Thursday, May 9, 2013

The College Story: Part Two

Good Evening!
To continue the College Story...

My trip to Mexico City was...an experience to say the least.
A good experience
One that I would gladly undertake again, 
but by the time the month was over,
I was READY to be home.
(Maybe I will write post about my Mexico experience some day...)

Upon returning to the U.S., 
I was once again faced with "The Question."
"What are you going to be when you grow up?"
"What are you going to do with your life?"
I still didn't know what I wanted.
My mother and I met with an academic adviser at Illinois Central College (ICC) 
who encouraged me to take some basic general education classes
(English, Science, American History, Art & Humanities, etc)
just to get them out of the way while I decided on a major.
So that's exactly what I did.

 Experiencing those initial classes at ICC
was like experiencing something akin to cultural shock.
Up until this point,
all my learning had been independent 
through the ACE School of Tomorrow program
offered by New Life Christian Academy (NLCA)
- the private school affiliated with my church, the Pentecostals of Peoria.
(For those of you who have no idea 
what the ACE School of Tomorrow curriculum is like,
you can find more information about it here.)

 At the end of my first semester at ICC,
I had chosen a major: Journalism.
I was a wordy person.
I loved to write.
I thought, "Hey, what could be better than getting a job doing what you love?"
I truly thought it was going to be that easy.
(I told you in my last post that I was/am naive...see?)
Two Composition classes at ICC
changed my perspective on professional, secular writing.
I didn't know what I wanted to do
but I knew Journalism was NOT it.

I would like to take a little side step here
and acknowledge one of my English instructors at ICC,
Pamela Dewey.
She's the reason I'm still a writer.
I hope you can see this someday, Mrs. Dewey.
Thank you.

Anyway, back to my story.
I had discovered that my calling was not Journalism.
So I was back in the same boat as before.
I didn't know what I wanted.
So, again, I followed the advice of my ICC advisor
and simply worked on getting my general studies out of the way
while I decided on a NEW major.

For years, my mother had been talking to me
about the importance of having an occupation that
"was always going to be around"
(you know, a job that would always require a human
- a job that would always need human intervention vs computer technology.)
To me, that sounded like a medical profession.
No matter how advanced medical technology becomes,
the medical field will always require human compassion and logic.
Couldn't resist throwing a Grey's Anatomy pic in :)...LOVE Bailey!
During this time,
I was working full-time as a Medical Records Clerk at HeartCare Midwest.
(I was stilling attending ICC part-time)
This was my first "real" job...
and I was excellent at it.
That's when I decided the Medical Field was the place for me.
I stayed at HeartCare for approximately 18 months.
While there, I looked for opportunities to leave Medical Records
and move up the job ladder
but was denied every time
because of my lack of schooling.
I decided that if I was truly going to get a good job in the Medical Field
I needed to go back to school full-time.
I left HeartCare Midwest in November 2007.

So I had decided on a medical profession.
Now I had to choose WHICH medical profession.
I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt
that I DID NOT want to be a nurse.
Frankly, because I did not want to deal with poop and vomit.
(Seriously...that was my logic...again...I was VERY naive!)
That's when I re-visited the X-Ray Technologist angle.
I met with the Head Adviser of Medical Careers at ICC
and she informed me that I still had quite a few prerequisites
to get out of the way before I would even be considered
for the X-Ray Tech program.
So I buckled down and started knocking them out.

After quitting HeartCare Midwest,
I still needed to work part-time in addition to attending school.
So, I began working as a cashier at Hobby Lobby.

I started in November.
Anyone who has worked as a cashier will know
that is EXACTLY the WRONG time of year to start a job in the retail industry.
I still have nightmares about the glitter.
It was EVERYWHERE.
I washed it out of my hair and clothes EVERY DAY.
Even my UNDERCLOTHES.
Now, don't get me wrong.
The entire experience wasn't horrible.
I had a very nice discount
and since Hobby Lobby is a Christian owned company,
I simply informed them when I had church activities
and they would let me off work.
But in less than a month
I knew that the retail industry was not for me.

I was set to resume full-time classes at ICC in January 2008
and I knew I needed to have a part-time job secured before then.
I began searching for any and all part-time positions
in the Peoria area through Yahoo Hot Jobs.
And I found my current employer:
The School-Age Department
at The Greater Peoria Family YMCA.

To be continued...