Tuesday, July 06, 2004

What are you going to do now?

Since my last entry showed me in my cap and gown from the days of my high school graduation, I figured now would be a good time to show pictures of me in my cap and gown for my college graduation. It only took me nineteen years so I guess you could say it is long overdue. I actually started college right after getting out of the Army, as I had originally planned. But, my paperwork from the Army was messed up and I couldn't get the money for college. I called the VA back then and told them I had all my orders and could prove the dates. They told me that orders were amendable and couldn't be used. What they didn't tell me and I didn't find out until it was too late is that you can use your paystub as proof. As such, I quit going mid-semester because I couldn't afford it all on my own. I had no clue about financial aid or grants. I was working full-time as a waitress and going to school on my days off. When the money fell through, I picked up a part-time job working nightshifts at a nursing home. That lasted about two months until I began falling asleep while standing at the fryline waiting for an order to come up. Something had to give, so school and the part-time job was thrown by the wayside. Oh well! I've always done things differently it seems, and this would be no different.

After the Church fiasco, I decided it was time to go to school, not only so I could earn a degree and hopefully a better living, but because I needed to do something to occupy my time and mind. I thought it would be a great way to meet people too. After such a dismal failure, I felt like I needed an accomplishment in my life. I was 32. I didn't know how I was going to pay for it or even what I wanted to study. I had worked in quite a few different fields so I made a list of the things I enjoyed doing and set a plan before me. I went to the local community college and found out that they had an accelerated program for working adults. Most of the classes would only be one night a week and four weekends a session. The classes were nine weeks in length. (Eventually, they were changed to eight weeks.)  When I started, I wasn't even sure how I would pay for it. I decided I would just take it one semester at a time.  I earned my Associates Degree in Economics within two years. The Cal State system began a similar program during that time. However, they only selected "popular" majors for the program. Accounting which I wanted wasn't one of the options. However, Finance was. I did some research and realized it could help me achieve my goals. As such, two years ago I transferred to the University and proceeded to pursue my Bachelors Degree.

It has been a struggle. The classes are short in length but they require the same amount of work as the longer classes. My life has been nothing but work and school for the past four and a half years. I am burnt out. The question I get most from everyone is what will I do now. My answer? Sleep! What - no new job? No. A year and a half ago I changed jobs. I love my job. It fits right in with my long-term plans and the company pays me well. Eventually, I'd like to get my MBA. However, I need at least a year before I even begin considering it. I just want to live life for a while. I want to actually read a book that isn't required. I want to travel. I want to go out with friends. I don't want to feel guilty every time I do something pleasurable that I really should be studying. I want to be normal.

Many people have commented on what a great accomplishment it is that I have graduated. I don't know if it's because I still have one more class to take or because the graduation ceremony itself was so anti-climatic, but it doesn't feel like much of anything to me. You see, graduation day, felt like a total waste of time. I'm not sure if you can tell by the pictures but it was, for lack of a better word, a cluster-fuck. Instead of an organized processional, we were a horde that was shuffled in to the seating area like we were going to a football game. There were people on cellphones everywhere. Instead of speeches, I heard "Can you see me? I'm the one on my chair waving my hand by the guy with the bright neon green arrow glued to his cap." People in the crowd were blowing bullhorns! There were beach balls being bounced around the audience as the various speakers spoke. There were some who were even doing the fricken wave! People were taking off their cap and gowns during the ceremony and sitting there in shorts and flip flops. Shoot we didn't even have any so called real speakers. The Dean of the College and the President of the University spoke. No guest celebrity speakers or local accomplished businessperson to cheer us on to bright futures.  Well, there was the President of the Alumni association who welcomed us as Alumni, then proceeded to tell us to get out and get jobs so we could start making donations. We stood in line, handed someone a card with our name phonetically spelled so they could call it out as we received a pamphlet and shook the Dean's hand. At least the torture lasted less than two hours. Do I feel accomplished? No. I feel like the same person I was the day before I received my pamphlet. What will I do now? Keep on keeping on. But, darn, I have that one last class to take and I sure as heck don't want to. But, I will. Maybe once I have that diploma in my hands, my perspective will change.

29 comments:

judithheartsong said...

I am happy for you, all that dedication and hard work. Hope it feels better with the diploma. judi

mlraminiak said...

Maybe that "funk" you've been in lately has been the let-down from finishing school..kind of like the "post-holiday" blues.  School kept you busy and focused; NOW, you have to find a new place to channel your energy, and I think it's probably a little daunting...and you don't know how to NOT feel guilty about using your free time however you want.  Does that make sense?  Lisa  :-]

adam583 said...

The ceremony was a let-down?  You could have played with the beach ball instead lol...

What IS the Alumni association (forgive my ignorance)?

Adam
http://journals.aol.co.uk/adam583/generaldispatches/

barebytes said...

Hey, it is a great accomplishment, but one that will fade away and pop up only in memories or for job reference's. But you have a certain pride that goes with it too. You've done what you've set out to do and that deploma will find a box to sit in but in your heart, you did it. you fulfilled your goal. Hugs Lanny

ggal3133 said...

This is a big accomplishment especially working your way through school! Great grad pic of you :)

slowmotionlife said...

I always felt like our High School graduation certificate was sort of a waste of paper.  I mean, no one has ever asked me to see it.  No one has ever asked for my transcripts.  LOL  I imagine its the same for college graduation.  Isn't it possible to *say* you have a degree, even if you don't?  LOL  Still, it *is* an accomplishment and you *should* be proud of it, even if it feels "unclimatic".  Congrats, darlin'!!!  What a great smile!!!

screaminremo303 said...

You should be very proud. You weren't tempted to write "Connie Lingus" on the name card? C'mon.

karensull12 said...

That really sucks about your graduation ceremony.  What was the deal there?  I've never heard of anything like that before.  You should be proud of pursuing your education and for doing it while working.  I really don't know how people do that.  You must be exhausted.  I think you are wise to continue with your current job, especailly since you're happy there and it pays well.  I love your graduation picture--you look so happy (and so VERY smart...)

belfastcowboy75 said...

The lack of decorum may seem disturbing for now, but hey--you did it. Allow yourself to feel the full measure of pride that you deserve.  Paul

fancykat28 said...

Robbie, You never cease to amaze me!!  Your journal is the most unigue journal I read.  And yes!  Of course I admire you!  You're a very admirable lady!  May I add a link to your journal on mine??  If you'd like you could do the same.  Again, thanx for sharing your life with us!!  Chrissy

ckays1967 said...

What a proud moment....bittersweet and proud.  To finish school and get that degree.  I am always regretful that I didn't finish.  I took all the accounting, econ and bus. mgmt classes and my boss told me my school was interfering with my job.  I NEEDED the job so I quit school.  Double dog damn.


Yeah Robbie!!!!!!

lisita15 said...

Hey Robbie!!! Congrats!!!! I had some time and I wanted to let you know that I am still around... take care and enjoy your "free" time...
Lisa

http://journals.aol.com/lisita15/lisita/

lisbnjvi said...

That ceremony does look like a mess!!  Guess the school isn't too keen on organization huh?  I would feel let down too if I spent all that time studying and devoting my life to getting my diploma to have it come down to that.  You deserve a year off Robbie!!  Go, have fun, hike, go on an adventure, do anything you dreamed of doing when you were stuck home doing homework.  The world is yours right now!!  Get to it woman!
Hugs and love, Lisa
P.S.:  Congratulations yet again!  :)

indigosunmoon said...

I'm so very proud of you Robbie!!!
-Connie

rbushu said...

My kids were watching The Wizard of Oz today. Your graduation reminds me of when the Scarecrow gets his brain from the Wizard, he says something like "Many great men have brains, but they've gone to University and received their Masters of Thinkology, and they've got one thing you haven't got, a testimonial." You got yourself a bright, shiny PAMPHLET. So, Robbie. What are you going to do NOW????

More of the same. Ask me again, and I'll tell you the same. Do you think I should go to bed now? Getting too giddy for my own good.

musenla said...

Robbie, it IS a tremedous accomplishment!  Congratulations and you have good reason to be proud in spite of a disorganized graduation ceremony.  

When my brother graduated from Cal State about 5 five years ago their ceremony was almost as laid back and informal.  Something I'm not used to, because when I graduated back in Manila, it was a solemn and grand affair.

Still, the type of ceremony shouldn't take away from the pride.  You've done great, girl!

babyshark28 said...

congrat robbie! :)  maybe you just feel like your at the next threshold, and not knowing what your next move is, makes you feel little uptight.  doesn't everyone feel this way?  your one goal and direction has been school.  and now your at the the..."what now?" part.   Give yourself some time to absorb everything. :)   you'll be full of enerty and ready for your next move real soon, no pressure! :)

heartsingr said...

My sister graduated from college at 36 years of age, and she didn't even go to the ceremony.  Probably because she thought it would turn out to be what you experienced.  Still, though, it is a great accomplishment. Congratulations!

lamove04 said...

I feel kind of lame saying this, but when I got my Masters Degree, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Annette Benning spoke at my graduation.  It was, as you can imagine, a big deal (well- Hillary, y'know-- Annette was an alumni...) No beach balls!  But the bottom line is: it's about the expreience of the education, about applying yourself to goals and completing them.  And you did. No one can take that away from you. And we're proud of you.  So there!  :-)  --Albert

lotzamoe said...

Quit goofing off and get that degree. That way I can ignore your comments on CNBC about our economy like I do all the others. At least they'd finally have a good looking Economist on that boring channel. You are going to be on CNBC aren't you?

uberdude333 said...

damn Im getting the hankering to go back to school

dmt66frd said...

Congratulations! I know what you mean though. The graduation is almost anticlimatic to me after the struggle of the classwork is done. Mine won't happen until after I finish my clinicals in two years, but I feel like this is the point where it should be occuring ... the end of the basic science years. For some reason, they thought holding the graduation in Miami would be more appropriate than in St Maarten, where I'm taking all the classes. Strange, huh? Finishing up these last two months on the island brings a sense of relief. I miss all the simple things, like reading just for the fun of it, and being able to blog whenever I want, or take time off to travel and escape it all. Enjoy your free time before the MBA program and recharge your batteries.   ~~~  David

alphawoman1 said...

Don't wait too long before starting on the MBA.  I had the same thoughts about waiting, and ended up never going back.  I cringe at the thought now!  I would not sacrifice like that ever again.  So, do it immediately while you are acclimated to the grind.  Just my advice, even though you did ask for it, sometimes it just flies out and I can't stop it!

readmereadyou said...

I just have to say, I get a kick out of you! Isn't that a song? LOL! : )

miarenee24 said...

Aw Robbie! Sending hugs! Stephen is sending high-fives your way! I have missed a lot of these entries. You're a lot better at being able to keep up with journals than I am. BEAUTIFU picture of you! Beautiful smile!
Mia

khay6809 said...

Graduating from college is a BIG accomplishment and you should be VERY proud of yourself. I dropped out of college (about 15 years ago) to get married and start a family and have tried about half a dozen times to go back and complete my education. But everytime I end up going for a semester and then end up dropping out again. My excuse is always the same: not enough time. Not enough time to work AND go back to school AND study AND take care of 2 kids and a dog and the house etc. But I realize there are people (like yourself) who struggle through it all and somehow make it work!!!!! Congratulations!!!!! Take a bow!!!!!    

stephweiss said...

A 'degree' doesn't make a person smarter or more useful. You were already wonderful. Now you're wonderful with a degree -- and thus society says you get some more toys to play with. WOOOT! Go enjoy them, but remember that you always were wonderful!

somenuttychic said...

That's quite an accomplishment, especially because of the obstacles that you had to face to get there. Good for you!  

mjne688706 said...

Robbie,
  The problem is the College Industry has out produced the employment market. Which means lower salaries(20K-35K). The industry has everyone believing you need a degree to be successful. This is not true some of the richest people in the world never completed a degree. Your major is so important when it comes to earning potential. Don't believe what the college industry tells you (they lie to fill seats). Review the Department of Labor web site for accurate salaries of professions.
                                    Marc