We HEART going back to school

Well, everyone, I’m one week inside the belly of City College of San Francisco!  And I have so much to tell you about the past week.  I’ve now been to all my classes, settled on a schedule, and even made some new friends.

It has been eye-opening, nerve-wracking, and totally fun.  Not without some challenges, of course.  As you’ll see in future posts, going back to school as a nontraditional student involves a lot of patience with bureaucracy, or at least a healthy attitude toward it.  You encounter a lot of rules that seem arbitrary, a lot of schlepping pieces of paper from one office to other, and in my case, even from one STATE to another.

And you’re not done once you’ve completed matriculation.  That’s really just the beginning of the fun for a returning student, of course.

First off, let me explain what it means to be a returning student with no transfer credits, from the registration perspective:

It means you are quite literally on the bottom of the heap.  The order in which students register for classes is calculated by some algorithm using GPA, credits, etc.  SO, everyone else gets to leap outta this steaming metaphorical heap of H1N1 and into classes before you — people with good grades, people with bad grades, people who were at school five years ago but just decided to come back.  Everyone. What this means for you is that your selection of classes becomes very limited by the time your registration appointment arrives.  Mine was December 9, 11:30am.  Late, late, late!

Add to this the effects of the economy on community college education in California and well…  Wait, wait!  What exactly is that Situation, you may ask?

  • slashed community college funding has reduced the number of classes offered
  • Mom and Dad both lost their jobs at HP and can’t afford to send Junior to Harvard just yet, so for now he’s heading to Harvard-on-the-Hill
  • there are a lot of (sexy) goobers like me who also lost their jobs and are clamoring into community college to make good use of their time

So, well, to derive The Situation, you add those together and you get:

increased demand for classes + diminished supply + you’re not on the football team = You’re Kinda Screwed

This problem manifested itself in my world on my registration date, when the darling schedule I had so lovingly constructed — every class I wanted, at school roughly 9-12 every day with a short day on Fridays — was DENIED.  Nearly none of the classes were available!  So I scrambled, and admittedly I got lucky — my English composition and economics classes had night sections on Tuesday and Thursday respectively that worked for me.  And my psychology class was thankfully open.  But, Public Speaking  1 — full.  Intermediate Algebra, or MATH 860 — No Way, San Jose.

At this point I made the decision to take Beginning Acting, so that I would have the required 12 credits on record, and I also added a crazy 5-credit Spanish class which I later dropped.  “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” I said to myself.  Little did I know that one of the first exercises we would do in Beginning Acting would be to ACT OUT THAT CLICHE, but … I acted in high school, loved it, and figured that it would be a great skill to hone from a business perspective as well.  What better skill is there in business than convincing people that you believe in what your company or organization does, even when you know it’s a ramshackle house of cards that exploits starving people in third-world nations? Been there, done that, read the book and saw the movie, right?  But hey, a little more practice never hurts.

However, I was really disturbed about the math class.  Especially once I found out that a FURTHER complication of having that late registration date is that most classes add students on a waiting list based on 1. who keeps showing up and 2. ……..you guessed it…..your REGISTRATION DATE!  Ahhhhhh, yes.  So this sets up a bit of a farce, my dears, between me and MATH 860 that is a story you will have to wait to hear.  It warrants its own post and comes complete with a photo of the madness that ensued.

My schedule has shaken out quite nicely, actually.  I have acting on MWF at lunch, psychology on TR at lunch, the aforementioned composition and economics classes on TR at night, and a Beginning Computing class on Friday mornings.  Not bad, right?  And this schedule also allows me to continue to look for full time work and maintain my unemployment benefits, with any luck.  Ahem.

So, I’m digging it so far!  However, I’m a little resentful of the fact that El Nino decided to start at the same time school did.  Check out the hail on campus the other day:

The weather just makes it a little more challenging to leave the house.  During the past year of unemployment, if it was too foggy, or too windy, or too sunny, I could stay home if I wanted to.  Not so much these days, y’all!

This is a long post, I know, but thanks for reading!  I want to leave you with two photos.  One, looking at CCSF from the pedestrian bridge a block from my house.  The building with the dome on top is the science building:

….and then this is looking toward my house from school.  You can see the overpasses and pedestrian bridge way out there.  The hill is Bernal Hill, for which my neighborhood is named, Bernal Heights.  Well, sort of.  I live between Bernal and Glen Park so I call it Bernal Glen.

You would think I could walk to school, but yowza, that would take a while.  I do a little 49-Mission/Van Ness action every day.  Actually, a lot of 49-Mission/Van Ness action every day.

Thanks for reading!  I have to go do some reading of my own for class tomorrow night.

Sending you Xs and Os from your heads to your toes…



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