Five Months In…

I returned to school on May 21st. I’m five months in of this nine-month program.

If I’ve learned nothing else, it’s that years later, I am still not an academic person. I am very glad I opted for trade school because if this is how I feel after five of nine months, I’d probably on the verge of killing myself if I had to commit for 4+ years to a university, or even just 2 years to a community college. Note the reason I chose trade school over community college and university is, with one exception, I wasn’t required to waste my time with general education courses. Yet I still feel 110% done with this!

Truthfully, my biggest gripe is having to wake up at 6:00am for half the days of the week. Yes, it’s a very petty complaint, but there’s a reason I’m not a morning person. To my credit, I’ve never missed a day of school or been late, and I’ve twice been awarded for perfect attendance. That said, I’ve overslept twice this week. On one of those occasions, I did wake up on time, but wanted to get five more minutes of sleep after getting dressed. That five-minute nap turned into a 45-minute nap. I’m sure Lyft was happy to take my money this week!

On the school side of things:

  • There’s no heat! This makes sense in summer, but not in autumn and, later on, winter. To the school’s credit, they do permit us to wear sweaters and jackets in classrooms, but I’d prefer heat! I’m cold!
  • We have a class on customer service. Enough said. I’ve worked in customer service for almost two years (10/31/16) and I have two retail jobs. Kiss my a**!
  • We don’t learn. It’s more similar to community college than I expected. In fairness, part of this is due to the program being fast-paced. Each class is a month long. Still, I don’t think a test should be taken every other day. If they feel the need to cram, the program needs to be lengthened. Granted, part of why I came to this school is I didn’t want to be in school for years, so if that does happen, I’ll be glad I missed it. Being delayed by two months was bad enough.
  • Expanding on the above, trying to cram everything into a too small period of time makes it hard to take class seriously. At one point, we took a test on a chapter we studied that very morning, and the test was to be finished at lunch time. That means no time for anyone who wants more than is offered in the vending machines to order lunch. I believe that was the day I stopped regarding the classes with much seriousness, though “customer service class” would’ve done that anyway.
  • We had a career fair that was embarrassingly disappointing. Admittedly, I don’t know how career fairs are arranged, so this may not be the school’s fault, but I expected more than five companies at a fair.

Those are all of my complaints for now, though I may add to this list later on. All of the above said, I still do not regret coming to this school, and I’m too far in to quit now. I can’t say I’ve learned nothing. I just don’t like how teaching is being implemented. To my knowledge, the tech program is much newer than the nursing program they offer, so it could be they’re still figuring out what works best for the program. That doesn’t bug me. Much of life is trial-and-error, is it not? I would know.

On a final note, my school allows students to wear costumes on Halloween during school hours. Yes, you can sit in class with a costume. I am totally not dressing up as Twilight Sparkle and taking advantage of that privilege! No, not me!

This makes everything worth it.

The Point of No Return

I paid off the remainder of my school balance. I wasn’t planning to pay it off all at once, but another round of loans was added and it brought the balance down so low, I figured I may as well just get it over with. However, I’m now almost $10,000 in debt for student loans.

If I had any thoughts of quitting, that would’ve shattered them. At the same time, it reignites my anxiety about school as a whole.

The point of putting myself through all of this is having a job in this field, so I’ll no longer be dependent on retail and can finally move toward being financially independent. But what if that does not happen? My school is having a career fair in a few days and, despite being told some employers will wait on a student to finish their schooling, that sounds too good to be true. What if no one is interested in my resume? Or I fail an interview? In fact, interviewing is my worst fear in regards to getting a job because I am terrible at speaking. I struggle to verbally say what I mentally want to, even when I know what I’m talking about, and the result is I trip over my words. I am already at a disadvantage because I do not have a business suit and while my school does let students borrow one, it depends on what’s available from donations. They do not have business suits collecting dust in a closet, waiting to hand them out. I’m genuinely worried that alone will kill first impressions of me.

There is no point in quitting school at this point, but if my worst fear is realized – zero change in how employable I am, and being qualified for nothing beyond retail – making all this stress and debt to have been for absolutely nothing, I think I will finally give up on life. I won’t say I’ll kill myself (maybe not right then…), but I won’t have the will to try anymore and I don’t see what good I can contribute to society as a burden who can’t do more than ring a cash register.

The anxiety over so much time, effort, and money being sunk into school being worthless and being crushed by a mountain of debt I would’ve foolishly acquired genuinely made me feel physically sick some time ago. And no, yelling “it will be worth it” is not of any help because nobody knows that, including myself. I don’t know if it will be worth it any more than anyone else does. Only time can tell me if it will be worth it and, were I religious, I’m almost certain I’d be praying every night time was on my side. Even as I type this post, I genuinely feel myself wanting to break because I want that badly for everything to have been worth it. If only wanting something guaranteed you get it (I want to be 14 years old again for the youthful appearance, but that’s not happening).

Yep. This is a perfect representation of my face 95% of the time.

Pressure May Vary

More often than not, I feel like things that surprise me really shouldn’t. In my defense, I have good reason for expecting the worst.

It turns out instead of taking the exam as soon as we can, our teacher recommends we not take it until we finish our last class unless we feel confident we can take it right now. Yes, instead of shouting “believe in yourself” over and over, a real teacher told us not to rush and wait until we feel we’re ready for it. We don’t have to read the entire textbook. He suggests we do because it can only help, but it won’t be a tragedy if we skip over something we already have a good grasp on, like half a chapter about how to create, move, and rename files. I don’t need a detailed how-to guide on something I’ve been doing since my age was in the single digits.

In short, a lot of the pressure I was felt was self-induced. Granted, like my cynicism, there’s reason for that, but it seems like I continually struggle to remember I don’t have to learn the same way everyone else does. I can study in the way the works best for me and go at my own pace. Even MLP had an (surprisingly good) episode about that. I don’t try to be different, but I think trying to be the same is part of what causes me these problems to begin with.

I’ve begun playing around with some practice tests. The site I used allows the user to customize the test instead of take it with every question about every topic thrown together. To my ridiculous surprise, I did well when I tested against things I read about and I can now study what I’m struggling with that wasn’t yet covered in my classes so far, or wasn’t covered much. I also managed to answer 20 to 25 questions in 7 minutes without knowing the answer to all of them. Maybe 90 questions in 90 minutes isn’t so intimidating.

I’ll eat my words later, but for now, it’s nice to feel less pressured about everything.

Or Maybe Not

I guess there’s a reason for the expression that you are your own worst critic.

I got a big surprise when, at my school’s brief award ceremony, I was given two awards! One was for perfect attendance while the other was for having a 4.0 GPA. Perfect attendance is easy for me, though I still very much appreciate the award. On the other hand, I have never had a 4.0 GPA in my life! I really cannot believe it and I am so stunned! And I am not a flawless student, as I think my last post makes evident. Yet, somehow, I achieved that! I really do not have words. My whole day has been made!

My school award certificates! School name, my real name, and signature of the director have been omitted.

I Failed

At life.

One of the goals of my school is preparing students to take a certain exam. It’s not a school exam! It’s actually a… government one? I’m unsure how to describe it without giving away the name, but it’s essentially proof someone is certified to work in the field we’re training for and is recognized nationally.

I have recently decided I am not taking it.

I have studied, and I’ve found it does no good. I can be asked a question right after I have finished reading a whole chapter and be unable to recall what the question even pertains to, let alone answer it correctly. There are practice exams for the real one. I tried one. I didn’t know the answer to any of the questions, despite reading enough material that would’ve covered it. I didn’t bother going through the whole practice test. I closed it after question 7.

We do get a certificate from the school. I think I’m going to take that and go, and try to do the best I can with that. I am not academic material. I think I figured that out a long time ago, but I assumed that’s because I hated school to begin with. I genuinely like this school and I do study, and I am still terrible. There is zero chance of me passing the real exam, and since it’s only free the first time around (school provides a voucher), I don’t exactly have unlimited chances to pass. I’d rather not take it at all, and no, I am not going to “wing it” in the hopes the planets will align and grant me a passing score. I like fairytales. I am not dumb enough to believe in them.

Supposedly, you’re not supposed to memorize material you study. That concept makes zero sense to me. Why would you study it if you didn’t want to remember it? The point of studying is to be able to retain enough information to pass whatever tests you need to pass.

That exam is also timed. Ninety minutes to answer ninety questions. Even if I had a chance of passing, the time limit would kill me.

This isn’t Disney. “Positive thinking” and “believe in yourself” does not work. I don’t think even Disney has ever been that shallow. Of course, if those things did work, “hard work” would be non-existent since everyone would be successful with no more than merely thinking of it, meaning no one would have to work for anything. Don’t people complain my generation only wants things handed to them anyway? “Think positive” seems to prove them right.

My vent is over. And so are my chances.