Entry 33: School
I bet no one was that excited for going back to school after a long and lazy summer (unless you're a nerd, haha, just joshing). But after graduating from a four-year college program and going into the workforce, I really miss school.
The biggest thing I do/don't miss about school was the environment. College felt like High School: Part 2, and as a result it seemed like no one understood how to take school seriously with a mature attitude, including myself. Ultimately, my time spent in school was to improve my understanding of the real world, except we were to learn it from within a protective and naive bubble that is called the academic world.
My high school career consisted of basic classes that no one enjoyed: history, language, math, and etc.. My high school, specifically, had a small population of 400 students, which meant there was no variety in elective classes. Fortunately, I was able to find solace in Computer Animation, one of the few art programs available. It was then that I decided to hone my calling in the art field and proceed with college after graduation.
College after high school also seems like the unnecessary career path nowadays. I believe a few decades ago was the best opportunity to earn a degree in order to earn a great career, but it now seems faux pas for everyone to earn a degree with the expectation that you'll land in the job of your dreams. It's as if everyone has the winning lottery ticket and employers need something better.
In hindsight, I wish high school offered better career-path scenarios to help guide students to a dream job. You are told to work hard, but that type of advice isn't alway clear-cut.
My advise for those now attending college: make the most of the elective classes. Although it seems tempting to finish all the required courses first, you'll eventually burn yourself out and start hating school. I would recommend peppering in a few "special" classes that spark your interest, even if they are outside your field of study.
One class I took for "fun" was a theatre course. I assisted in playing the CD player for the stage music, which was simple enough, but a few semesters later we stepped up it up a notch. We undertook John Buchan's The Thirty-Nine Steps, an adventure/drama about spies and murder. This time I was tasked to learn a sound program called QLab from scratch, because it was professionally recommended and no one in our department had actually used it before.
After using a useless manual and teaching myself, I was designated as the sound engineer for the theatre department. I fell in love with the technical side of theatre that it eventually became my minor. And on a side note, theatre people are weird, but in a good way. Their weirdness rubs off on you, and you get engulfed in the madness that Shakespeare himself fell entrapped to.
I would also recommend building a professional relationship with the teachers and professors. A lot of them don't get paid well, but they chose the academic career because they want to teach. The least you could do is strive to learn from these amazing people. Mot of them have quirks that fit their respective fields; math teachers are witty and enjoy puns, chemistry teachers love blowing things up even though they don't openly admit it, theatre teachers love to pretend and always enjoy fleshing out the true character hidden within you, and art teachers always try to think outside the box without regards to safety.
One of my most memorable moments during a class was when my favorite art professor and I were trying to make space for equipment in the art workshop. I suggested that we remove a circular sander attachment from a belt sander, and all we had to do was use a hex screwdriver. My professor grabbed a set of 10 screwdrivers and he gave me this look that said, "let's do this." We took turns to guess which screwdriver was needed, and even though the race took one minute, is was so much fun.
Although I could entertain you with stories that are action-packed with emotional dramas, but I personally enjoyed the little moments with each professor. My English professor and I built a great relationship as well, and even though I only had two courses with her, we would always smile and chat whenever we passed by between classes. She even remembered my name after three years.
Lastly, don't take for granted the time you have. I took several 18-hour semesters with plenty of time to chill and get my work done. Even though it may seem at times that you hardly have any free-time, that real world is much worse. A 40-hour work week is exhausting, especially if you are working in a job and not a dream career. Spend your free-time in college by making memories. Although I found this statement to be cheesy, it is true. Sometimes I would walk with a friend around campus just to get a refresher and enjoy each other's company. And guess what? You won't get many moments like this in a standard work environment, so have fun in college while you still can! Responsibly!
Tomorrow I return back to my desk job knowing that there are students who are suffering with their friends in a place that inspires. Seriously, enjoy the art of learning with others and seek out interesting bit of knowledge that your teachers are hiding.