From Dropout To Graduate

My first day of my internship was yesterday. The day went well! The only annoyances were the school bell, which I’ll get used to, and the teacher next door who wouldn’t stop yelling at her class. Apparently, it’s a remedial class for students with behavioral problems. Not sure how yelling cures that, but that’s not my department!

Minus that, the day was perfect. Aside from the above, the whole day was peaceful and quiet. I had a partner to work with and, after we were told what we had to do, we were left to our own devices in an office-like space. We spent the day testing out hard drives and monitors, and installing Windows 7 images. Half the time was spent waiting for the installations to finish, so we played on our phones in the meantime. Got to have our lunches when we wanted and left at 2:30pm. I realize it was only the first day, but if that’s a glimpse of our day-to-day work, I could used to it! No customers, nothing hectic, no loudness (for the most part), no phones ringing every half hour, no standing for 6 to 8 hours. It was bliss. If only I got paid.

When I came home, I had an envelope from my school. Inside was the announcement for the graduation ceremony, and the form needed to RSVP. I immediately requested the day off work, and since it’s two months ahead, I’m not worried about the request being rejected. But if it is rejected, I’m calling out! The program may have been less than a year (including internship, nine months), but that’s my time and money I invested! I will not miss that ceremony!

It’s so hard to believe this is reality and happening to me. A few days ago, I had a post appear from a year ago in my Facebook memories where I said I just finished applying for school. It almost felt surreal.

Five years ago, I was a college dropout because I was not ready for college and only went to stop my family from complaining. I didn’t have my mind set on what I wanted to study, I was burned out from my previous thirteen years of mandatory schooling, and I essentially floated around until I found my job two years after dropping out. Yes, I’m late and it’s not traditional college, but I still did the work and earned it. I am still a graduate! I got to the end of it.

While I wish I could’ve graduated on time with my high school classmates, I’m not terribly unhappy to finish now. Like I said, I was burned out from thirteen years of school and wanted no more to do with it. Plus, I was much less independent at that time. Yes, I relied on my family somewhat to get through school, but I traveled alone and most of the expenses came from my paychecks. When I went to college right after high school, it was the local community college that was a 30-minute walk away because I didn’t know what else to do, and it was the cheapest and closest option. Picking a further college meant I would’ve relied on my family to drive me to and from there. Not to mention scheduling classes was a mess. I very much prefer my trade school’s way: the entire program being certain days and hours. I don’t really want to go to class at 10pm. Or travel between two different campuses for classes!

Yes, it feels much better to go to school at my pace, not my family’s. Wouldn’t you know? School’s not so bad when you aren’t forced.

Hard Work… Didn’t Work

I am finished! And I’m surprised at how I did it!

My final assignment was a four-page research paper, and my final exam was one hundred questions. I finished the paper in two hours on the day it was assigned before I left school. How? Regurgitating what was in the textbook, though not verbatim. My effort was awarded with a 95, the highest grade I’ve ever received for an assignment in that class. I was fortunate if I got higher than a 70 for tests I studied for, yet lazy effort gets me my highest score. I was also the only student who turned it in on time. We were given four days to complete it.

Doesn’t end there. For my final exam, I was going the first student finished (a rarity!), and I finished in thirty minutes while the rest of my class took over an hour. My score? 91, the only A I received for a test in this class. Now, I did study for the exam, but not as much as I should’ve. In the end, I looked over my old tests for a few minutes and thought of some tricks to remember the answers to certain questions. That was a lot more helpful than studying.

Ultimately, I finished the entire program with a GPA of 3.41, which amounts to 89%, a B+. That one point will always bother me, but I passed and I’m just happy I did. I take that as proof I’m not so bad at academics. When I’m interested, that is. Not a new discovery, really.

The above said, I do not want to repeat this! These classes lasted for eight months in total, and my internship will take five weeks. I have no idea how people commit to this for years on end! Forget my age! I think I’d shoot myself if I had to juggle school and work for four years! Not to mention I barely kept my head above water with the financial struggle. Yes, it was worth it and I’m happy I did it, but traditional college can kiss my fat behind with its 2 to 4 year schedule of this! The program was fast-paced and hard to keep up with at times, but I am glad I chose a nine-month program instead of a 2 or 4-year one. It would’ve been worse if I chose the evening schedule for this program instead of the day, though still not as bad as community college.

That doesn’t mean I look down on any who goes the traditional college route. It just means I’m glad I didn’t! Eight months and I’m on to internship! I can celebrate!

I Think I May Miss Them

Shockingly, I made it through to the end of my trade school program.

I have one day left, and it’s not a full day. I have to go to take a final test, but after I finish, I can immediately go home. I also have one more payment due, which will be paid next Friday.

I’m currently waiting on a call for an interview for an internship position. If I’m approved for it, I’ll be working in a public school in a town that is, thankfully, much closer to my home than my school is. I’m very nervous about it because it’ll be my first interview for a non-retail job, which means the “cute and cheerful” persona won’t cut it.

Yesterday, our second-to-last day, we had a pizza party. Yes, despite being on a 500-calorie diet, I participated and went to gym later to burn it off. We took a few pictures too, and I have one of the whole class. Then, a feeling I never expected hit me.

We are really leaving.

I didn’t become friends with my classmates. We were friendly to each other, yes, but no friendships formed. Yet, when I look at the class picture I have on my phone, I think about how I spent the last eight months with this group and Monday will really be our last day as a class. Unless the stars align, chances are none of us will see each other again. I looked forward to internship, and to the end of this program, since I started it, especially since I had to withdraw and re-enter. Now that it’s here, I suddenly have an emotional conflict going on.

I truly may miss them.

I don’t know why. As I said, no friendships formed. There are no special bonds. I don’t know them beyond a few mentions of their personal lives here and there. There’s no reason I should feel this way. But I do.

For the sake of preserving their privacy, I won’t post the picture here. I uploaded it to Dropbox, and saved it on an SD card in my phone, to ensure it won’t be lost. I wonder where I’ll be a year from now, and how I’ll feel if I look back on that picture in 2020. Will I remember their names?

In lieu of the class picture, I’m going to end this post with a song I haven’t listened to in a few years that writing this out has brought to mind. The “friends forever” part sure won’t happen, though.

“Somehow today, we have to say… goodbye.”

The Point of No Return – Part 2

Previous related post.

I took the final for my second-to-last class yesterday. I struggled a lot with this class and didn’t do well, but in the end, I did pass. Shockingly, I could’ve failed the final and still passed, though I’m glad I didn’t. Today is the start of the last of my school’s program. What then?

According to the program, internship follows the end of classes. To say I’m anxious would be an understatement.

Yes, I’m happy school is almost over, especially considering all of the trouble I had to go through to reach the end. I’m still disappointed I couldn’t stay with the first class and graduate on December 4th of last year, but I suppose it doesn’t matter now. At the same time, the only work experience I have is in retail and I truly fear I can’t do anything else.

Retail is difficult in that it’s tedious, repetitive, and draining, the latter especially if you’re an introvert. However, the jobs themselves – at least, my positions – are relatively easy. As a cashier, I stand in one spot, push buttons on a computer, scan barcodes, take money, and put the stuff in bags. The end. As a floor associate, the job description is less “fancy” than that: clean the floor and racks, and put merchandise back. You could teach a child how to do these jobs. Yet, even retail can prove to have its challenge because when I had full-time position for a few months, I ultimately failed because the workload crushed me like a 1,000-pound weight. And I wouldn’t try to get into the hell above that. I’ve yet to meet a manager who likes their job (“Don’t do it! It’s a trap!”), including my own. Two of my managers felt the need to lecture me about all the insanity and stress managers puts up with, and I get the point! Of course, that brings into question why they chose it. One of those two implied he doesn’t think lower employees/associates have the right to feel stressed because of what managers deal with. That’s another reason to stay away from management. I prefer not to look down on people. But I digress.

What I’m trying to say is if I can’t keep with a retail job unless it’s part-time, how on Earth could I do anything else? I’ve heard of people getting very close to graduation, only to quit weeks or days before, and I think I’m beginning to understand why. Taking classes on the subject is not the same as doing the real job. Even interviews are different. As far as I can tell, I ultimately got hired at the stores I worked at because I faked being cute, cheerful, and my awkwardness didn’t scare anyone off. That doesn’t work in interviews for what I’m studying, and having trouble talking will likely mean I bomb over a dozen interviews, if I get any at all. And yes, I do practice. Again, practice and the real thing aren’t the same.

Of course, all of this anxiety is irrelevant if I fail this final class, so maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. I should pass before I talk anymore.

Eve of New Year’s Eve

Counting today, there are two more days left of 2018. Truthfully, I am glad. I hated this year and I’ve been dying for it to be over since it started. Usually, there’s something that makes me not entirely regret a bad year, but 2018 is not in that category. I can call it the second worst year of my life (first worst was 2010).

In chronological order, and from bad to worse:

  • I lost my full-time position because I couldn’t keep up with the workload. Actually, I had to step down from it to avoid being fired for incompetence. If I’d know taking a promotion meant putting your employment on the line, I never would’ve asked for it.
  • I had to delay school by two months for the very stupid reason of my birthday falling after the deadline! Seriously, what pompous a**hole thought that was a good set-up? I would’ve been done with school by now, and wouldn’t have had to struggle with the hell of juggling holiday hours and school hours.
  • Falling out with my sister. We didn’t get along to begin with, but she tried to blackmail me and attempted to start a family feud via my boyfriend. I very nearly cut our relationship completely because he went behind my back to her, but he apologized and I did find out part of it was her taking advantage of his anxiety (which does notoriously make him do stupid things).
  • The Black Friday shooting I was part of. I didn’t have the heart to return to that job, and I still haven’t set foot in that mall. I’ve thought about it, but knowing that’s an annual event at that mall is too much for me to feel good about going back. And yes, I know a shooting can happen anywhere, but when it’s so commonplace that knowing it happens every year is supposed to be comforting instead of terrifying, that’s not my idea of a safe working environment. Or shopping one, for that matter. (Interestingly, I’ve been more easily startled by loud sounds since this incident, especially crowd noise)

Not a damn good thing came out of this year, and I’d gladly burn it to the ground if I could. I don’t have hopes for 2019, especially since it’s supposed to (key word) be the year I finish trade school and go into the field I studied. Note to self: avoid anything to do with networking at all costs. I’m almost expecting it to be worse than 2018, considering certain circumstances I don’t feel like getting into.

500% done with this year!