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.”

Positivity: Real vs Fake

There’s something about I’ve noticed about self-proclaimed “positive” people. Actually, any person who screams “if you don’t like your life, change it, don’t complain!”

They will scream this, even if you are doing that.

For some reason I will never understand, it seems these types of people believe complaining and working to change your life can’t be done simultaneously. Weird. Like people.

I’m currently in school. That’s considered by most people to be a step in changing your life. But if I had a dime for every time I complained about school – having to wake up early, balancing work and a job (two jobs at one point), running on little sleep, studying, the $200+ I must pay monthly to attend school, the lessons I struggle with, the boring days, keeping up with my grades – I could probably pay off my student loans in a month.

But I still attend school, so I’m still changing my life like these people scream I should be doing. And it’s still not good enough for them. And honestly, school is just still one thing.

If nothing else, I’ve learned most people who scream “change your life” don’t really care what you do. It just makes them feel better to look at someone as negative or a poor example for feeling bad for a day, no matter how much effort they’re putting in to improve their life. Because everyone knows if you really were making a change, it’d be instant and you’d never have a bad day again. Yes, that’s sarcasm. I hope it was obvious.

Real positive people don’t look down on others, don’t preach about how positive they are, and actually understand feeling bad is human instead of shaming people for it. They also practice what they preach instead of giving out advice they themselves don’t follow (assuming it’s applicable to their life at the moment). And this might be a stretch, but I imagine positive people also don’t join certain communities and single out a person for the content of those communities when they knew it ahead of time. Or have spies in that community, for that matter.

In short, real positive people aren’t bullies under the guise of “positivity”. If you’re going to scream at someone to “change their life”, the very least you can do is know beforehand if they’re already doing that. If you don’t care to know that, you’re blowing smoke and nothing more. And since this is the internet, the latter is the most likely scenario. In which case, I say to your “facts”…

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.