Can we say, study visa?

Sometimes the world hits you, and there’s no real way to hit back.  That’s what’s happened to 17 year old Arthur Mkoyan, who planned to go to college in California this coming fall.  He’s Armenian and has been living in the US since he was two while legal proceedings were underway to determine if he and his family would be allowed to stay in the US.  Now, after 15 years of waiting and becoming the valedictorian of his high school, he’s going to be deported.

It sucks.  He doesn’t speak Armenian and doesn’t remember the country at all.  He probably thought his achievements in school would give him at least a little security in the country.  But legally, he has no right to be here.  Legally, he could be allowed to stay if a private bill is passed, but that seems unlikely at this point.  Legally he’s Armenian, even if he doesn’t know how to act like one.

For his parents it would be easier.  They know the language, they lived and worked in Armenia before, they could do so again.  But how would it be for the younger brother who is a US citizen?  Would he be allowed to stay in the US without his parents?  Would he be allowed into Armenia?  What kind of mish-mash of an education would he get now by transferring between the countries?

To my mind, the solution has to come from the university Arthur was planning to enroll in.  They could easily get him a visa as an international student.  Since he’s already been accepted to the school, there shouldn’t be any problem other than paperwork.  Even if it means Arthur living in Armenia with his parents for a few months, it’s a solution.  After college, who knows?  Possibly a work visa and eventually a green card.  He’s obviously smart enough to be a valuable resource here.  And once he turns 18, he could also potentially have legal responsibility for his younger brother.

Bleak as the system may seem for this boy, there are still perfectly legal means and options for him that would secure what he wants from life.  It’s going to be hard, especially on the family, but it is possible.

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Sex Sells.

Ok, we all know the studies that have been done linking attractive people in advertising to successful ads.  We all know that even in the smartest, most world-savvy of us, the appeal of being that attractive ourselves or winning the heart of someone else that attractive is a strong one.  We want to be and to have some ideal of beauty, and the commercials that promise us we will be and will have this ideal are the ones that get us to buy.

But our responses may be more basic than that.  A recent study has shown that men are willing to risk more when presented with a positive image before a gambling situation (say, a photo of a handsome couple together) than a negative (snakes and spiders) or neutral (office supplies) one.  In this case, unlike that of advertisements, the image is completely unrelated to the end result.  Gambling does not make you a handsome couple, a snake, or a stapler, nor is there any implication that it does.  However, the survey shows that by stimulating that positive part of the brain with a positive image, risk-taking increases.

To a certain extent this is common sense.  When we are happy, we feel more secure and able to take risks.  On a good day, you’re more likely to ask that crush out on a date.  On a bad day, you’re less likely to buy that new car you’ve been looking at.  While this study shows that such affects are almost instantaneously registered to your brain, the result is pretty much the same.  You’re going to gamble more in a casino with attractive and friendly serving staff, a good ambiance, and with a few drinks in you because you feel happy and relaxed.  No one gambles in a casino being bombed.