I often talk about my experiences with employment and all the problems I’ve encountered. I’ve discussed the sexism, ageism, immigration and every thing related. I’ve discussed how I am skilled and come so close, only to get rejected. What I rarely, if ever, discuss is how someone like me got here.
Let’s go back to my junior year in high school to see what went wrong. My junior year I was an impressive student with honors classes, a high GPA and a letter in cross country. I was considering a career as a psychologist and had the grades to do it. I enjoyed journalism and many other activities but figured they would be just hobbies. Except Spanish, I was figuring with my very high Spanish grade (I would be promoted into the honors Spanish program) that could be my major. I started getting flyers from colleges galore and many were already starting to come visit me at school.
However, I started getting recruited by the military branches and considered going into the reserves or ROTC. The Air Force in particular kept calling me to offer me a ROTC scholarship. Stupidly, I fell for the navy. The navy didn’t offer me a scholarship, nope, instead they told me I was too stupid to get ROTC or reserves and the only way I would get in the military was as enlisted. I enlisted, to the dismay of my school counselor and my parents who all thought I was better than that for lack of a better word. I would go to pre boot camp meeting where both ROTC students and enlisted students were and noticed something funny: the kids in the ROTC were in my classes, the enlistment kids were not (they were mostly remedial kids). This should have been my clue but was so brainwashed by the navy telling me how wonderful boot was and how you got lots of money for nothing and I could start college right away paid for! My thinking was after boot I could then attend college but they don’t tell you this may not happen.
In another post I will discuss what did happen in boot but let’s just say I was not the best recruit. Ever see Private Benjamin? Sort of like that. I did get a medical discharge so while I was at boot a month I did get money. I was discharged in May and as it turned out got out a week before high school graduation (I graduated that previous January). I was able to attend my graduation and the senior athlete breakfast. Of course because I turned down scholarships and colleges (thinking the navy would take care of this)this meant I couldn’t attend college in the fall. So that fall I saw my classmates all leave for school while I was stuck at home working a variety of horrible jobs. The worst was when a childhood friend came into McDonalds where I was cashiering and talking about her scholarship and her happiness. Like her I was in the top 10 percent of the class but made a foolish decision without thinking.
So that summer I had some extra money and decided to take a class in psychology at the local community college. I got bored because it was summer and who knows why but didn’t reach my full potential. I decided to go back to school but found I waited too long for financial aid. I waited for the following fall and found I received a full scholarship, including books, and a stipend. I discovered community colleges really like honors students because so few go there. I attended a full year and did mostly well except for a conflict with my job at Venture during the fall season. By the following season I was modeling which fit perfect.
The following fall I decided to go to a school about a half hour away and since I didn’t have a car, to come home on weekends. Because I was a bit older than most sophomores (I should have been a senior at this point)I didn’t fit in. By now I had switched from psychology to communications and had a radio show. I lasted there a semester and I returned the following summer (the one about 18 months later) to the community college to take several classes. The winter after that I started broadcasting classes at an art college known for their program. I attended for a year and didn’t return for a few years due to money issues. In the meantime I worked in radio, and public relations and modeled and took more summer classes at the community college. When I did return to the college to finish my degree I was two semesters shy of my BA. I finished it, and decided to go for a MA in communications. By this time I was still working in radio but not as much because there weren’t as many jobs. However I thought with a MA it would give me options. It actually did, I got offered several jobs, and took the one I now regret.
As it turns out, I am returning to the school where I received my MA and getting a degree in counseling. Since I attended over 12 years ago it has gone from a commuter college mostly with older students to one where they now have undergrads and dorms. Incidentally, the art college I mention did the same thing and the second time I attended felt weird because of it. I can’t help but wonder what would have happened had I stuck with my original psychology major and chosen better job wise. I like to think I would have attended college on scholarship and now be in god financial shape. I also wish I had realized that I had plenty of options, only I didn’t see it at the time.