Friday, July 17, 2009

College Summit - Day 1

It is 7:00 in the morning and I am up after a fairly good night’s rest. I’m a little surprised that I slept so well after the weird day I had yesterday. Here is how my first day at College Summit went down:

3:15 – Arrival. I got a little lost, but that’s probably because I didn’t read the info they sent me.
3:45 – Registration and Dorm Check-In. Registration was a rather quick and easy process. I finally got the meet DeMarcus, the 20-year old I have been aggravating for the last 2 days, again because I failed to read the info they sent me. Also meet Jolande, who will be my mentor and guide during my journey here.
3:48 – Room Inspection. I was mortified when I saw my room. Trash can full, paper on the floor, a towel under the bed. It looked as if my room had been recently inhabited. I marched back out and to discuss this atrocity with DeMarcus. I was trying so hard to be polite; I didn’t want to be labeled to bourgeoisie problem child so early in the process. He said they would call housekeeping to clean the room for me. I looked in the bathroom and was terrified. I tried to remember back to my first year in college; moving into my dorm room the first time was exciting! Was USC this bad? I was in the Honeycomb towers my first semester, so it couldn’t have been much better. What has happened to make what used to be exciting into repulsion? I guess the 36 year old Teowonna isn’t as easy to please as the 18 year old Teowonna… (hear that, men!)
3:50 – Met a lady from Columbia. She was spraying her room down with Lysol. She’s an American Red Cross volunteer and says she goes nowhere without everything she needs to fumigate her room. So, all I had to do was follow the big mushroom cloud billowing into hall to find out where she was. KB laughed at me when she came and saw my nasty room. Thanks KB. I really appreciate your sympathy. That’s when I first discovered there is no ice. No TV. No CNN. No nothing.
4:00 – No housekeeping.
4:15 – No housekeeping. I refused to set my room up. Something about me just won’t let me put my clean sheets on that bed.
4:30 – Writing Coach Training. The rest of the group and I trekked down to a classroom for our training. Our Writing Coach Coordinator, Jolande, has done this for 3 summers for a total of 10 different sessions. She must not have come to Presby College the first time, because this is enough to run someone away forever. There are 8 of us here. An interesting cast of characters. There’s Robert, the gay teacher; Kathy, the former politician’s daughter; Sylvie, a high school college counselor; Amy, a software company training instructor; Shalanda, a chaperone and English teacher; KB, a full-time PhD student; and Melissa (I’m almost afraid to say her name because her disposition, let’s say, is a little less than sunny). I don’t know what she does. Too afraid to ask again.
7:00 – Dinner. After eating all my snacks, KB and I started to get a little hungry and very thirsty. When they brought our food in, she said “I hope it tastes better than it smells.” No such luck; the food was barely palatable. What happened to the good food they used to cook on college campuses? Was the food at USC this bad or was I young with an unrefined palate? Please, help me understand what is going on here!
8:30 – Group Meeting. All the staff members met, introduced ourselves and discussed what to expect. We did a team building exercised that really gave me some insight on myself. That was cool.
9:30 – The bomb dropped. We have to switch dorms. Because of the number of students that came unexpectedly, we have to move from Barron to Grotnes. On the third floor. And there is NO elevator. Ok… this is getting more and more precarious. When I walked into Grotnes with my bag in tow, I am assaulted by scores of screaming and squealing 7, 8 and 9 year old. They are here for a basketball camp. Why does a baby need basketball camp? Is that really necessary or is this just a way to get parents’ money in hopes of honing a basketball star? Or a way for parents to get some peace and quiet during the summer. Probably the latter. I did note there were no little black girls running through the halls, all giddy to be in a ‘real college dorm’. I wondered why that was?
So, I got my 50 lb bag and lugged it up 3 flights of stairs to my new but cleaner room.
10:30 – Trip off-campus. Against rules, KB, Shalanda and I went to the Bi-Lo to get something to clean our rooms and get some real food. We ordered personal pizza’s from Pizza Hut and got a few necessities from Bi-Lo.
11:45 – Time to relax. I finally ate, got my room squared away and ready for a shower. I turned the shower on and waited for the stream to heat up. The hot water never came. A few more minutes, warmer, then colder. Finally, I decided to just get on in and do what had to be done. (The one thing I knew could make the day seem just a little better was a hot relaxing shower… and I was robbed of that too!) Strangely enough, the longer I stayed in the shower, the warmer the water felt. That gave me hope. Perhaps that longer I endure this foolishness in the name of higher education and volunteerism, the better it will get! I drank a glass of the Cabernet that I snuck in my bag and went to bed. Let’s see what tomorrow will bring.
12:10 – Nights out.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ode to South Carolina Student Loan Corporation

As I write out this check to the South Carolina Student Loan Corp, I couldn’t help but wonder all the things I could do if I didn’t make my student loan payments.

Get the oil changed in my car ($125), Get my hair done by a real beautician ($65), Get some cosmetic dentistry ($250), Pay my credit card bills (too much to even think about writing down), Pay Tee Dee to come clean my house, ($75), Replace the broken glass in my sliding glass door ($75), Go grocery shopping ($55), Take Chi Chi to the vet, ($125), Take Chester to the vet ($125), Go to Mint Julep’s for a few drinks and appetizers, ($35), Go play golf ($35).

Although begrudgedly, I write out the monthly payment anyway, because if I didn’t have the student loans, I would probably:

Be hunting a ride to go renew my bus pass, Be rocking a bright red weave that my cousin ‘them did, Be taking my gold tooth out to brush my teeth, Not even care about the credit card bills, Wouldn’t care if the house was junky, Hang a sheet over the sliding glass door, Be going grocery shopping with my EBT card, Be taking my children Chi Chi and Chester to the health department, Be going the Mr. Brown’s Seafood for some fish, Be hanging out at the ball court.

Not to mention: Be dumb, Be unemployed, and Knocked up right now.

God Bless the South Carolina Student Loan Corporation.