Going back again, maybe.

I’m looking into going back to school, again. I must be a glutton for punishment since I only graduated two years ago, but I really do want to go back. I’ve been mulling it over for a while now, at least a year, probably more. At one point, I had considered going back to earn my teaching certificate, which I decided was not the path I wanted, or needed, to take.

Here I am, years later, and I feel that I need to return, to major in a new field. Yes, I do have a Bachelor’s in General Studies, but that’s really what it sounds like. I’m looking into a career that needs a focused degree and certification. I’ll admit to a certain amount of trepidation, especially in regards to how long it’ll take to complete and the incumbent cost. I’m still paying off my loan for my most recent go around!

The fact is I’m unhappy where I’m at. I’m tired and I’m angry. I’m tired of being angry. Where I’m currently at in life is not where I want to be, it’s not where I’m supposed to be, but it is where I am. I can remain where I’m at and allow this anger and bitterness to consume me, or I can do something about it.

All I’ve known for most of my adult life is retail. I dislike retail. I’ve done it, I have moved up before, and though there are aspects to it in which I excel, the parts I don’t like hold me back. More than just that, I have an attitude problem precisely because I have been there before and because I feel that I’m not being allowed to do what I know I’m capable of doing.

Did you know that this is the first place I’ve worked for since 1999 that I haven’t been promoted? I have always been given a supervisory position. I’m knowledgeable enough, I’m responsible enough, and I have the experience to prove it, but that’s not enough. Not at my current job, and not with my current employers.

But as much as I would like, I can’t completely fault them. In fact, I should probably thank them for holding me back, for forcing me to evaluate my life and the direction I’m heading. Were they to promote me, I might be tempted to continue the rat race for financial reasons. That would be bad. Money has never been a good enough motivator for me. I need it, I want it, and I would like to have a certain independence, but that’s not what motivates me.

So what motivates me? Doing what I like, what I care about. What drives me is to get my job done, to step back and see a completed project, and to know that I did that. I also need to feel appreciated, which is something that management has never been good at providing. Also, I would like to find a decent job that will allow me to have a set schedule. My personal time is very important to me. I need it to survive, as a matter of fact!

I don’t know what my alma mater will say in regards to my inquiry. I hope I will be allowed to return this coming semester, though it may be too late to go back. I hope they will give me the chance to major in the field I’m hoping to join. I’m simultaneously excited and terrified by the thought of moving forward with this. I’ve thought about it for years, and if ever I’m going to do it, I would think now’s the time to do so, while I’m free and young enough to get it done.

Until then, I’ll keep the field of study a secret. If I’m given the greenlight to return, and if I’m able to go back this semester, I’ll give you an update and tell you what I will be studying. Until then, positive thoughts and prayers would be appreciated.

Attending the lecture

I woke up yesterday morning a few hours before my alarm went off. I didn’t think anything of it since I have trouble sleeping. I picked up my phone and scrolled my feed on Facebook. My alma mater posted that the Distinguished Lecture Series had been scheduled for that same night, and the speaker was renowned physicist and futurist, Dr. Michio Kaku. Looking at the time of the event, I was disappointed since the lecture had been scheduled to begin at seven while I had been scheduled to work until eight.

I’ll admit I wanted to go. As I lay in bed, I wished there was a way I could attend, and then one of those rare happenings occurred. My phone rang, at around seven-twenty in the morning. I saw that my employer was calling me. I answered and they wanted to see if I would be interested in going in early, as soon as I could.

I immediately said yes and rushed to get ready. If I could be at work by nine, I would be off by six, and I would have plenty of time to get to the lecture. Nothing remarkable happened, except that I was ambushed by management. They surprised me with a card, a present, and forced to endure a silly hat while my photo was taken, but that’s another story entirely. I made it to the West Texas A&M University campus and to Legacy Hall, where the lecture would take place, thirty minutes early.

I felt uncomfortable being so early, but within ten minutes there was not an empty seat in the hall and people roamed the aisles, desperate to find a place to witness the lecture. University officials had to nudge students who had decided to sit in the aisles, invoking fire code issues. There was a mad rush to remedy the situation. They, Lecture Committee, hadn’t figured that so many would want to attend a lecture by someone as boring as a physicist, even one as renowned as Dr. Kaku.

They scurried to come up with a solution, and around seven-twenty, they announced that they had a solution, and that the lecture would be streamed to a few classrooms in the basement of the JBK Student Center, below Legacy Hall. For a moment no one moved, and I wondered if the Fire Marshall would show up and cancel the lecture, but my fears were unfounded. A few minutes later, after two officials began the introduction, Dr. Kaku walked up on stage.

What followed was an exciting look into the future. He gave a brief history on science and physics and its role in the economic cycles, of bubbles and depressions, starting with railroads and the industrial revolution, the stock market crash of 1929, the real estate boom and bust of 2008, and the next wave that is to come.

He discussed at length how ubiquitous computers would be, so much so that they would become invisible, much like how electricity has disappeared from the world. It’s there and we use it, but we take it for granted. Computing will become the same, easier and cheaper to use. He even discussed the future of healthcare, of how lifespans may increase with the ability to manufacture body parts via 3D printing using the patients own cells.

There’s no way I could do the lecture justice. Dr. Kaku was engaging. He had an accessible and humourous delivery style, of talking to the audience simply, but never talking down or being condescending. The only negative I took away was during the Q&A, where a WTAMU student used the opportunity to ask a question in such a way to insult conservatives and the religious. Dr. Kaku didn’t take the bait, feigning that he didn’t understand her question, and politely offering an alternative take on the question.

But, her clumsy and insulting jibe aside, I think her question was valid. What of the moral and ethical questions of creating a method to sustain human life almost indefinitely? What are the ramifications of creating virtual immortality? How do you counter objections that will likely be raised by the religious community, that God’s plan is for us to be born, to live, and to die?

I don’t have the answer, and I wonder if Dr. Kaku or the scientific community has the answer. Like many such philosophical questions, it may have to be deferred until such the moment we are faced with that particular dilemma. But such as it is, I enjoyed the lecture. I found the look into the future to be both exciting and frightening. I came away with some questions as well, but I believe a good lecturer should inspire us to ask them and to discover those answers for ourself.

All in all, it was the best birthday present I could give myself, and it’s all thanks to the serendipitous turn of event that had no one scheduled in my department all morning, forcing them to call me in early.

To teach or not to teach…

It’s so easy for time to slip through your fingers, especially when you have a decision you are grappling with. In my case, I’m trying to make more life-changing decisions and it’s not easy to make, mostly due to the time and financial requirements necessary to realize this decision.

I have begun considering joining an alternative certification program in order to earn a teaching certificate. There’s quite a few requirements that need to be met, ones that I need to spend time and money to achieve, but in the end will give me the ability to teach in the state of Texas and will get me halfway to a Masters of Arts in Teaching.

One thing that I must accomplish is pass the certification exam for the discipline I want to teach. I’ve given this some thought and I’m leaning towards English, though I wouldn’t mind becoming certified in History or Political Science.

Regardless, it’s still a monumental decision that I’ve yet to settle on completely. The thought of having to stand in front of a class scares me, and talking to people terrifies me, so what the hell am I thinking? All I know is that I hate what I’m doing and I would like to do something in which I can make a positive difference.

I’m looking into a career field that is neither lucrative nor much appreciated, but influences the minds of our youth. I have to make my mind up rather quickly so I can start making whatever preparations are necessary to begin this journey. I’m terrified, but not more so than staying where I am.

When I make up my mind, I’ll let you know, but for now, if you are so inclined to prayer, I ask that you do so. If you’re not, then I’ll accept positive thoughts, it’s the same to me.

In the here and now, and the future

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Old Main WTAMU (Photo credit: kitty_498)

I sitting on the EPML (English, Philosophy, and Modern Languages) floor lobby, pretending to study for my Grammar class. I say pretending because although I have my book open, and I did start trying to do my vocabulary words for our current chapter, I’ve abandoned the project to start blogging instead.

There’s only three more weeks of class plus a final week aptly named finals week. That’s it for this semester, only four weeks. After a three-week hiatus, the first summer session starts which lasts only about six weeks or so. If my math is right, and it is possible that I’m wrong, I have thirteen weeks and I’ll be done with this condensed chapter of my crazy life.

Which got me thinking earlier this morning. I was in a depressed state for over a year. I had some good days, but I think it’s safe to say that my bad days outnumbered the good days by a wide margin. It took almost a month of being back in school to snap me out of my funk. When I’m actually done with school, and when I have my sheepskin, will I go back to being depressed? Or will this change in mood continue?

It’s hard to say since there were many things contributing to my depression. I’ve finally gotten over them but I can’t help but wonder if it’s only a temporary reprieve. What if I’m still unable to find a real job post-graduation? Making flippant comments on my social network sites will not pay the bills. Yet.

I guess I should take my friend’s advice and take things one day at a time and stop stressing about it. All I can do is to update my resume and start putting myself on the job market again. If I’m lucky I’ll be able to find something the suits me, one that takes advantage of not only my intelligence, but also my aptitude. Money is not my number one concern, but yes I would like to make a livable salary.

My ultimate goal is to write so I know I’m probably condemning myself to a life of near poverty, but I guess I’m okay with that. I’ve done enough to know that I’d rather be happy than rich, loved rather than wealthy, content rather than famous. Now if I can be happy, loved, content, and rich? Why not?

As I look out the third story window of the classroom center of WTAMU, and as I see my fellow students as they go back and forth between classes, I wonder what they are thinking. How many are wondering, as I am, about their futures? How many of them are staring their own impeding graduation and are wondering where they are going to go? Are any of them already set?

It’s not my problem, I know, but it’s nice to think that I may not be alone in worrying about my future. It’s coming up a lot faster than I could have ever imagined. I’m not sure if I’m ready for this.