My Last Year as a Student

By Daisy Valera

I want to learn more.
I want to learn more.

The Cuban school year begins in September, as billboards are covered with posters of the smiling faces of children going to school, and buses begin filling up more than usual.

The last week of August I usually begin wanting to return to the classroom and to learn new things in my studies, and also see friends that I haven’t talked to in two months.

But this year, the idea of beginning a new school year presented itself in a different manner.

This September begins my last year as a student, which struck me with opposing feelings: the yearning to finish my degree and the dread of beginning my life as a worker.

This year I will begin to do my graduate thesis, which will take a great deal of effort and sacrifice, but the idea that was going around most in my head was what I would do after this.

The immediate questions are: Where will I work? Where will I live? How will I support myself?

Cuban university students. Photo: Caridad
Cuban university students. Photo: Caridad

These queries have simple answers: I’ll have to leave Havana to work in my home province, where very little is done in the field of science and nothing related to my major; and I’ll stay in the house where my grandmother, mother, and brother already live, where I’ll continue living depending on my mother economically.

Although these are simple answers, absolutely none of them please me. The questions that I pose represent three problems faced by Cuban society: the lack of appropriate jobs, the staggering shortage of housing, and wages that fail to correspond to the costs of basic necessities.

The answer that many Cuban youth pursue when faced with such a precarious situation is to leave of the country – but that’s not me.

The solution I would propose in the face of all this uncertainty is more information.

I can’t understand why our media does not give in-depth treatment to these problems.

It is becoming very necessary for the Cuban people to understand the exact situation in which we’re in.  Only then will it be possible for solutions to emerge.