Tag Archives: college

My College Career – Part END

17 Jul

Start hereMost recent episode.

My new description as a Sociology major was an interesting one to step into.

The first thing that struck me as I sat through my first class was the personality type.  Art people (especially art people in Eugene) are stereotypical.  Eugene, OR is already a supremely hippie town and when having a major that is dependent on a desire for it you tend to get a certain type of person.  More so, that type of person tends to teach the classes.

Now, I don’t know if this was because a lot of the people in my classes were second and third year students because of the levels of my classes (including a statistics class that they tried to tell me I couldn’t take because I hadn’t taken college Algebra….which I refuted with the fact that I had taken Calculus…..) but they were so immature.  There were classes where people slept obnoxiously through.  Answered their phones.  Didn’t turn in the work.  A sense of laziness and entitlement.

It was sort of disgruntling.  Here I was driving 4 hours round-trip twice a week to take classes to get that piece of paper that said I was edumicated and there were people that didn’t even bother showing up.  That was fine when it only affected themselves, but there were so many group projects that I ended up doing myself.

One of the greatest examples of this was when I volunteered to take notes for the campus group that pairs those notes with people that need them (since I’m such a visual person, my notes tend to be….fairly long and detailed).  Later on I discovered that the person I was taking these notes for was on the basketball team.  She needed them for when she was away on games.  Not a problem.  I understand.  But when she showed up for maybe 3 classes total?  When I had to email the notes to her because she couldn’t show up for me to hand them to her?  And when a person on the same team as her shows up?  AND when I hand you my painstakingly taken notes, you snub your nose up and think you are so much better than me because you are on a college sports team?  No.  Not cool.

But things progressed.  I quickly learned my route to and from school and occasionally would become startled to realize that I was almost at my exit from I-5, not being able to remember passing through Salem at all.

I took some amazing classes and learned a lot.  I now had a big word to throw out (Ethnomethodology) and knew what it meant (how people interact with each other in it’s most basic sense).  It ended up being the class I remember most because of the professor.  He was a tiny little man who had spent years with the Aboriginals in Australia, studying their societies.  He also spent years with Tibetan monks studying their debate skills.  Our final project was to videotape an intersection on campus and break down what we saw.  This intersection, when looking outside of being on a college campus, would seem like death to anyone.  It was a T shaped intersection, with the base of the T and the left side of it being one-ways and the right being a two way street.  The only stop sign was on the right side and there were no crosswalks.  Miraculously enough, it flowed.  It flowed better than it did when there were stop signs and crosswalks, in fact.  Learning that and seeing the habit that if someone stopped where there wasn’t a crosswalk the cars behind them would stop, would turn on their blinker if the car in front of them did, and tons of people would cross wherever they could was endlessly entertaining.  It has helped my driving, to say the least.

Overall, I was content.  I knew that I would graduate in the winter of 2005.  I knew that what I was learning may not lead to a perfect job after, but it would give me basic skills and was entertaining.  I had my dad’s permission to get married that summer (not that he would have tried to stop it, but since I was almost done, and I wanted to marry in the summer, it worked out well).  Life was good.

I did not attend my graduation ceremony.  Driving that 2 hour trip again just to sit outside with a bunch of people that I didn’t know to get a piece of paper was not interesting to me (I had already gone through a ceremony at Cottey College that meant so much more to me).

I received that piece of paper in the mail about a month later and just sat, staring at it.  I was done.  Finished.  I graduated and was considered educated.

Now what?
What did that paper mean other than I had spent thousands of dollars to put information into my head?  That I could determine the difference between Renaissance and Rococo?  That I know how to break down people’s interactions and how to interrupt someone successfully?

I still have nightmares occasionally.  Missing classes, missing papers, forgetting that I was in school at all.  It’s been almost 4 years since I graduated and they still occur.

It doesn’t help that I actually almost did miss a final.  In my second year at UofO, I had studied my psycology notes, ready for my final.  I arrived 45 minutes early, as is my usual and sat in my usual seat in the huge lecture hall.  I noticed people were handing things in, and my heart stopped.  Then I noticed people were taking out papers and calculators.  I pulled out my planner and saw that I had gotten them mixed up.  It was my Art History final today.  Italian Renaissance Art, in fact.  On the other side of campus.  I had ten minutes to make it and pray that I would pass the final that I hadn’t studied for.

I was so proud of that B.

Maybe someday the nightmares will go away.  Maybe someday I’ll figure out what I’m suppose to do.  Until then?  I shall live my life, knowing that the college experience made me a stronger person, allowed me to experience situations that otherwise I never would have experienced and met people that I never would have met (for the good and the bad).

I am thankful.

And if you’ve read all this, you get a cookie.  And cake.  And a hug.

Oh yeah, and a cute baby.

*drool included

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My College Career – Part Five

10 Jul

For Part One. For Part Two. For Part Three. For Part Four.

I did not expect this to go so long!  So if you’ve been reading it all, have a cookie!  If not, you can still have a cookie!

So I had escaped from Florida back home.  I was also hit with the realization that what I thought had been my dream job, no longer was.  I had decided that I would finish up school with my degree and see where it took me.

Thank goodness for Mr. Soup.  He grounded me in a way that I desperately needed.  I was feeling supremely lost and confused, my future was so uncertain.  But I knew one thing for sure and that was that I loved him and was ready for that future.

I had promised my father that I would graduate before I got married, so back to school I went.  But not in the normal manner.  I would become a commuter student, living in my parent’s house and working at Office Depot but arrainging my schedule so I would only have to be on campus Tusedays and Thursdays and work the rest of the time.

Normally, this wouldn’t seem too bad.  Free rent, good job, etc.  Here’s the kicker: I lived 2 hours away from the University of Oregon.

Yup, 2 hours.

I would be driving 4 hours a day twice a week.

Mr. Soup, my family and I crunched the numbers and we crunched them hard.  We discovered that it would be cheaper for me to live up there, working at the job that I had, and driving down unless gas got about $3.  Which it didn’t.

That fall I went down to meet with my advisor and plan the last bit of my career.  After meeting with her, I was told something shocking.

I had taken “all the wrong classes”.  I was stunned.  Having done what they told me to, apparently it was all wrong.  I wouldn’t be able to graduate for another 3-4 years if I stuck with my Art major.

I was furious.

After a deep breath and several tears in the bathroom of the Art building, I squared my shoulders and walked down to the Administrative building.  I sat for 30 minutes to wait to speak with a general advisor.

Almost 2 hours later, I left.  I was now a Sociology major.  I would be able to graduate a year from then.

I wasn’t excited, but I was content.  I would be out of there sooner rather than later, I didn’t love Sociology but wasn’t bored by it.  I also understood it.  And it would be a B.S. so I wouldn’t have to take a language (which is why I didn’t change to Art History).

Driving home that day was rough.  I had officially given up my dream.  No longer would I be an animator, but that was okay.  I was going to graduate.  I had an amazing fiance.  My future, although it wouldn’t be anything like I thought it would be, would be wonderful.

My College Career – Part Four

26 Jun

For Part OneFor Part TwoFor Part Three.

I had just moved into a new apartment with new roommates at Walt Disney World.  Now that I wouldn’t be tortured by indescribable people, things would be easier.

When I moved in, no body was in the apartment.  I chose the first room because it looked to be the most empty and was clean.  I unpacked and made myself at home before meeting my other roommates.  The girl sharing my room was a quiet Japanese girl, also from the University of Oregon.  The other roommate was from UofO too.  I figured it was a good sign and felt comfortable and safe for the first time in several months.

I rarely saw my true roommate.  She had an opposite shift than I did and so was always working when I was home.  My other roommate had fewer shifts than I did (I don’t remember what her job was) and always seemed to be home.  She also always seemed to be sitting on the couch watching TV.  I don’t even know if she ever went to work, in fact.  She introduced herself to me by asking me to buy her alcohol since I was over 21 and she was not.  Of course, I refused.  I suspect she had some alcohol issues because one night I was woken up by her sitting.  On my bed.  Mumbling about something and smelling very strongly of rum.  We always locked our bedroom door after that.

We finally got internet in the apartments.  This meant I didn’t have to go down to the computer room to submit my homework and was also able to chat with my then fiance on MSN.  Unfortunately, they placed the jack to the internet in a corner of the room that also happened to be where the couch was in our apartment.

I had been doing an art project earlier in the day, shading with a q-tip so I didn’t get my fingers gross.  I put the pages away and left the q-tip on the counter, because my phone had rung.  It was Mr. Soup.  We talked for a bit and after hanging up, got distracted and forgot to throw the q-tip away.  My roommate yelled at me, calling me a slob and all sorts of lovely things.  I let it brush off of me and went into my room to watch a movie.

The next day, Mr. Soup called to tell me to get online because he had something to show me.  I had my cellphone pressed against my head and my laptop under my arm to go out to the living area to ask my roommate to move off the couch so I could move it to get to the jack.  She ignored me.  When I asked her again, she just turned the TV up louder, ignoring me again.  I put down the phone and laptop and shoved against the couch to move it out of the way physically, then sat down on the floor and picked up the phone again.  As I was setting up the internet on my computer, I was talking to Mr. Soup still.  The roommate proceeded to turn the volume up.  All the way.  I couldn’t hear myself think, let alone anything he was saying.  So I said I would chat him when I got connected and hung up.  I then proceeded to shout at the top of my lungs that I was off the phone so she could turn it down.

Her reply?

“What?  I can’t hear you, the TV is up too loud.”

So I stood up and went to turn down the TV manually.  She leaps off the couch and pushes me into the wall.  Hard.  I proceeded to stand there shocked.  I had just been physically assaulted by this child of a roommate.  I finally blinked out of it to go get the phone to call the police.  I knew that if I retaliated I would do something worse than push her into the wall.  I would leave marks.  She threw the phone against the wall, breaking it.  So I grabbed my keys and left to go physically present my assault.

I was told that since there were no marks and no witnesses they couldn’t do anything.  Even with the history of violence and troubles that this girl had.

When they offered to get us counceling, I knew I was done.  I only had a couple weeks left, but it was too much.  I wanted to be home.  I wanted to be planning my wedding.  I did not want to be in the hot and sweaty state, with roommates that thought it was okay to touch me without my permission.  I would be leaving a great job and great friends, but would be safe.

I don’t like not feeling safe.  A couple weeks later, I was on a plane home.  Mr. Soup was planning his trip to move from Indiana to Oregon.

I had also made a decision.  I didn’t want to be an animator anymore.  I didn’t have the drive or the desire.  My entire college plan would be changed in the coming months.

To be continued next Friday….

My College Career – Part Three

19 Jun

For Part OneFor Part Two.

I got the postcard in the mail.  The front was yellow with happy people and Mickey Mouse on it.  I knew what it was and was nervous to turn it over.  But I did.

And there, on the bottom was the part I was hoping to see.  I was going to be in the Operations section.  I could be doing the Jungle Cruise!  Or The Great Movie Ride!  I was so excited!  I was done with living with that many girls in such a small place and done with the classes.  Ready for a new adventure, even if it would only be a few months relief.

Eventually, Spring Break arrived.  I packed up what I would need in two suitcases and flew out East.  I had a layover in Oklahoma to see a good friend.  Had a blast in the 36 hours I was there and then continued on.  On the flight into Orlando, I sat with a lady and a guy, both flying into Florida for different reasons.  We talked the entire way there.  I knew then that this was meant to be.  God was opening too many doors and I was too at peace for it to be otherwise.

I arrived the day before check in and was picked up by another friend in the area.  He dropped me off at a hotel near the area and I fell asleep after calling a cab for the morning.

I am someone who likes to be early to anything.  If I am on time, my mind thinks its late.  So I arrived for the 8am check-in at 7:30.  I hung out and chatted with a couple other people that were early like me and waited in line.  We then went down the row and got our apartment assignments and our job assignments.

I opened my white envelope and almost dropped it with surprise.  I wasn’t going to be doing the Jungle Cruise or the Great Movie Ride.  I was going to be driving a truck for Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  I had gone to Walt Disney World in 98 when the park first opened and it was always my favorite ride.

I walked into a little tent area to sign paperwork and get more information for the next plan before orientation.  There, I saw the guy who interviewed me.  I went to him and almost started crying.  I thanked him profusely for this opportunity.  He just smiled and said “I recommended you for this position.  I knew you would be wonderful at it.”

I then found my apartment and my excitement went down just a bit.  I was rooming with 5 girls who had been together for 4 months already.  To add to that feeling of being an intrusion, I also was the only white girl.  Now, this didn’t throw me off at first.  But gradually, as I got to know the girls, the prejudice against me was strong enough to touch.  Of the five girls, one was from Mexico, one from Haiti, one from Puerto Rico, one from Nigeria and one from another Caribbean island.  When they discovered that I also had a job in Operations, I had never felt more unwelcome.  They were all in either housekeeping or food service and held it against me.

Things started out okay as long as I kept to myself.  Over the next two months though, when they saw that the basic exclusionary tactics of ignoring and moving my stuff didn’t do anything, things became rougher.

My first day on the job was wonderful.  I discovered that I was one of 6 interns that were slotted into the Safari staff.  6 out of close to 75 staff total.  I was lucky!  The first few days were spent learning our script and the positions.  There were 6 pages of script as well as the animal facts.

If you have never been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and rode the Kilimanjaro Safaris, let me summarize.  You load onto a custom GMC truck and get prepared for a 2 week safari through the Harambe Reserve.  It leaves the dock and you start with the forest, which have Okapi, Bongo, Black Rhino and the bloody Guineafowl.  These Guineafowl were about the size of a chicken.  And when you are sitting 10 feet up in a 40 foot long truck, they are very difficult to see.  In the forest, the Guineafowl and the Bongo were the only ones free ranging.  The Okapi, being very shy, were hiding in a back area behind a hidden fence.  The Black Rhino chills across a river area.  Then come the Hippo and Nile Crocodiles.  After a bit of a hill and a waterfall, you are overlooking the Savannah.  It is such a great view.  In there are the Thompson Gazelle’s, Giraffe, Impala and Greater Kudu.  Then a section with the Mandrill’s before the Elephants.  After the elephants are Flamingos, a pair of White Rhinos (which are called White not because of their color, but in fact because their mouths are wide and the White comes from the Africaans word for wide, which was mis-interpreted as white), Cheetah, Lions and Ostrich.  Then, we get word from a “tour guide” in the air that a baby elephant has been stolen!  We have to go “save” Little Red.  Upon crossing the last little cattle gate, we race along a switchback trail at a whole 5 mph to successfully capture the poachers!  *whew*

After passing my recitation and driving test (let me tell you how fun it is to park those puppies!), I was a full driver and proceeded to drive for 4-6 10 hour days a week.  As the days wore on, I made friends easily with the drivers.  We were buddies.  We would go to movies, the other parks, all sorts of things.

But I was having a hard time with the “home” part of life at Disney.  Things had started to get dirty.  My days started between 4:30 and 5am.  Theirs all ended after 10pm.  When they got home from their work days, they would all sit in the living area and talk to each other, using their loudest voices.  If I went out to ask them to be quieter, they would tell me I was dreaming or hearing things.  I received letters saying that no one wanted me there.  I would get my food eaten and my items rummaged around in.

I took to staying with some friends that were in the apartment downstairs.  I slept more often on their couch than in my bed.  I had processed reports, but nothing good came of them until finally I requested to move.  Finally, I received permission to change apartments, but would have to pay the fee.  I said fine, anything to get me out of that situation.

During this time, I was also taking two online classes.  We only had dial-up on the campus, so it took longer to do my work than I thought.  One of my classes was a family psychology and sociology class, the other was Astronomy.  Because of the dial-up issues, and the lack of understanding of the program that they used for the class (a program that a friend who had a doctorate in Physics and taught Astronomy didn’t understand), I didn’t get what was taught.  I couldn’t drop the class though, because I would lose my financial aid.  So I stayed with the class and just didn’t do any of the work.  I knew I would get an F in the class, but would keep my financial aid.  My GPA was a 3.6, so I wasn’t too worried.

Moving into the new apartment was a relief.  I had some friends come over in the evening before everyone got home from work and we transported all my stuff into the new apartment across the way.  I would be safe from the taunting and the torture.

Or so I thought.

My College Career – Part Two

12 Jun

When I last left you, I had just graduated with my Associates Degree from Cottey College.

I’d decided to transfer to the University of Oregon because

  • I missed the Northwest.
  • I missed my family.
  • It had what I wanted.
  • In-state tuition baby!
  • I missed the Northwest.

That spring, I packed everything up to move down south and into an apartment with a friend.  There were going to be three additional roommates.  Making 5 college girls in a three bedroom apartment with 2 bathrooms.

By the middle of summer, I had gotten a job at the local movie theater (another post on that in the future, I’m sure) and was settled in, ready to start my new college career.

I had met with my adviser and planned out the coming years.  I was ready.  My goal of becoming an animator or at least working for an animation company was on its way.

I had gotten most of my prereqs done at Cottey and so just had to do any general classes that didn’t transfer and work on my art major.  I was ready to expand.

I took printing, painting, drawing, animation and all sorts of art history.  I met tons of crazy and sane, interesting and boring, smart and dumb people.  The diversity was large and so were the classes.

But after a year and a half, I was tired.  So tired of the drama, the crap, the exhaustion.  At one point during that past year and a half, I had locked myself in the bathroom at the apartment with my roommate/friend T while another roommate’s (K) boyfriend (who was living with us and not paying rent) had stolen some drug dealer’s CDs and they came to collect.  By pounding on the windows and door.  I had also become a mediator for two of the roommate’s friendship, M and J.  M ended up moving out, but not before she called me a thief and said I stole her cheese.  I’m lactose intolerant and it was so bad back then I couldn’t eat cheese at all.

After that first year, I moved into a new house with J and her friends C and L.  We also sent out an ad for a 5th roommate to share an older five bedroom house.  This house was entertaining, because it didn’t have a single right angle anywhere in it.  In fact, we use to roll marbles from C’s room to L’s on the other end of the house for amusement.

But this situation didn’t get much better, even with the addition of

The cutest puppy in the world.

the cutest puppy in the world.

She helped me through a really difficult time and made life worth living again.  She was also a great New Years date:

New Years Kiss

New Years Kiss

But I wasn’t happy.

One day, I walked by the student center in between classes.  I don’t know why I walked by there, because I usually took a different way home, but I did.  And I saw a poster, like hundreds of other posters.  This one saying Walt Disney World was looking for interns to work the parks.  The meeting happened to be starting a couple hours later that night.  I didn’t have work.  I figured “Why not?” so went home to change into interview appropriate clothing and came back.

Throughout the meeting thing, other students stood up and said how much they loved it, blah de blah, even picking up trash (“yeah right” I remember thinking).  Those who were still interested, at the end of the speech part, could stay and be interviewed in groups of four.  I, once again, said “Why not?” and stuck around, chatting with one of the students who had done it before.

Then my turn came.  The group that I was with was like planning on going to a party with a group of friends that are less attractive than you by a significant amount.  It was like these people had never been interviewed before, which I realize now is entirely possible.  I sounded all the more intelligent because of that.  The guy asking the questions began asking them all to me first and replying with “Great answer!” or “What a brilliant comment”.  Really boosted my self-esteem, let me tell you!

Upon leaving, they told us to expect a note saying whether we were accepted and what area of the park we would be accepted into (Concessions, Clean-up, Operations (running the rides), etc.).  We wouldn’t find out what specific job we would get until arrival if we accepted.

Several weeks passed.  And then, I got a postcard in the mail.

To Be Continued…..