Great White Snark: August 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

These could be "the good old days."

This is the first August since I was 4 years old that I haven't had to get ready to go back to school.

My thoughts on this are mixed. I've been meaning to do a "how I'm coping with no longer being a student" post, and I think this is a good time to do it. 

Let's DO this. 

(Also, when I say "school" I pretty much mean "college" because that's a) the one I left most recently and b) the only one I could go back to.)

Things I Miss About School:
  • The library. I miss the UCF library a lot, and I knew I would. I just liked to go in there and browse. Academic libraries are so interesting, because the stuff they have is so different from public libraries. Not necessarily better, but some of it's a lot more interesting.
  • Setting my own schedule. If I was sick or I just didn't want to go to class, I had the freedom to just take a day off. I didn't have to call someone or let anyone know. I just made that decision myself and knew I'd have to deal with any consequences (there never were any, just FYI). I also liked being able to pick my own schedule. You don't get that freedom at work.
  • Getting a fresh start every semester. I love the routine of school, because you know you've got 3 months to finish a certain class. If you love it, it's sad that the time is so short, but if you hate the class, you only have to get through 3 months. And I like the change. I liked being able to try something different and do something new every so often. The change of pace was nice, but it was a routine change of pace. 
  • Knowing what I'm doing. I was a good student. I knew the pace at which I worked best, what classes were my strengths and weaknesses, how much time I needed to complete certain tasks, etc. I just got very aware of myself as a student. I'm so unfamiliar (still) with working every day. I never feel like I have enough time to do all the things I want to do, and finding the balance is proving difficult for me. I also almost never screwed up majorly at school. I knew what was expected of me and I was good at delivering. I still make a lot of mistakes at work, and I have a lot of questions, and I very much dislike feeling like I don't know what I'm doing. 
  • School supplies. No further comment necessary.
  • The isolation. I'm a private person, and at UCF I was able to blend into, literally, a city-sized populations of thousands. If I didn't want to be noticed or seen that was very easy to accomplish. 
Things I Don't Miss About School:
  • The isolation. This one is double-edged. I prefer to be solitary, but that's not always good for me. Or anyone, really. I like going into work and having people with whom to talk. I also like knowing that I'm needed (I mean, not very much because there are a few people who could very adequately do my job--probably better than I do), and that someone would notice whether or not I showed up.
  • Being broke all the time. It's nice to be able to have some money. I mean, let's be real, I am hardly rolling in the dough. But my work is consistent now and paychecks (however meager) are lovely.
  •  Homework. Seriously. I do not miss that feeling of being under constant obligation to do something. If I want to read, I read. And if not, it's not like I'm being counted off for not doing so. Also, papers suck and I do not miss studying/stressing about tests. It's nice being able to go to work, do work, then leave work. It doesn't come home with me, and that is BEAUTEOUS.
  • Finals week. I sympathize so strongly for everyone who still has to go through this. I think they should stagger your finals for the last 4 weeks of the semester, to avoid that crazy-hideous stress.
  • The immaturity. There is immaturity in the workplace, don't get me wrong. But it's not the same. And I really like the mix of age group you get working. At school, everyone is generally within 1-3 years of your age. It's nice to mix with people outside your immediate age group. 
  • School spirit. That was never really my thing.
  • Teachers/professors. A lot of them were douchebags. A lot of them are really great, and very knowledgeable, but I never liked the feeling that they thought they were smarter than everyone else.
  • Registering for classes and parking at UCF. I get a parking spot within seconds every day at work, and I don't have to walk 2 miles to get to my office. Also, it's nice not to have to deal with the whole, "I need this class to graduate but it's only offered once every 3 years and now it's full" fiasco.
I don't know. In general, I don't miss it. Not once have I woken up and thought, "Omg, I desperately want to go back to school!!!" I'm not interested in grad school. I do miss learning, and I miss the prowess I enjoyed as a student. But I figure, I was a student for 18 years. I haven't had my job for even 3 months yet. So I need to give it some more time to get used to the whole "I now work every day like an ADULT" thing. 

It is weird, however, because for my whole life, "New Year" was really in August and not so much January. Whoops. 

So to everyone who's still in school: good luck this year! And enjoy the present. There are things that absolutely suck about your situation, and I get it, but make the best of it. Put into it what you desire to get out, and enjoy it while you can.

And if you're not in school: congratulations! I bet you don't miss homework, research papers, projects and exams either. Good luck in your endeavors, and attempt to enjoy your present, too.