Not Old (Yet), Not Young

I’m 28. Maybe that isn’t old, but it certainly isn’t young either. Really, I stopped being honest about my age offline after I turned 26.

I talked a little before about teaching myself coding. The good news is there are a lot of community spaces for learners and newbies. The discouraging news is I find myself very outmatched in age. It seems in so many, if not all, of these spaces, everyone started coding at the age I was still carrying around a teddy bear.

Yes, yes, I know. “You’re never too old.” But figures of speech are just that. Figures of speech. I can never stop being reminded I wasted my youthful years doing… whatever I was doing that is wildly insignificant now. If God is real, when I die, I will ask why he didn’t give me better intuition as a small child. Seriously, why did I miss out on the intuition to build a necessary skill? Probably because I was stupid and wanted to build blocks, and adults let me so I would shut up and stop crying. *sigh*

Eh. Maybe that’s harsh (probably not), but if I had a child, I would absolutely get them started on coding and programming at as early an age as possible so they avoid this problem. Even if they grew to not want a career related to IT, they’d have a skill they can fall back on. That’s the one thing I miss about not having a child. I won’t have the pleasure of watching my child have a better and brighter future than I do. Granted, I’m fantasizing, but I know I do that a lot. I’m beginning to understand why some parents live through their kids. It’s tough to admit you don’t have the capacity/capability to reach your dreams, and your kid has better chances than you via youth. That’s a terrible thing to do to a kid, but I think I understand it.

Truthfully, I don’t think I am capable of learning because coding is such a humongous field, and IT never stops evolving. There will always be things to catch up on, so I have no idea at what point I could consider myself employable, if that point can arrive. Supposedly, it’s not about memorization, but I want to see how that holds up in an actual job. I feel like it doesn’t. But I’ve also known for a long time I’m not good at anything, so why am I talking like this is surprising? It’s not, but you get my drift. I mean, I’m good at finishing coursework, but so are kindergartners, so who cares? I want a skill most tiny children don’t have, not one most do.

Well, this quickly delved into a post of self-loathing. But it’s really honesty and trying to humor myself. I remember being asked what’s unique about me, and I answered I don’t know because I don’t know. Professionally, there is nothing unique about me. I work in a warehouse, I worked in retail, and I finished coursework. By the way, roughly 39% of the US population has a bachelor’s (not associate’s, which is what mine will be) degree, and it can still not be enough to qualify for anything. It really is little more than a piece of paper to bypass filters. Part of me feels like I’m getting it solely to prove I’m not a total idiot (of course, the two are not mutually exclusive).

Do I have any positivity to add to this post? I really don’t. I’m painfully aware my thirtieth birthday is coming sooner than I would like, and I’m simply glad there is no upcoming high school reunion.

Well, I can always achieve my dreams through fictitious means. And really, my only dream was financial stability. I didn’t even reach for the sky and I still fell flat. Ouch.

A Degree’s Value

“No one told you to return to college.”

This statement comes from my mom when I make the mistake of of venting about my frustration of paying for college out of pocket.

When I remind her she, and the rest of the family, nagged me relentlessly about college when I was in high school, she retorts, “You were a teenager!”

I feel this sums up the mentality surrounding college in a nutshell. If nothing else, it proves many people who relentlessly push college, like my mom, do so only because it’s “the next step”. Not because they have any understanding, not because they know what it entails, not because they think the cost is worth it, but solely because “it’s what you’re supposed to do”.

But the super irritating part for me is this statement makes my mom a hypocrite. She returned to college beyond her teens. She attended college when I was fifteen years old, putting her in her late thirties. However, nothing came of that experience and the college shut down some years later. Supposedly, the college was not consider legitimate. I don’t know for certain if that’s the case, but I know my mom did not research colleges beforehand (she never researches anything) and she’s technologically illiterate in general, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case.

A few nights ago, three friends and I had a night out together. We talked, played pool, and ate at a restaurant (with unpleasantly loud music). Something I found interesting is we all had degrees – or, in my case, in the process of getting a degree – but none of us were in our fields.

  • Friend #1 has a degree in criminal justice, and works in recruiting for a major company (unrelated to police or security).
  • Friend #2 has a degree in early childhood education and works as a security guard (albeit in a high school, so he still works with kids).
  • Friend #3 has a degree in liberal studies and works as a cashier at our local mall.
  • I am completing a degree in information technology management, and I want to be a designer.

I commented I was the last to have a degree, and one friend said, “At least, you’re getting it.”

Despite none of them use their degrees beyond the sake of getting their resumes past the filters – and that will likely be the case for mine as well – they were all content with their careers and expressed no regret for their degrees. I share this sentiment about getting my degree. I don’t like the debt, but I enjoy the experience and am eager for December.

Expectations

An excerpt from a passage about educators’ expectations for students, preceded by “Educators expect students to display a passion for learning.”

I think educators need to set their expectations to reality.

This is akin to expecting a passionate answer for why you want to work a minimum wage job. I’d argue it’s worse. At least, you’re paid for the time you invest in that job. College is the other way around. You pay them to invest your time. Not to mention grades are what determine whether or not you pass the class, not passion.

Perhaps if “general ed” weren’t a requirement, educators would see more students with a passion for learning because said students won’t have to get the course over with to get to the courses they have interest in.

I hate essays. I hate being told what to write about and what formats to use. I hate having to pad out papers for the sake of fulfilling the requirements. The fluff has proven to be more irritating than much else. The fact that almost no one would participate in discussion if it weren’t a requirement should say something.

What I hate most is needing to pretend I have something nice to say when I don’t. No, this essay about songbirds doesn’t make me want to learn about songbirds. It’s too long, nearly put me to sleep, and I’m relieved it’s over. No, I don’t want to tell you where I’m taking my classes from. These classes are online and my location is not your concern. I don’t care you like roller coasters and you don’t care I eat too many sweets.

The essay I completed is not due for two weeks, but I did it on the first day because I wanted to get to the point. And the point was “complete this assignment”. I didn’t turn it in, but I completed it. Now, I wait. In the meantime, I’m still trying to come up with a sugary, fluffy introduction for the discussion boards. As this post may suggest, I am only good with the sugar that goes in my mouth. Faking sweetness? Not so much.

There are classes I’m interested in required for my degree, but “English” and “First Year Experience” aren’t on that list. I would prefer Spanish and a class about finances. Unfortunately, not options at the moment, so I’m doing what I need to do to get to them.

On the upside, it seems these classes are providing sufficient material for my blog. I can’t remember the last time I did back-to-back posts.

Time For School!

Yesterday was my first day of returning to school. I now remember why I never liked English or “general ed” classes. I can’t think of anywhere else there is so much fluff and fakery. I think I’d be willing to pay more in tuition if everyone would get the point and I didn’t need to read five paragraphs of fluff to care about what the heck you’re talking about!

I realize the irony of this when I keep a blog. But my blog isn’t mandatory. It’s something I keep for my feelings. Since any response less stuffed than my teddy bears isn’t acceptable, I’m putting my real answers to the intro questions here. I’ll fake something for the teachers later.

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Starting At The Bottom

There’s a rap song my uncle likes with that lyric… Huh.

Anyway, there is a subreddit for employees of the company I now work for, though it’s not very active. I replied to one topic that asked if anyone enjoys their job (the person who posted the question does not, though they’d started only a week prior to asking, and it’s their first job ever). Most of the users who commented expressed disliking the job, though that doesn’t surprise me because the company itself has a terrible reputation. My location is good, however, and I enjoy it, so I added my own comment. Unfortunately, there was a user who doesn’t think I should like it:

I’m sorry but leaving the jobs you got from a degree to start a bottom level manual labor at Amazon doesn’t seem like the best decision…if you already have a degree apply for higher levels, it doesn’t make sense to waste a degree on a entry level job anyone can do, imo.

This is stupidly funny to me for more reasons than I care to count, mainly being if it’s a job anyone can do, why are so many people complaining? Putting that aside, this person thinks they know the best decision the life of a total stranger. Sounds like my family, actually.

It’s worth noting this user apparently didn’t read my full original comment because he/she had the idea I voluntarily left the former jobs. At least, read everything before giving unasked for advice. My reply was as follows:

As I said, [company] pays more than both of those jobs [I was fired from], so it’s not a decision I regret, especially since both bored the living hell out of me anyway and one proved to be the adult rendition of high school. “Anyone can do” retail too, yet I fucking can’t stand it.

I don’t really care about being at the bottom level. It’s more satisfying than the other jobs because I don’t have to pretend to be busy for almost nine hours. I actually am busy (and I work for six unless I choose otherwise; I hate long hours). School isn’t going anywhere, and neither is my “degree” that proved to be more of a waste (I really don’t give a shit about it at this point) of my time and money. If I’d known high school clique and seat warming jobs were all I’d get from it, I never would’ve pursued it. I didn’t voluntarily leave. I got fired, one of which, as I said, was for not having a new BFF within four days. But that’s a much better environment… /s

Obviously, some people enjoy office jobs and that’s cool. To each, their own. I, however, do not. I don’t like pretending to be busy and I’d rather my job not depend on how fast I make friends (ironically, I have made friends at [company]).

I haven’t even hit ninety days at [company] (79 days), so I’m not comfortable applying for something higher yet. I’d rather stick around for at least a year before I do. I’m also not a fan of management in any industry (management positions have too much stress and too many restrictions), so even if I wanted a higher position, that’d be out.

No job is a waste if you actually like it.

I’ve yet to receive a reply, and I doubt I will. It seems to stun people others may not share their view what of life’s goals should be for each and every person. While I doubt I’ll stay at this company for the rest of my life, I’m happy with it now and I’m not looking for a new job or another position. Frankly, I wish it were more common to recognize everyone lives a different life and sees things differently, and what’s a bad decision for one person may be better for someone else. Someone’s life choices don’t have to make sense to you. They’re not yours and they’re not affecting you.

Do not use your life to judge’s someone else’s. You have your life. Let them be with theirs.

EDIT: The user did reply, and to sum his responses, he doesn’t consider himself an asshole for telling someone they should live their life according to his standards. Of course. Well, that’s part for the course for Reddit. Or really, for humans in general. If one job made someone miserable, it must make everyone miserable. Isn’t that called “crabs in a bucket”?