Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 428 - "I Need Motivation"

So, I've been studying for the GRE.

Here's the shocking word in that previous sentence: studying.

You see, I graduated ninth out of 115 in my high school class and never studied for tests or quizzes.  In college, I graduated with a 3.45 GPA and the thought of studying for exams was unheard of.  Granted, for a while I forgot what it was even like to take an exam because I didn't have them.  Thank you, Food and Culture class, for reminding me what an exam is.

Back to the GRE.  Everyone I know who is/will be taking the GRE has been studying their butts off, and I was the one who waited to even register for the test.  The day after I registered, I went out and bought the review book published by The Princeton Review.  I planned on reading it, doing the practice problems, taking the online tests, and generally forcing my non-studying self to study for a test that I paid $160 to take.

Here's what I've learned thus far:

1.  The GRE is not a test of an individual's intelligence.  It is a test of how well you can take a standardized test.  (In that case, well, this could get interesting...)
2.  This test is going to be the longest test I have taken in my life, beating out the cumulative amount of time spent on my 5 attempts to get my driver's license.  Don't judge me!
3.  I've learned how to do analogies (which I knew from the PSAT,) antonyms, and sentence completions (aka fill in the blank or blanks.)  Actually, the book basically told me how to guess intelligently, since the test is timed and wrong answers do count against you.
4.  I paid $160 for the priviledge of being a guinea pig for future GRE tests.  You see, the test repeats either the math or verbal section of the test when you take it, and one of the repeated sections is a research section while the other is actually scored.  Here's the beef - they don't tell you which one is the research section and which one is scored.  Probably to avoid what happened with the Ohio Graduation Class when they told us our freshman year of high school that we were the beta testers to set standards - and half the class answered "C" for every question on the test.

I guess this means that I'm back to studying.  Tonight's chapter: reading comprehension.  So far, I've learned that the secret to this section is to not read the whole sample, but to go straight to the questions about the passage.



Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 426 - "Where Have You Been?!"

Before this post really gets rolling, I want to explain what is going on.  I've had a highly unusual week, and last night I needed a laugh or two.  One of my fellow Suite101 writers had posted this blog she had found called Cake Wreckers, and as my sisters and I gathered around Erin's MacBook to literally laugh until we cried and gripped our sides, I noticed that their blog of pictures and witty sarcastic commentary could be a fun experiment.  Definitely need to check out these guys - they are hilarious.  The End.

So, to explain where I've been this week, here is my week in revue - complete with pictures and very bad Microsoft Paint artwork!

Back, in a land known as October 17, 2010, our story begins...

My mom left for Grandma's house to spend the week with her because Aunt Judy and Uncle Mike are selling their house in North Canton and officially moving in to take care of Grandma.

"I don't know how we'll escape an attack from the Octopus Sun, Grandma!"
"Well, we'll just have to wait and see, won't we?"

Mommy was staying the whole week, which meant that I was left with Daddy and his cowboy movies that he watches obsessively, and Katie with a butt-load of language arts homework that was never explained to her at school so I had to teach her eighth grade grammar.  Round 'em up, little doggies!  Them linkin' and action verbs are a gonna escape if we don do sumthin'!

Monday evening rolls around, and this is where all of the fun really gets going.  You see, this is our computer.  Well, it's the most least relevant part of it, because the part that really pissed me off is now destroyed on my dad's workbench.  He got a little curious.

When I was attempting to play on Facebook Monday evening, the monitor went caput.  We bought our monitor when flat screen monitors first came out, so the thing was at least 5 years old and had been flickering in and out on us for a couple of weeks, but always came back on.  RIP, power cord that was older than the old monitor.  Well, maybe.

Blardy Blardy Blar, don't we look so sweet and innocent?  Well, except for the FAN OF DOOM!

After I got off work on Tuesday morning, I went to Grandma's to explain what was going on.  That's when I talked Mommy into $13 in mostly gold dollar coins and quarters to buy a new power cord for the monitor.  I was broke as a joke so there was no way that I was paying for it.

I installed the Power Cord of Wonder, went to turn on the monitor and...nothing.

Still freakin' dead.

It's the amazing Harry Potter lightning bolt power cord OF FAILURE!!!!!
 So my dad, who is going through withdraw because he can't get on Facebook or check his email or watch obscure guitar players on YouTube, tells me that I need to find a laptop to hook up downstairs until we can get a new monitor.  Actually, I'm thinking that he was hoping for a Mac, but fat chance dude, you're only getting a monitor.

Wednesday.  Katie had gotten Erin's old Dell from Hell out of the closet and we decided that it was going to be our next victim.  My parents had bought Erin the Dell from Hell for her freshman year of college, and when it caught a virus and the computer started talking to her, well, it got stashed in the closet.  Erin transferred colleges and bought her Mac at the Kent State bookstore.

Not only will I talk to you in the middle of the night in low, freakishly creepy tones, but I will also slam my devilish lid on Ashley's toes!

The Dell from Hell worked just fine until I put it away a couple of hours ago.  Thank goodness it didn't do any random talking to me, or I would have thrown it across the room.

On Thursday, I had to work until one in the afternoon, and when I went to check my text messages I noticed that they stopped at 7:30 A.M.  That's highly unusual, because between Twitter and friends, I always have text messages.  My phone vibrates constantly.

Guess what?  Mommy hadn't paid the cell phone bill yet, and AT&T graciously reminded us about it by turning off our cell phone service.  Oh, just what I always wanted!

Not only am I useless AND angry, but I'll also set your printer and iPod dock on FIRE!!!!!!!

My dad pestered me all day Friday about when the monitor was going to come.  In the short two hours that he was home and awake yesterday afternoon, I went from the happy Ashley in my profile picture to something a little horrible looking.


Today.  Sweet, sweet Saturday.  The monitor was supposed to arrive, and after bickering with my dad about proof of delivery options for the stupid thing, I stayed home and piddled around looking for a birthday present for my boyfriend (whose birthday was yesterday, but since I didn't get paid until this morning I had a whole lot of no money for anything besides a bouncy ball out of one of those quarter machines at the grocery store.)  The FedEx man delivered the monitor with a cheery "I bet you've been waiting for this."

No. Kidding.  Dude.

So, here it is, our blessed new 20", wide screen, energy efficient $100 special Dell monitor, complete with my sister Katie:

In the name of all things holy, THANK YOU FEDEX MAN!

Granted, I almost killed my mom's Christmas cactus in the corner when I tried to set it up, and almost called Dell tech support before realizing that I hadn't pushed the power cord in all of the way, but it's alive.  If I could figure out how to cue the Hallelujah Chorus at this point in the blog, I would.

Now, if only my cell phone service would kick back on.  Everyone else's service is back on except for mine.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 419 - "Just Trust Us On This One"

I found an old issue of Cosmopolitan magazine today when I was cleaning up a few things in my bedroom and started flipping through it.  The article that caught my eye?  "Why You Shouldn't Hate Your First Job."

The article was written by someone who had gone to college, worked hard to get good grades, and had had an entry-level job that completely broke the I'm-starting-my-career bubble.  I wish I could find the article online, but that copy of the magazine was a couple of months old.  I'll keep looking, though.

The whole premise was that we young college grads shouldn't hate our first jobs right out of college because they are meant to be learning experiences, those "earning your street cred" type jobs that sometimes aren't anything more than a glorified internship with a salary.

Here's my counter argument to this article.  Don't get me wrong, I love my writing job, but it's that truly first job, the one I've been stuck at since high school and would probably quit in a heart beat, that has really had me grinding my teeth this past week.

Here it is - my top five reasons of "Why You Should Hate Your First Job."

5.  Given today's economy, it is just as likely for someone with, say, an education degree to be working at the local coffee shop as the local elementary school.  Just because it's a job doesn't necessarily validate all of those all-nighters we had, exams we crammed for, field hours we logged, and that crazy get up we wore at graduation.

4.  Student loans.  Not all post-college jobs are created equal.  Some will pay for loan payments, rent, and all of those other big kid expenses that tend to pile up.  Others will leave you wondering if you will have the money to put gas in your car to drive the six miles to an aggravatingly annoying job that you're more than overqualified for come Monday morning - and you haven't driven your car all weekend because of it.

3.  The Job Shuffle.  Like I talked about in my post on Day 365, we twenty-somethings change jobs a lot before we turn 30.  There's always the first job, but then we have the second first job, the third first job, the random gig in retail in between first jobs, and then there's THE first job that we may or may not stick with when we settle down, start families, or suddenly decide to go to graduate school and become GAs or TAs and get paid the same sized salary as our first first job.

2.  Relevance.  Like in reason five, more and more first jobs are completely irrelevant when compared to our degrees.  I have no desire whatsoever to pursue a career in training people how to make sandwiches and use crappy cash registers - or to deal with the drama of people who can't get over the fact that they screwed up and got in trouble for it.  Sorry for the tangent.

1.  Fulfillment.  I don't know about many other people my age, but I want to feel at least some sense of satisfaction with my first job.  I am not one of those people to have or do something just for the sake of having it; I want to know that I am doing something that I love and that I can share that love of what I'm doing with other people.  First jobs, or second first jobs or even third first jobs, don't always provide that - it's that "earn your street cred" mentality that sometimes leaves the college graduate making copies and the intern sitting in on important meetings.

Maybe I'm just slightly jaded, or maybe I've just had a bad week.  I can understand why you shouldn't hate your first job, but there are also plenty of reasons why you should.  That's why we twenty-somethings change jobs so many times, possibly?