Friday, January 2, 2009

Back To School Again

I started school again in the fall which was just as much of a nightmare as it was the first time I attempted college right after high school. It's not the classes that are the trouble really, it's dealing with the institution; financial aid, registration, advisers, computer services, the campus bookstore... It's a whole lot trouble and money just to take one online class! I did well nonetheless so this this semester I am daring to take two online classes. Once again I'm biting my nails waiting for my financial aid to be posted so I can make sure there are no mistakes and so I can get my check to go buy books before the semester starts... in eleven days. ELEVEN DAYS?! hey have 11 days to post my financial aid and mail my check, check get to me and me go buy books! I'm distance learning so I should be able to have my aid in time to order my books online but I'm fortunate enough to actually live close enough to just go pick them up myself.

It makes me wonder though, how are the other distance education students doing this? Does the school even realize the inefficiency of their system? The previous school I attended had all aid for the year posted and checks were issued with plenty of time to get books and add and drop classes 10 times before the next semester started. You would think that, especially since we are now officially living the electronic age, that everything would move faster, not slower.

I sometimes imagine that there is a little old lady that has been working the department for 50 years sitting behind a computer trying to figure it out. She would probably do a lot of mumbling about how way back in the good ol' days there were no fancy shmancy computers and her generation turned out just fine. Sometimes I wish I could point out to my imaginary clerk that it was her generation that kicked the technology surge in to high gear.

I can sympathize with parents that feel left behind when their children are more up to speed then they are on the latest technology, but when it's your own generation that has past you by, maybe you need to rethink all that your missing. For this reason, I fear a lack of higher learning and continue to suffer through the inefficiency of this institution (by the way, I am well aware that there are better quality services provided at other schools however this one is close by, has what I want and is affordable!!!). Education is education no matter where you get it, and there's no law telling you when to stop learning.

You would think that since it is their business to teach others the most practical ways to conduct their careers and businesses, that they would have taught themselves how to keep operations running smoothly and practical. Sometimes i wonder if students aren't really dropping out because they don't apply themselves to their studies, but because they don't feel it's worth dealing with the school. I meet a lot of young adults that are trying to find other ways get an education and build a career without going to college because it's too much hassle and it is really hard to put it into a better perspective for these people.

Maybe the hardest part is looking past what your doing now, to what you will be doing in 5 years. In my second year of college I still can't picture myself in some fancy office or doing some high paying job or driving a BMW. Blue collar is all I have ever known, this is my world. Can you really blame other middle class students from not being able to separate their dreams from the pipe dream pile to reality pile? Big breaks and shiny things just don't happen for people like us no matter how much time and energy we put into it. Besides, there is nothing wrong with being the country's laboring backbone right?

There is everything wrong with if your dreams don't go in that direction. If you want to be a truck driver, driving around and seeing the country then that's fabulous! But if your really dreaming of being an engineer, designing the roads, bridges and highway systems then how are you ever going to be happy as a driver?

Being from a blue collar family I have also learned something else, nothing in life that is worth it is ever easy. We grew up being taught the value of persistence and a job well done, values that ought to be carried through to our education. Yeah, so Dad's paycheck never increased a single penny in 15 years, Dad also never quit. So Mom came home tired and achy every night, she never quit either. They knew what they were working for and that is the key to success. Know what you are working for.

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