Non-Traditional As Possible

When I signed up to join student organizations at the beginning of classes, I’d thought I’d have the time to do to. This was several months ago. I’ve only been to one meeting. I still keep getting emails about events and activities, but these occur when I’m in class or in the evening around dinner time.  I’ve managed to attend a few lectures in order to supplement my education, but they are once in a blue moon, when Cutie is well enough to wait for me to come home late.

Non-Traditional means “life complications + academics”. As in, if I am not studying, I am at home with Cutie. If you are single, there is more time for other activities such as work or volunteering. Great resume boosters with recruiters. But with students with families, life is constantly a balancing act. The “I can’t be an over-achieving student because of family responsibilities” just doesn’t bode well with recruiters.

Parallel Worlds

While my classmates are busy preparing for their sorority or fraternity activities and moaning about lack of time to complete anything, I am busy trying to plan dinner, paying bills and trying to fit in doctor’s appointments. As some of them even complained about their parents giving them crap about issues they are trying to handle, I chuckle in silence. It’s not as bad as it seems. Life will throw worst things in their way so parents are one of many headaches that will be the least of troubles.

The Blow

Whenever Cutie gets sick, my world falls apart. I was having a hard time concentrating on anything and would trudge along just to get some work done. This is something that I have no control of whatsoever yet when I come home, I have to face it full-on and find a way to cope and do the best that I can to help Cutie. Sometimes I have to work on my Plan B in case Cutie’s health deteriorates and would be forced to quit school.  To me, that would be a blow to me for if I were to become a full-time caretaker I would be 1)unable to work 2) not able to contribute to society and be one medical emergency away from homelessness.

Is there any hope at the end of the tunnel? I’m still trying to figure it out. I could use some suggestions.

Pulverize your SIM Card: changing the way you see the world

I am taking a break from schooling to talk about how the way you view the world changes through the process of education. I will explain further by showing an example of changing fields:

When I was studying business and working through my internship, I started to see the world differently: I saw dollar signs on EVERYTHING. This was due to years of studying macroeconomics, microeconomics, accounting, finance, etc. Not only was I able to see things are they are from an economic perspective, but was able to read through language that people would pay other people to sort through. By the time I started working full-time, this vision I developed not only helped me professionally, but personally:  I was able to tackle the dreaded month of April each year without sweating an eyebrow, and developed the ability to read through every STUPID credit card offer that came through the mail and know exactly what it said (and crunch some numbers). I even developed a super-power of detecting coins on the ground within a hundred feet on the streets, in spite of having poor eyesight.

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A woman showing my weapon of choice

 

Once I switched to studying in the STEM field, my vision changed. It was not limited to seeing the world with dollar signs on them: that vision was downgraded (but still existing)  in the personal finance realm and has the same urgency as getting laundry done.  I accidentally developed a new vision this week while studying trigonometry for hours. I began to see every square corner as a damned right triangle and could not turn off this vision before I entered my communications class.  While my classmates were giving boring speeches, I tried to avoid looking at square and rectangular shapes in the room by looking at their shoes.

Converse All Star Black Lo

Thankfully no one was wearing heels that day.

Once that faded, my next accidental vision was brought upon by a lecture I attended at the university. A visiting professor (who shall remain anonymous) is a Computer Science and Chemical Engineering professor that gave a lecture on case studies on how to extract data from every digital device from mp3 players, drones, credit card scanner to cell phones. The cases he and his students worked on ranged from national security cases to criminal cases that you may or may not have read about. Since I do read the news, my heart stopped as I recognized each case in spite of the professor using vague terms like “unnamed retailer” and “White House drone”.  Since this lecture will be used as part of my paper, I took as many notes as possible. By the time the lecture was finished, I looked at my old cell phone and was thankful I did not take any self-incriminating pictures of myself with it. Once I arrived in art history class, every time I saw a smart phone I shuddered. I had the picture of the SIM card the professor showed in the lecture stuck in my head and saw every computer and cell phone as piles of other peoples’ dirty laundries waiting to be sorted out by snooping underwear thieves.

 

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Pictured above: a cuter comparison provided by obeythekitty.com.

The more I studied the realm of mathematics and science, the harder it was to shut the vision developed and saw the world DRAMATICALLY different. Since the society I live in based on consumerism, the vision from business school could fade in to the background of every physical object that surrounded me. But with math and science, it is becoming harder and harder: you start to see more numbers and if you had a background in chemistry, what things are made of (damn you chemistry!).  And every technological device I touched made me wish I were a Luddite. This is why there should be a warning label to each dreamy-eyed high school student who wishes to pursue a STEM education in a university: your vision WILL change and it will be hard to shut that vision off.