The College Experience

I’ve been in college since 2012, so you could say that I’m well-versed in the college experience. It’s all bullshit. I’ve been to 3 different schools, and all three of them were practically the same. The shitty truth is this: college isn’t that hard. I’m a terrible student; I don’t like to study, I don’t do it every day, or even every week, and I get straight A’s. This should scare the shit out of everyone paying $30,000 a year for a piece of paper that I can recreate in Photoshop.  I’m not even that smart, there are tons of people far, far smarter than I am, so how is it that I get better grades than them?

First and foremost, colleges are businesses. If you own a restaurant, you want to ensure that your customers are satisfied when they leave your restaurant so they tell other people about it. College is the same way. If everyone who attended college failed, nobody would go, so I think the administration put pressure on the faculty to ease grading policies to ensure that not only do their students get to brag about their GPA, but also to keep a steady flow of uninformed 18 year-olds with student loans coming through their halls.

I’m not trying to brag, I’m just some uninformed asshole on the Internet spouting my opinions, so do your research before you sign your life away to some loan company that will actively try to take advantage of your financial illiteracy. Student loans can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, as far as I know, so if you aren’t 100% certain that college will help you get to where you want to be, don’t waste your time fucking up your credit score.

If you are dead-set on college, don’t be stupid: go to community college first. It’s not as sexy as spending freshman year blacking out on cheap vodka and Blue Gatorade, but it will pay dividends in the end.  Community college is like an extension of high school, but you’re not pumping hormones 24/7, and you don’t have to spend your days there, so it’s infinitely better, and you save money. Make sure your credits transfer though, nobody wants to go through all that work just to find out that your credits from “Intro to Microbrews” don’t transfer.

If you’re not gonna go to class, don’t go to college. I’ve done my 10,000 hours of partying, I’m a professional, so when I tell you it’s not worth it, IT’S NOT WORTH IT. Yeah, it’s fun, yeah, you’ll think you’re the shit, yeah, doing drugs is fun (allegedly), but is that worth tens of thousands of dollars? No, the fuck it’s not. If you’re going to be that person, do the world a favor and don’t go to college. Just stay in your home town and sell drugs like a normal piece of shit.

Full disclosure: I’m not 1000% certain that I’m right, you’re experience might be different than mine, you might’ve had a completely different experience and think college was the best years of your life. I’m not you, I’m just here to tell my story and hope that somebody gets useful advice from my ramblings.

Writing About Writing

So, as maybe two of you might remember, I’m taking a graduate-level Philosophy class without any knowledge of Philosophy, outside of what I learned from the major motion picture Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Surprisingly, I’m crushing it. I just got my last paper back, and I got a 100%. This came as a surprise because said paper is a 3-page, 3-paragraph, dog fart that wouldn’t have seen the light of day if I had started it more than an hour before it was due.  This leads me to think one of two things. 1) This paper I wrote while barely sober enough to type is actually amazing, and I’m a great writer, or 2) My professor read this cracked-out abortion of a paper, felt badly, and graded me accordingly.

My writing process usually comes down to two methods. The first, and most natural one, is to just type whatever comes into my head, edit it for clarity, and let it rock. This usually works, but after I submit it, I dissect every word and think of ways to improve it, which usually makes me want to delete everything and start fresh. This leads me to the second method; what I like to call the “Fuck You, Run It Again” method. This method only comes out when I’m under pressure, and can’t just edit as I go. This usually leads me to finishing a paper, reading it 2 or 3 times, and deleting it and starting it over because I don’t like the direction it takes. This method is incredible, it has a nearly 100% success rating, but makes me all boo-hooey for a while after, because if you spend hours at a time hating yourself and your writing, you’re going to have a bad time. I’m trying to refine both processes, combining them to make a single fluid workflow, but it’s rough, and since I’m my biggest critic, I’ll probably go above and beyond what’s necessary and make something completely different in the process. This whole quarantine thing has given me an abundance of free time, so I should have it squared away in no time.

The Ol’ College Try Pt.2

So I’m about 3 weeks into the semester, and I’m surprised at how well it’s going.

I had some concerns when I first started; the “easy” English class I thought I was taking turned out to be a graduate-level Philosophy class, so that was a bit of a transition. My professor is a grad student that’s younger than I am. I’m actually doing pretty well in that class, I just have to quietly Google things when I don’t know what they’re talking about. For our first paper, we had to determine which philosopher most influenced the 1992 comedy film My Cousin Vinny, which is probably the weirdest assignment I’ve ever done. I had no idea what type of philosophy Joe Pesci subscribed to, so I just said Socrates, and hoped for the best.

Accounting is a no-brainer for me, which is weird because usually I suck at math. I got a 94 on my first quiz, so I’m pretty much crushing it right now. I really like the professor too, he seems like one of those goofy math teachers that are really passionate about math, so they find a way to have fun with it. That’s this guy and cash flow statements.

I don’t know why I was so worried about transferring to an actual college, but that’s the thing about worrying: things are never as bad as you think they’ll be.

Productivity is a Pain in the Ass

Why do we have to do things? Why can’t I just give in to that little devil on my shoulder that wants me to drink whiskey and watch re-runs of Parts Unknown all day?

Every day, I make a checklist of what I have to do. Usually, most of those things don’t get done right away.

I go days without achieving anything, but when I get things done, I Get. Things. Done. Maybe it’s the ADHD, maybe it’s because I like to be efficient, maybe it’s because I only get a certain amount of energy per week, like some sort of terrible solar battery. For example, for one of my English classes, I’d slacked off all semester because I was depressed and couldn’t get out of bed to go to class, and as a result, I had a semester’s worth of homework to do. I banged out over a dozen papers in day, and aced all of them. I wish I could do that for everything else in my life.

I’m sure there are numerous internal factors that are responsible for my lack of productivity lately; I haven’t been to the gym in awhile, I’ve been eating like shit, and I haven’t been sleeping that much, in addition to school and work responsibilities.

Hopefully, I’ll figure it out and crush it like I always do, but there has to be a limit to how far I can push myself before everything comes crashing down.

I think those bursts of energy can be stretched out and lengthened, so I’m going to try and figure out what brings them on, and try to do that more and more, until it’s just second-nature, and that lazy demon is banished, or exorcised, or whatever you do to demons.

The Ol’ College Try

I’m starting college again on Monday, and I’m fucking terrified.

I haven’t had a great track record with college; I colossally flamed out my first time, and I excelled the second time, years later. I’m batting around a .500, which isn’t great when it comes to spending thousands of dollars on education. I’m only taking two classes, but I’m still worried about them.

The first class is called Winning the Argument, and it’s an English class, so I shouldn’t have any trouble because writing is one of the things I’m not completely awful at. I’m sure that I’ll do fine in that class, but my Managerial Accounting class is going to be a nightmare. I did fine in the last accounting class I took, but that’s because I got angry that I wasn’t doing well, and stayed up late trying to figure it out because failing hurt my ego. I can’t rely on that to save me this time.

I’m 50 credits away from a Bachelor’s degree, so I’ll be in college for awhile. Remember that old Ryan Reynolds movie Van Wilder? If you haven’t, it’s about a 27-year old rich kid who is having too much fun in college to want to graduate.  I’m probably going to be 28 by the time I graduate, and that worries me. If I were an employer, I wouldn’t hire the guy who took 10 years to get a 4 year degree. Hopefully, advertising is filled with fuck-ups who took forever to finish college too, or I’m going to have to find a new profession.

I don’t want to be that weird old guy in class, that guy who butts into the lecture to jerk-off his ego and feel like he’s contributing something helpful, even though everyone else just wants him to shut up and not talk again. There’s always one in every class, so I’m hoping some other poor, awkward soul falls on that grenade for me.

Maybe it won’t be terrible. Maybe I’ll meet some new people and enjoy my college experience. Maybe I’ll find some club that interests me, or find a way to shmooze my way into an internship this summer. That’s the thing though, you never really know what’s going to happen, and that bugs the shit out of me. I don’t like being unprepared for what’s coming to me, I like knowing what’s going to happen beforehand, so I can set up a game plan and figure it out. I’ve had more college experience than most people I know, I should know what I’m in for, but I don’t.

Previously, I went to community college, and, for the most part, it was a breeze. I worked at about 60% capacity, and I got great grades. I don’t know if I can do the same at a real college. I’m worried that getting straight A’s at a community college gave me too much confidence in my abilities, and that I’m going to blow it this semester. I feel like a much poorer Billy Madison: I feel like people took it easy on me, and that I’m not really as smart as I think I am, and that everyone else sees it but me.  I’m not as much of a fuck-up as I was the last time I went to real college, so maybe I’ll be okay.