Just Blabbing About Community College

28 Nov


  Eventually I graduated—despite my best efforts—and found myself off to Cortland State to try my hand at independence and academic success…After one semester I was on two counts of judicial probation, one count of academic probation and I like to think at least three counts of super secret probation.  I had been caught with weed three times, written up for it once; I had to take a class on fire safety due to my involvement in covering up a smoke detector for my friend’s cigar smoking pleasure, and finally missed a Final Exam that would have raised my GPA a full number.  Oh well, I left Cortland in a daze one morning at about 3 a.m. Depressed and ashamed I crept into my parents apartment by climbing the back balcony and passed out on my old, twin-sized bed, determined to forget the last 4 months.

As usual my parents understood, albeit noticeably disappointed, they sat me down to discuss some options.  I could still go back to Cortland, but I would, in essence, be betting 13K dollars of my own money that I would not get in anymore kind of trouble and would maintain at least a 2.5 gpa for the rest of my 3 and a half years at school.  Never being a gambling man, I sent a letter to the school with my intentions to never return.  My fraternity was devastated…for a couple of weeks.

It was upon my return from college that the 500 Building and myself really became acquainted.  It took only a week after making my life-altering decision for me to be enrolled at the local community college.  I would take vocational classes in Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning ‘sciences’.  I had never been a handy person, or really mechanically inclined in any way, but my father was persuasive, and despite our occasional (frequent) clashes, I knew he was a wise man and that he had my best interests at heart.  My first semester would consist of night classes, four days a week.

It was a strange feeling being in class at 9:30 or 10 P.M.  and it was the first time that nobody was making me go to class.  Even at Cortland, just living in a dorm full of students coming and going, studying and bitching about crack-of-dawn courses, was enough peer pressure to shame you into making at least a few classes.  Nobody wanted to be the kid everybody knew would never make it to Graduation.  The brave souls that did perpetuate this persona were either taking Adderal, covertly and inefficiently spending all night studying or had convinced themselves very early on that their claim to fame in life was going to begin and end with binge drinking.

With classes starting at 6:30 and 5 P.M. my parents weren’t even around to hassle me into making the Twenty minute drive into the thoroughly depressing city of Troy, NY The only thing that got me to classes every night and for the rest of my scholastic career, was an intense fear of repeated failure, and unhealthy quantities of Marijuana.

My first night class would prove to be a telling glimpse into the next couple years.  The room was hot, small and crowded with not so much as a “Reading is Fun” poster to color the bleak walls.  I found a seat in the back behind an autistic kid with two lap-tops humming on his desk.  He was furiously talking to himself and I was pleased with my seat.  I listened to him argue with one of his computers over the superiority of his brain compared to that of either of the lap tops’.  In the end I would say the computers’ silence may have won them the argument.  Eventually a teacher shuffled in, looking as depressed as I felt, and sat down at the rickety teachers desk in the corner.  The class was some level of Math.  The lowest level of Math.  The teacher was clearly humiliated to have fallen to this level…he would tell us later he had been a chemical engineer.  Poor bastard, I always wondered how he ended up teaching addition and subtraction at a community college.

The first week I learned how to line-up numbers in order to do addition or subtraction, the second week I didn’t show up, the third week my autistic friend stopped coming to class which proved to be something I would not easily get over, and the fourth week I had figured out I could show up to class, write down the homework, take a quiz then sneak out on the first smoke break.  All in All I spent maybe fifteen minutes a week at the 3 hour class.  There were other hours spent within the walls of the Community College’s most isolated structure, but they were so mind-numbingly boring that I would not dare subject anyone to a lengthy description.


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