Faring my recent exams

So last time I posted (last Wednesday), I felt ill after my Microbiology Lab Practical. I’d stayed up all night studying for it, was exhausted, and dreaded my results. I received my results shortly before Chemistry that evening. Read the rest of this entry »


Step 2

Well, Step 1 was easy. Finish Bio, A&P, register to be a full-time student at the brick and mortar community college in town, save money to fund full-time status at community college next year. Okay, it wasn’t easy. I had to convince them that I am an in-state, in-county resident, and had to haul over to the campus in the middle of the day before their admissions and registration office closed down. I’m still awaiting a financial aid package. I’m still trying to come to terms with the idea of leaving my job to attend community college.

The school I’m going to be attending is very tiny. It actually is the largest community college in the state and serves, apparently, some 30,000 students. You couldn’t tell by looking at it, though. It looks like it might have been a really fancy prep school at one point. Now it’s slightly dilapidated. The Computer Science building has a banner over the entryway that proclaims it as the “School of Education,” which is sort of sad because I thought there were very few teaching jobs available and a high demand for IT people. It’s the teachers that are getting laid off all over the place. Maybe it’s a temporary banner.

The science building (there are two, plus one is getting constructed at the cost of some fifty million dollars) on the inside looks like…I was going to say inner-city high school, but it’s actually like the one we had in junior high. It has a stuffed wolf. It’s connected to a greenhouse, where some plants are thriving and others are corpses pressed against the glass walls.

Over the weekend, I went back and did an informal tour through the buildings. I saw the aforementioned science buildings, the cafeteria (there are three microwaves and I suspect they must get mighty dirty), the gym (I’d take a yoga class, but I don’t really want to get graded for it or take tests on what pose means what), and the parking lot. I failed to locate the library. I hope they have one.

I worry that I’m not going to be able to feel at home there. I worry that if I resist feeling at home there, I won’t do very well. I worry I’ll drop out because it doesn’t feel like my pretty West Coast ideal and the stigma of attending a community college is too ingrained in me.

Actually, I have a hankering to leave the East Coast and go here. I would love to make that happen, but it would be a huge waste of money.

There must be some way…

I’m not a big fan of late nights at the office during weeks that are especially pressing due to exams. It messes with my diet and my skin. It’s not the staying late or getting up early that I mind. I mind the not knowing what my temporarily sacrificing my sense of well-being is for, especially when these things could eventually lead to being laid off anyway. Luckily (and somewhat unluckily), I’m paid by the hour and could use the overtime.

I’ve written about the “dolla dolla bill y’all” mentality of higher education administrators. I could attend UDC and knock out my pre-reqs there, but I’m told it has a poor reputation (not that rep trumps MCAT). Two applicants who were admitted to pretty good med schools were not admitted to Maryland. They had near-perfect GPAs but terrible MCAT scores, like, the kind of MCAT scores a foreign medical school would reject. Despite being part of an underrepresented minority group, they were rejected from places like Howard and Meharry.

What does this mean? I shouldn’t go off just two data points, but Maryland is a tough bet. I’m a tough bet. I’m a non-traditional applicant and I can’t afford a course at Georgetown. One measly course at Georgetown would be two months salary for me. UMD’s Science in Evening program is very reasonable, but my work is not flexible and I can’t get to College Park by 7 pm, and they don’t offer financial aid.

So I think it’s community college for me, where rates are reasonable and financial aid is available. Sigh. I really wanted to put myself in the very best position, but it’s tough, and, we’ll see how it turns out.

Piling higher and deeper…

Having attended one of those high schools that’s all nationally-recognized for being academically better than inner city schools, it occurred to me that a lot of my classmates were total flakes and their parents encouraged them to be flakey. Okay, I get it. People have dreams, and if those dreams aren’t accounting school or pharmacy school or whatever, it doesn’t mean they are any less valuable. That being said, my classmates went on to spend a crap-ton of money to pursue Ivy league degrees to end up dithering around in their thirties. Read the rest of this entry »

Work is work

I’m at work, filling out a study packet for Chapter 8 of my Human Anatomy and Physiology class, and I’m trying my best to concentrate on studying. It’s tough. Working and studying is tough. We’re one team member down, so it makes it harder to peek at my textbook during the day. Nevertheless, I lug it with me, just in case.

I really enjoyed my biology course, which was completely online. I know I have to take it again at the local four-year university for more than six times the price. There was generally more to do, the homework and lectures corresponded with what we had to learn for the exams, and the professor was more conscientious. I’m beginning to worry that my A&P professor isn’t really even looking through my labs. He’s also not as communicative. Also, as good as it is to be intellectually self-reliant, the sheer amount of memorization is sort of overwhelming. I haven’t been perfect about chapters 7 & 8 and I have a double exam due tomorrow. It’s timed, which makes it tougher than biology. Also, and I didn’t want to raise this issue with him, but I think he’s using an older version of the book. He made us buy the brand new edition, but it’s not the same.

I’m constantly torn between being really active in online forums and discussing stuff with other nontraditional pre-meds, and just concentrating on my own work. I’m afraid I’ll psych myself out. I’m not as immature as I used to be, but I’m letting myself get nervous, when all I need to do is focus and learn the stuff.

Realizing how much there is to memorize so the A&P exam tomorrow goes smoothly, however, doesn’t really help. I wish I were independently wealthy so I wouldn’t have to work full-time and study. But that makes me worry I’d be all flighty and lazy like the kids of the uber-wealthy. I’d never get to have the fun that comes with working hard and working towards realizing an ambition. I don’t know if I’d really be as happy as I am, if I were insanely wealthy.


I have four tasks that are non-work related that need to be done. I have to write my personal statement for the postbac program at UMD, finish my lab on joints, find a part-time job, and figure out if this is actually a good idea.

I feel worried, scared, and a teensy bit alone.

Next year, if I can get Maryland residency, then I can schedule daytime classes, and possibly get some financial aid.

Let the pep rally begin…

I, a full-time administrative workerbee, recently started taking a biology class at a community college in a state with cheaper tuition. I live and work in DC and the magic of the interwebs is allowing me to take this class. The idea was to apply to attend nursing school and to take biology before I take Anatomy & Physiology. I’m toying with the idea of med school as well.

Why am I taking this course online at a community college not in my own area?  I don’t make very much and couldn’t afford the $1,000+/per credit price tag Georgetown offers its biology courses at. I could attend UDC at $75/credit, but their lab classes start at 5:30 pm and I don’t have that kind of flexibility in my work schedule. UMD is an option, but they end up being just as inflexible as UDC. Northern Virginia Community College offers classes on the weekend, but DC residents have to pay $276/credit. My out-of-state community college in charges $50/credit. Sweet, especially for someone who is carless and on my salary (though even $200 can be a hit to my budget). Read the rest of this entry »