Thursday, February 26, 2015

Day 8: College, take 2

Tonight's post is going to be a short one because I have six ridiculous chapters of biology to cram in by my test on Tuesday, and a couple sections of precalculus homework to catch up on when I find time. 

I enrolled at Nashville State Community College last fall and took two online classes while working full-time. I already have a Bachelor's degree in Merchandising and Design, but job options here in Nashville are extremely limited in that field. You either have to be really fashionable (I'm not), highly experienced, or willing to work retail management forever. Employers are getting really specific now on what degrees they're willing to hire. And the ones who are just looking for any sort of Bachelor's, those seem to all be sales jobs, administrative jobs like I had, or handing out flyers at the mall. Yep, I've been on that interview. It was listed as "entry-level marketing," which I've learned is always mall flyers or door-to-door. 

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't give up my experience at Tennessee Tech for the world. Those were some of the best years of my life, and I made some lifelong friendships. And while taking classes, I loved my degree! The classes were fun and cool, but out in the real world, I'm realizing that I should've pushed myself in a different direction before I used up my one degree's worth of Tennessee lottery scholarship money. 

This time around I decided to go for a more versatile choice, and I'm majoring in Computer Science. I'm no computer whiz, which is a shame because a lot of people work their way into jobs like I want with experience alone...but I'm at least computer literate. I am really enjoying my Computer Science 2 class and I am doing better than expected. I am hoping that with enough determination, I can learn anything I set my mind to.

Precalculus 2 also seems to be going pretty well so far. I admit, even after Precal 1 last semester there are a lot of times I google "how to multiply fractions" and other algebra basics because it's been a while since I've touched any of that stuff. My new favorite thing is the online homework system. You get immediate feedback on which questions you got wrong and you can even have it walk you through the solution. There's really no reason to get less than 100% on any homework assignment because you get unlimited chances to get every question right.'s a bit rough. It's a joint lecture and lab for three hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and a lot of times the teacher will talk for two and a half hours, leaving us to squeeze in lab real quick right at the end. She is a nice lady, but it's so hard not to zone out. Our tests are exhaustive and basically our whole grade. It's also a Biology for biology majors class (stupid MTSU gen. ed. requirements) so it gets into detail. 

I wasn't sure what to expect out of community college and was hoping I wouldn't be ten years older than all of my classmates. In reality, there is such a diverse mix of people and I have a feeling that teens are in the minority there. 

Also, I don't know if it's just because I've been out of school for four years or if it's because I'm actually pushing myself, but I am working harder than I ever have before. Throughout high school and college #1, I got good grades without even really trying. Now I spend hours and hours each week on homework and general studying. And I am making study flashcards for the first time in my life. 

I have most of my college trajectory planned out in detail, and with luck and determination, I'm hoping to make it through with my second (and hopefully last) Bachelor's degree in another three-ish years. It sounds overwhelming to think that it will take that long to finish, but for a better chance at a fulfilling career -- with better than minimum wage paychecks -- it's a small price to pay. 

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