WSV’s Zoe Thomas writes, “But most of all, the money that you have is, overwhelmingly, the best indicator of how well you will do on the SAT. If you can afford the test prep books, and the fancy calculators; if you have the luxury of time not spent working to help your family or watching your siblings, it’s almost a guarantee you’ll do well on the test. Even the motivation to study and put in the hours it takes to learn to game the system comes from monetary privilege. When you have money in the bank just waiting to pay for your college, it’s easy to find the motivation to study— everything is right there for the taking, if you only do a few more practice problems.

“But if you already know that your future consists of joining the military, attending community college, or not attending college at all, why would you study? Why work at this test when you know that even if you score a perfect 1600, there’s always going to be a giant dollar bill shaped barrier between you and a quality higher education? The answer is that you’re not, which is exactly the problem I have with this test.”

Watershed Voice set out to find how this pandemic is affecting young people in southwest Michigan, speaking to local mental health experts and teens alike. Throughout the past year, the coronavirus pandemic has drastically altered lives across the world; people have lost their jobs, lost loved ones, and had to put their lives on hold. That feeling of going on pause has especially affected young people, who feel removed from some of the most formative years of their lives. It’s no wonder these feelings of isolation and helplessness have taken a toll on child and adolescent mental health.

“Trans people are not dangerous, but are, in fact, one of the most marginalized, abused, and harassed groups that need to be protected, rather than excluded, by our laws. And it’s ignorant to believe that giving trans women rights will somehow impede on cis women’s rights, in the same way one would never concede that giving black people rights will somehow lessen white people’s rights.” — Zoe Thomas