Public or Private: Who pays for college?

Recently in The Daily Iowan, it was announced that the University of Iowa Student Government was able to petition the board of regents to approve a new fee for students. This fee, approx. $12.50 in value, will be charged to students to help fund the UI Counseling center. Hopefully, the new fund will allow up to 8 new counselors to be allocated. Iowa is currently one of the most understaffed in terms of counselling services. UIC is led by Barry Schreier, who is the Counseling service Director, is an amazing professional that is needed at the University and has been a catalyst for change at Iowa. While this is great and also helps to draw attention to mental health on college campuses, I argue it is also hurting an important cause: the public benefits of college.

Currently, most politicians (specifically the right but known on both sides of the isle) would argue that college is more of a private than public good. Not only is this fallacy incorrect but problematic. While UISG is doing great things, this new initiative is creating an even larger burden on students to pay for college. Currently, the student debt crises is a hot topic and will continue to be as states slash education budgets (because education is “discretionary”) and pass the burden to the students. I could spend all day telling you about students who are predispositioned to not being able to afford college and the social oppression in our society, however I will save that for another time. What I will tell you is that cost to attend college have increased and what is the easiest thing to do in order to raise funds: charge the students. State governments – and even institutions of higher education – are to blame.

College not only benefits those who obtain the degree, but also society. Through positive externalities, college attainment improvements society in numerous ways. Having a better educated work force decreases unemployment, increases spending, and strengthens the economy. However, due to the lack of funding (federal, state, and even institutions such as Iowa) I argue that education is not properly valued, is neglected, and is a missed opportunity for bettering our society. I praise UISG and their efforts to better support their constituents. I praise those who work to improve the living conditions of all those who are oppressed due to our fucked up system. However putting a band aide on a gash the size of Texas will not heal the problems we face. What needs to be done is reevaluation of education: increased paid for K-12 teachers, increased pay for student affairs professionals who are overworked, increased resources for special and developmental education, increased money for all of education. We will never make true change until we attack our problems head on and actions needs to start with education.

White is White: You can’t cover up what the world sees

“In addition to specifying one’s European ancestry, and reclaiming lost family traditions, this shift (of distancing self from whiteness) can also be understood as a way to distance oneself from claims made by people of color about some imagined “standard white American,” and from political assertions that whites have “unearned” privilege or are responsible for disadvantaged position of minorities.
-Jennifer L. Eichstedt, Problematic White Identities and a Search for Racial Justice.
When the light is flashed on us white folk about our white privilege, we come up with various excuses: “oh I’m working class, I don’t get the privilege because I had to work for everything I’ve gotten” or “that’s only for straight people” or “no I’m actually Italian on my mom’s side, not white”. While it may seem impossible to put all whiteness on the same level, it is the same in this system of power and privilege where white folk win and folk of color loose. We can’t pick and choose what identity trumps our whiteness – white is visible, white wins. And this is something we need to own up to.
Us white folk also try and see persecution that happens to us as well within these excuses. “Oh I grew up as the only white kid in my neighborhood” or “Oh I was the only Jewish kid in my high school”. Simply because you were the minority in one example doesn’t mean you are THE minority that looses in a system of power and privilege. This is like saying reverse racism is a think. IT IS NOT A THING. How can white people who control it all observe pervasive and damaging racism? That would imply that people of color have power over us white folk WHEN THEY DON’T.
Now, that’s not to say you can’t be shot because you’re white or be picked last to play a pick up game because you’re white. That can happen to anyone at anytime. What the point we white folk need to understand is that we DON’T LIVE IN CONSTANT FEAR that it will happen simply because of the color of our skin. We can push people of color out of our neighborhoods or simply move. We can send our children to expensive private schools. We can simply work for another company. White people can do whatever, whenever if we really wanted to.
Why are there so many success stories of white folk “making it rich” and so many stories of people of color being “gang bangers and criminals”? Us white folk need to wake up because this is not just, this is not freedom, this is not the world I want to live in and neither should you. It will be hard because we white folk benefit from this system. Why give up something that is helping us win? I don’t have the answer to that, yet. I will grow and learn more about my whiteness and hopefully one day understand what it is to be a true ally for equality. But I do know I want to do what I can to help end this system that kills and destroys so many people.
If I had to summarize it all it would be this: It’s not “The American Dream”, it’s “The White American Dream”.

First let me introduce myself: #SAviews

13322115_10157103633525195_297510175469595778_n.jpgHey y’all,

So it has only been a few short days since my last post and only a few weeks into the summer. There are some changes going on and they are now in the works. But first, let me (re) introduce myself and all the details.

Name: Justin Kyle

Occupation: Higher Education Student Affairs

Future plans: World domination

Actual future plans: becoming an advocate of change

Desired future position: Chancellor of Ole Miss

Areas of interest: Fraternity and Sorority Life, Student Activities, Service-Learning, Housing and Residence Life, and Orientation.

Areas of interest not related to professional life but should be: craft beer, whisky, Pokemon, music (vinyls are rad), sloths, beaches, and thrift shopping.

So now that all of those things are out of the way, let’s talk about what is new.

New blog: I’ve decided that my old blog “private thoughts in a public world” was too narrow. So, after much creative thinking, I’ve decided to create a new hashtag and in the process a new blog title: #SAviews. SA meaning Student Affairs and views meaning my view of xyz. It also helps with Insta and twitter so I can stay organized. yay.

New ambitions: I’ve decided that life is too short to be narrow minded. A year ago I would have said I only want to every work at large, public institutions. After my experience at Coe College, I’ve decided that the opportunities are boundless and I can learn any and everywhere. Yay for increasing breadth of employment!

New Goals: Let’s be honest, I have no clue as to what I am doing. Instead of pretending, I want to be genuine. So with that said, I have a few basic goals and everything else just happens

  • continously learning about my priviliges, the systems of opression that impact so many, and doing what I can when I can, listening when I should, and advocating when necessary.
  • getting a MBA
  • getting a Ph.D.
  • working for my national fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi
  • have a wife, kid(s), dog, and a sloth
  • traveling the world
  • learning all I can so that I can return to Mississippi and make a difference in the backwards state I call home.

New attitude: I’ve been an ass at times (a lot). I have my set way of acting around some and that’s just not cool. From hence forth I am all in. No matter what the circumstance, I want to be fully present. No matter the task at hand, I want to do my all. No matter the amount of ice cream before me, I will eat it all. See where I’m going with this?

Now you may saying, dude what the hell are you rambling about? At that I will just default to the blank stare, smile, and wave routine. I rarely understand half the things that I do so explaining this would require a beer and a long conversation (which I am always down for).

So without further delay, I give you #SAviews – my personal hashtag, blog, journey, thoughts, feelings, emotions, attitudes, love of sloths, and oxford commas.

 

 

New School, New State, New Lonely?

Some may know, some may not, but I moved from my home for nearly all my life. Moving from Mississippi to Iowa was interesting. Countless people tell me “what a great school!”, “you will do great!”, and “I’m proud of you”. Truth be told, it was a failure. A hot, beautiful mess of failure. I still count the days until I can graduate, but it has taught me some lessons (see previous blog). However, that isn’t the reason for this blurb.

Rather, I have moved yet again (only for a summer internship) and a whole new mess of challenges have come my way. Yet, somehow, I am at the greatest peace with myself since, well, I have not clue since when. I drove over 1,500 miles and 24 hours to the sunny state of Florida and God couldn’t have planned it any better.

I AM LONELY.

I know no one here. 

I have no one to go grab a beer with, watch baseball, chill with on the beach, ANYTHING.

and I oddly am ok with this.

Have I changed? Yes I have. I have shaken off the shallow soul many once knew as JKT. I have learned from my mistakes of being a pompous, arrogant ass whole who thought he knew it all. I have changed.

This lovely revelation wasn’t free. It cost me, a lot. I lost the best friend I could have ever asked for. I have strained relationships with family. I have cried and looked the ugliness that was me in the eye.

What is this?

New school. New state. New kind of lonely. I can revel in the quietness. I can find joy in the silence. I am ok with not seeking the attention and love of others. Perhaps my greatest challenge of hyper-masculinity, hyper-arrogance, hyper-shitty-ness was that of my own self.

I have learned so much – so much about myself.

Being Lonely isn’t always bad – it can be good. Change happens at the edge of discomfort, so why not be revel in the times of strange?

Whatever these few months may hold, I am facing head on.

Whatever the next 348 days until graduation hold, I can survive. it.

Whatever life may bring, I know I can always learn from others – and myself.

Whatever the hell you may have known about me, may have experienced, may have heard – it probably was true. However, looking in the rear-view and the mirror for the past year has taught me many things and one thing for sure – change has come, change will come, life is change.

So long old self, Hello new lonely, new self, new life. 

I have began a journey to find myself and I cannot wait to see what tomorrow will hold.

cheers.

From Cotton to Corn: Grad School Year One

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Let’s be clear from the start, my transition to Iowa this year was awful. I have been in “survive” mode more than “thrive” and I even began a new grad school search in November. In my experience, I was sold a perfect picture of grad school from peers, supervisors, and institutions: cohorts that become automatic friend groups, opportunities all around, and all the adventures at your fingertips. We have done this to ourselves. We think of our experience in school and try to make it the same/think it will be the same for each new member. I genuinely struggled this year. I failed assignments, I cried, I wanted to quit and pack my bags for Mississippi (probably first time that has ever been said in the history of the world). To put it bluntly: this year was shit.

However, among all the failure, struggles, and loneliness, I made some self-discoveries. I’ve learned a great deal about myself, the profession, and just life in general. I’ve read some difficult articles, been challenged in class, and met confrontation head on. In true Rebel fashion, I challenged what was preached to me in classes and pushed myself and others. Now that the dust is starting to settle and I prepare for the summer and my two months of hard time on the beach at FGCU, I have a few things that I wish to share to the world about my adventures on the other side of the Mississippi (and 10 hours further up river).

  • Loneliness. Moving to a new school, city, and state was hands down the hardest challenge I’ve faced in my life (privilege acknowledged). I have taken for granted all the many friends I’ve made along the way. I forgot what it was like to be a stranger in the crowd, the new kid on the block, the person that is from a place no one has been they ask “why did you come here?”. I have spent my share of hours and days by myself, without someone to casually hang out. Granted, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some great people and finally have a small amount of friends, I still feel as if I am all alone. No one could have prepared me for this. However, I now revel in my loneliness. I have time to reflect, think, and meditate. I have learned more about myself than I could have ever done in the crowds at the Square of the Grove. I’ve learned to be ok silence and to sit in the quite. No I won’t go to a movie or bar by myself but I can go and eat a nice sit-down meal, go exploring, and shoot hoops for hours without talking to anyone. I’m always open to meeting new people but I now can handle being the only person I know.
  • Dating. It hasn’t happened. I’ve done the whole tinder, bumble, you-name-it apps. I’ve meet people through people and even tried the whole “lame pick-up line game” at the grocery store, bars, and the likes. I do not know what it is, but the belles up here aren’t the same as they are back home (must be the lack of sweet tea). Granted, I’m a white, cis gendered male so I have no room to complain about the dating culture (privilege acknowledged), but it has been “awkward af”. Granted I have some things to work on personally both in terms of myself and my past emotions, but still they don’t tell you about the difficulty of separating yourself from undergrads and trying to find a cute date. Not to mention the fact I live in a residence hall (but I have my own apartment!) and that tends to put an even more awkward twist on conversations. I’ve learned a great deal of patience and grown calmer in my spirit. I have journaled my struggles and don’t mind laughing with friends on my failed dates. I still am an eager beaver, but I know that my future is in fate’s hand and I am only playing my part.
  • Culture. The people here are weird. This whole “Midwest/Iowa nice” thing pisses me off. People run all over each other and are so damn indecisive. There isn’t any sweet tea, they put peppers or hot sauce and call it “Cajun”, and don’t even try and ask me about the tailgating (they do it in parking lots, they were this gaudy cover-alls, and they just stand there staring at each other drinking shitty beer). “Country” and “being from the South” to them is just a flannel and camo pants, talking in a “funny accent”, and kissing your cousin. They think they “know football”, “know what good soul food is”, and “know what hot weather is”. The amount of times I have shook my head, bit my tongue, and kept a level head this year when people talk badly about my home is astronomical (granted the South has a shit ton of problems, Iowa isn’t that far behind). However, I’ve learned every town, city, and state has its own unique culture. I’ve learned not to make Iowa like Ole Miss and to always learn in every situation. I’ve learned my way of living is just one of multiple realities. I’ve learned so much about my own culture back home and have noticed the many underlying privileges I have. It may not be Ole Miss, but Iowa is kinda nice.
  • Self. If you ask anyone around here what my name is they will (more times than not) call me Justin Kyle. JKT is a pet name, Justin is what I’m called when I’m in trouble or in Tulsa (long story), and Kyle is just another name in the crowd. I’ve always loved how my two names roll together and I spent the first part of the semester being so self-conscious about it because if I wanted to go by that, it would be “odd”. People have met me at various times of my life may be confused as to why this is. I’ve always struggled with making my own identity, name, and reputation. From Kell (oh high school) to Myrtle (because people my freshman year that it was hilarious), the words I’ve gone by have been many, but they just haven’t been me. In all the loneliness, awkward dates and talking about myself, and being a stranger in a new culture, I’ve discovered so much about myself. The things I have uncovered, re-discovered, changed, and shunned are many. The greatest of all, however, is my true name. A name that means the world to me. A name that gives me pride, makes we stick out, and truly captures my identity. Justin Kyle is more than just a couple words that confuse the hell out of people, it is who I am now from this point forward. The greatest thing I have learned since coming to Iowa is this: The man I was and the man I want to be is up to the man now to change. I am the author of my own path (in the hands of my God). We go to college to “find ourselves”, so even in grad school you can learn more about yourself.

The mistakes I have made in my life can make a grocery list jealous. I’ve pushed away people I have loved and not realized it. I’ve done what I can to impress others. I’ve been unauthentic, self-centered, and an egotistical bastard at times. I’ve done a lot, I’ve learned a lot, I still have a winding path ahead of me. Grad school has been hard, but it has been the best for me. No matter how much I wanted to leave, I know I couldn’t. I had to make myself learn by living in dissonance. I had to get out in order to come back home.

There is no telling what is in store for me from this point on, but I will take it head on with a stiff drink of Maker’s Mark, momma’s prayers, and passion for making a change. William Faulkner once said “to understand the world one must first understand a place like Mississippi”. For me, I’m trying to understand the world so that I can one day go home and make a difference. Iowa has given me a great deal of challenges, but a year in and I’m still going. Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got 800+ students to move out of my damn building and drive to Florida for another experience. Cheers.

Kim Davis at fault: Looking through the eyes of Human Resource Managment

Before I even begin, I would like to quiet all the uber conservatives out there that are super loud and proud about their religion. Not that that is a bad thing, but some tend to condemn a lot of people with one hand and be a hypocrite with the other:

“ye without sin cast the first stone.”

“love your neighbor.”

Ok cool now I can continue with my diagnoses of the Kim Davis situation. So let me tell you about my views.

  1. I am a Southern Baptist born and raised however, after being in the “real world” some of the spoon feed doctrines have lost some of the power over me. In my opinion, God put you on this earth to make your own decisions and whatever you choose to do, i’m cool with. I can and will respect your choices and I will NEVER talk down to anyone as long as they respect me. I mean I think this is fair.
  2. I want to one day enjoy an environment where religion is respected and so too are the personal life choices of others. Why not stop there? I hope one day EVERYTHING that makes us different is respected and cherished. I may never see this utopia, but it is still great to think about and work towards.
  3. I believe that men, women, trans, non-conforming, and everyone else are created equal and deserve the same rights under our laws, unfortunately this isn’t the case (#blacklivesmatter).
  4. Your freedoms end where my nose begins.
  5. I am making my opinion on Kim Davis using what I have been taught during my undergraduate studies in Human Resource Management.

Ok so let’s start.

In the business world, when I go to hire someone for a particular position, there is a certain criteria they must meet called job descriptions and bona fide occupational qualifications (or BFOQs). The job description is a literal list of duties and tasks that MUST be done in order to be successful in one’s job. In order to be a cashier at Wal-Mart, one must know how to operate a cash register, basic math, money handling skills, and just good manners. The job description would list what kind of knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to fill this job and do the necessary job functions.

BFOQs are a little more tricky as they typically are traits of a job that are unique and required. To provide a easy example: in order to be a Kosher butcher, one must handle foods in a way required to maintain the Jewish dietary requirements. Typically, the actual butcher is Jewish and knows the faith. If I owned a meat company, I can make being Jewish and knowing the restrictions a BFOQ for the job of Kosher butcher. Legally, I am protected because it is REQUIRED to have the qualifications to successfully complete the job and can advertise as so. If someone wanted to try and and sue me based discrimination of religion, two things would happen: 1) religion is not a protected group such as sex and age; 2) once it is proven that you do not met the BFOQ required for the job, case is closed. If at any point you have a change in status, say you change religions, you are no longer qualified. If you notify your employer, that are impressed upon by law and good manners to find you an equivalent job of equal pay with them or support you as you find a new job.

Simple so far, right?

So let’s look at Kim Davis

So Kim was qualified for her job. She had served in the position and was find until the recent ruling that made gay marriage legal. At that point in time, Kim should have notified her employer that a new part of her job would go against her religion. Then her employer should have found her a suitable job or provided some kind of assistance. Everyone is happy. Unfortunately, this is not what happened.

Kim Davis did not notify her employer through the official channels. Not only this, but her employer did not do the due diligence to inquire if new practices would be “ok” with their employees. However, Kim is responsible for notifying her employer and since she did not, she should be terminated. And the employer is 100% covered by the law with the catch that they did take the time to inform and inquire about the new policies.

So, using the HRM approach, Kim Davis is responsible. The employer is covered, and we need to hire a new employee.

To summarize, religion is not a covered class. It take communication on all sides to make a fluid and productive work environment. Kim Davis is wrong, but her employer should have made some efforts. Case closed.

“Hey y’all” and not “hey you guys”

So as I am (attempting to) becoming more professional in my attire, lingo, and mannerisms, I’ve noticed something people of the Midwest (and others) love to say: “hey you guys”

Although I love the classics like “The Goonies”, there has to be some subtle changes to our everyday life if we ever hope to become more inclusive. The South may have it’s own grocery list of problems, but we do one thing right: we do not show gender preference in our common phrase of grabbing attention.

I cannot begin to count the number of times I have traveled to other states outside the South and used the word “y’all” and got that “oh you’re not from around here look”. But at the same time I cannot begin to count the number of times already during my short stint in the Midwest the amount of times I have heard someone reference a group a people as being all male and they weren’t all male.

Now I know it is a nit picky thing but is it really? We live in a society where inequality is so deeply rooted and systems of oppression are so heavily ingrained into our habits. Although I personally don’t have a 5 step action plan to make the world a better place, I do know that I can use more inclusive words when interacting with society.

If you are a guy, imagine how weird it would be if you’re in a group and someone says “hey you girls”. Imagine how women feel when we mask their gender identity and enforce this crooked society we live in today.

So when you’re out and about, working with students, children, or coworkers, say y’all. It may sound like turpentine on your lips but I promise not only will you be more inclusive, but you will also get some really odd looks and can then explain yourself and spread the message about being intentional in breaking away the system of oppression we live in today.

Y’all come back now, ya hear.

I will not stand by idly

For too long I have sat still. For too long I have listened to the times of old. For far too long I have let the words of outsiders predetermine my life. Not any more.

For too long I have been told the greatness of the South has come and gone and no longer will she rise again. For too long I have been told that because I am a Mississippian, I am born to live in the dirt. For too long I have listened to statistics, studies, and history that tells me I will live a below-average life. Not any more.

For far too long, I have been an outcast, called a “racist”, taunted for my upbringing, and laughed at because of my state. Not any more.

No longer will I stand by idly as my state is condemned by others who have never graced her boarders. No longer will I stand by idly as the history of my great home is used to judge my present. No longer will I stand by idly as an “uneducated and closed minded” back-woods boy. Not any more.

No longer will I let you judge me on the actions of a few. No longer will I let the murmurings of few reverberate louder than my Rebel yell. No longer will I let our history control our future. Not any more.

Now I will look to a bright future. Now I will look to myself and those few Rebels around me willing to make the leap of faith. Now I will shatter all expectations, break all the myths, and destroy the stereotypes. Now is the time.

Now we should look at our actions. Now we should open our eyes, close our mouths, and listen to the voices that were once gagged and trampled. Now we should put away childish things and become the new (wo)man. Now is the time.

No longer will I be quite. No longer will I avert my eyes. No longer will I turn to the other cheek. No longer will I stand idly

No longer will I watch as Dixie is condemned to live a backwards life. No longer will I let my school be defamed. No longer will I let my first love be trampled on. It is time.

It is time for the new South to rise. It is time for all to be equal. It is time be leaders of industry. It is time to be teachers, doctors, and engineers of our own futures. It is time for the individual voices to rise and the masses to stop huddling. It is time for us to stop bickering, complaining, and crying. It is time.

It is way past time equality was brought to the banks of the Mississippi. It is way past time for the voice of reason to be heard in the bayou. It is way past time the presence of unity to be seen in the field of cotton. It is way past time for the leaders to rise tall among the pines and magnolias. It is way past time, Mississippi.

Let us rise together, on equal grounds, with words of wisdom, open minds, and voices raised. Let us respect ALL, and not just the few. Let us raise up our new South, show the world the love of Dixie, and make this great land one welcome for all. Let us look to the future, embrace our past, and learn from the present. Let us not stand by idly.

The flag that flies is (should be) the same for you and me

I can go ahead and tell you that this post will probably piss someone off or rub someone wrong, if so go read my other posts and find out I don’t care. This post is all about flags.

So people want to ban the Confederate flag because it is linked to racism, old ways, etc. Ok. We always want to progress as a society, not regress. But there is something that should be added to the arguments and it goes a little like this:

We want to remove a flag because it it linked to racism and the old South and anyone who flies it is racist. We want to ban it from Walmart, Apple stores, and state capitols. However, when someone burns an American flag, steps on it, desecrates it, we are told it is their freedom of speech and right as a citizen.

I call shenanigans

How on earth is that even fair? I am not preaching for the sake of heritage nor am I blasting progressives, I just want to show how unequal things are ALL over this current hot topic. I can understand removing it from government places, as all governments here in the US are of the 50 stars and 13 bars. However, this recent endeavor to ban it (the confederate flag) is making it very hypocritical as we step on rights of some and bend over backwards for others. I’ve always heard and been told if you don’t like the flag you live under then move. So if we are going to do something about flags, let’s be fair on all fronts.

Now on the subject of symbols, monuments, and other things in the news

We can change everything we want: military base names, street names, building names, take down monuments, remove all signs of our ugly past but two truths remain constant:

  1. our past will ALWAYS haunt us and will readily come up. Just look at Ole Miss and the great bounds we have accomplished yet we always have something, small or large, come up and bite us on the ass.
  2. you can remove anything you want, but until you change the people, nay the attitude, perspective, and equality, all the change in the world is a waste.

Now, I am lover of history. I am one for social and equal justice before the law. I call a terrorist a terrorist and my rights your rights. There are somethings that should change, and somethings that shouldn’t/won’t/can’t/etc. Distancing ourselves from our mistakes is important, but it also important to never forget where we have come from. Maybe we should change how children are educated. Maybe we should re-dedicate statues and once and for all decide the meaning of monuments. Maybe we should just all move to Canada and cause them problems. I don’t know nor will I ever know, but I know that during my lifetime, I will never see a perfect United States of America.

I can’t even: facing today’s issues

If you cannot make a half-hearted list of at least 10 problems facing your community, state, or country, then that is a pretty large rock you are living under. It seems everywhere we turn, there is someone, somewhere with something they did that caused something.

Now, hear me out, I’m all about change. Progressing for a better tomorrow is great, while there are some basic truths that should always remain constant. However, it seems there is always someone offended by something. I’m told to keep quite, just listen, and educate myself on other people’s experiences. OK, I can deal. The thing I cannot even begin to explain how frustrated I am is when I want to help but I’m looked at and told “you just don’t wouldn’t understand” or “you’re XYZ so you don’t get it”. Then help me get it! Don’t limit my experiences. Don’t lower your voice. Learn, Educate, Repeat. 

Something I recently come to realize is that there is always someone who will be offended by something you say or have harsh words towards something you do. That is just the cold hard fact. There is no such thing as Utopia and the moment we realize that it isn’t possible to live peacefully with all the sooner we will realize what our own problems are so that we can attempt to be at peace.

I say all of this because I can’t even. I can’t deal with how people react to social posts. I can’t deal with how people get offended at the first sign of difference in opinion. I can’t deal with how hostile people get with people of different views. We need to get a grip on how we interact with humans because if we can’t, then I can’t even deal.