change whatever they wish, not to mention as the quote above states, “that’s how things have always been,” is not really a solid excuse.
It is a part of his character - Not really. Photography, sarcasm, slight nerdiness that builds into confidence, a crush on Mary Jane, powers resembling spiders—these are the qualities that make up Spider-man. He is a character defined by his personality, not his race. Spider-man could still be Spider-man if played by someone of any sex or ethnicity.
Then Zac Efron can play Nelson Mandela in a biopic - No. No he can’t. First of all, Spider-man is a fictional character whereas Nelson Mandela is a real person. Secondly, race makes up a large part of Nelson Mandela’s struggles and story. It is inseparable from him, but for Spider-man it is incidental.
Let’s cast someone white as the next Blade, Luke Cage etc. - Okay, but this ignores a number of pretexts. I’m not super familiar with every superhero and their origins, but it is possible that like with Mandela, race is an important part of their identity and struggle. Additionally, most of the mainstream, easily recognizable superheroes are white. Recasting a minority hero as white isn’t a balancing act, but a further imbalancing of a disparity in representation. And is already done pretty commonly (See Jake Gyllenhaal and Prince of Persia).