Adonis Diaries

Humans of New York? What kinds of work? From where are they?

Posted on: April 13, 2016

Humans of New York? What kinds of work? From where are they?

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“I drive an MTA bus. I don’t want to do that for the rest of my life. I’ve got to wake up at 4 am everyday. That’s not working for me.

So I’m trying to get my music off the ground. I’ve been handing out these CDs all day. But it’s tough.

I’ve only sold three so far. But one of the guys who bought a CD was from Algeria. So now I get to say that they play my music in Algeria.”

Humans of New York's photo.

“At my high school, the first kid to get a pair of new Jordan’s was the king, and the kid who couldn’t afford them was bait for the sharks.

My mom and I didn’t have much money so I got teased a lot. Sometimes it got so bad that I’d have panic attacks.

One day all the kids were being especially nice to me in history class. Everyone was acting like my friend, but as soon as the bell rang, they all threw soap at me at the same time.

I lived in a homeless shelter at the time. I liked being at the shelter much more than being at school.

Everything at school was a competition. But everyone at the shelter helped each other out.

People would share clothes, cook for each other, and babysit for each other.

We were all at rock bottom, so nobody thought they were better than each other.”

Humans of New York's photo.

“I’m working on my second doctorate and doing clinical research in HIV.

I’ve always wanted to be a tenure track professor, but I’ve been questioning that lately.

I imagined that one day I’d get to a place where I can do the research that I want to do. But I’m seeing now that it’s more about doing the research that will get funded.

I’m noticing a lot of disenchantment among my senior mentors. They don’t get to be as innovative as they’d like.

Their primary task seems to be sustaining the institution. It’s not about doing the research that they think will make the most impact.

It’s about going for the most likely money. It’s publish or perish. Fund or get fired.

And education suffers as well. I love to teach, and I’ve always thought that teaching would be a big part of the process. But it’s not emphasized.

Because teaching is paid for by tuition. It’s ‘money in, money out.’ But research funding comes from outside the school. It’s new money.”

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Humans of New York's photo.

“I emigrated from Liberia at the age of eighteen, and a lovely Jewish family took me in and helped fund my education.

Their names were Anne and William Rothenberg. They had never even met me before. But they allowed me to live with them and introduced me to everyone as their daughter.

They would never explain beyond that—it was always just ‘our daughter.’

It was so fun to see the confusion on people’s faces. They’ve both passed away.

But a few years ago I started a scholarship fund for Liberian children, and I named it after them.”

Humans of New York's photo.

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