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Bad things

School / Paging Doctor K

Recently, I received a letter from Alegent Health confirming that I will not be attending Radiology school this fall. Want to lie and say it doesn’t affect me, that I saw it coming (which I did) and I’m totally over it (which I’m not), but the truth is I spent about an hour yesterday flopped on the bed, staring into space.

Since there’s no longer a rush to complete my pre-requisites before the start of the program, today I more or less decided to drop one of my classes this semester—an English class. Fact is I’ve been struggling big-time these last few months, always finding a compelling reason to procrastinate on assignments, always turning in homework late, sometimes so late the teacher has refused to grade it. I think this semester was kind of fucked from the beginning. Because my online psychology class opened on a Friday instead of mid-week like the teacher had assumed it would, we all found ourselves in trouble pretty much on day one, having to complete assigned readings, a discussion, and a paper over the weekend—all of which, for me, never happened. Fortunately, she’s been cool about letting me turn in shit that is days, sometimes weeks, old. Kind of why I’m not dropping the class. But that other one, that English course, even if I stuck with it I’d only get a C or a D, at best, the latter meaning I’d have to take it again anyway just for the credits to count. So why bother. Besides, the teacher’s some hard-assed cunt. The first week we had been given a simple assignment: write a paragraph introducing ourselves, then read the syllabus and write a couple lines stating we’ve read the thing, that we have purchased the course textbook, and that we pinky-swear to never, ever, ever stoop so low as to plagiarize. Seems pretty easy, right, pretty black and white. So imagine my surprise when I see my grade of 8.8/10, or 88%, or a fucking B. I later sent her an e-mail, expressing my disgust:

“[…] Also, since I’m writing this here, just wondering why [assignment] is graded as a 9. Was the introduction not introductory enough? And the [other assignment] graded as an 8.8—again, pretty straightforward what was asked, pretty sure I did what was asked. This grading strikes me as random, arbitrary, and really quite harsh.”

To which she responded:

“Hi, Jon. Please write messages with respect to me. I have been teaching online for over 6 years and generally never have problems with students and/or my grading policies and philosophy. A 9 is an A or 90%. I rarely offer 10 points (though I do if the work is above and beyond the assignment requirements).”

Understandable, I suppose, were we not talking about fucking introductions here, little pow-wow-get-to-know-each-other type stuff. This fiasco bothered me for maybe all of five minutes, then a beautiful, intense apathy washed over me and I got over it. Just posting it here because it’s kind of amusing, and because I think it’s crystal clear from this the kind of hell I was in for in the days ahead. I mean if I get these kinds of grades on shit that really doesn’t matter just imagine the kind treatment my paper would have been given.

So, yesterday—not getting into Radiology this year is kind of a huge deal. Next shot I have at getting in is fall 2014, which is way too fucking long for somebody who’s going to be thirty-five soon and has the qualifications to stock grocery shelves or flip burgers and little more. So now I guess I move on to Plan B, the pharmacy tech thing, and somehow—I don’t yet know how—but somehow find the motivation to learn the material in my spare time, study for the PTCE (Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam), because it’s pretty fucking blindingly obvious I couldn’t just be one of these lucky schmucks that gets hired on at a Walgreens or a CVS and gets paid to do the same kind of training, nah, for some reason that’s not how it works for me—I have to stride in there with certification in hand before anybody takes me seriously.

For these and other reasons (kindly illustrated here on this blog), I’ve decided to try counseling again. When I had my colonoscopy, a week ago, a social worker referred me to a guy, said he might be able to help. I don’t know, I’ve tried talking to someone a couple times now and never felt like they were listening to me, like they actually cared, were actually invested in me and wanted to see me turn things around. But maybe I should try again. I think about killing myself every day. And something the social worker said stuck with me, she said it gets easier: the more a person thinks about suicide the closer they get to doing it. Especially as the days wear on. She’s right—it is. I know how true it is.

Whenever I’m heading out, whether that’s to the store, to get my meds, to the library, or just to get something to eat, I sit in my car in the dark cold calm of my garage and I have a moment. I start the engine and there’s a few seconds before the door goes up completely where I’m just sitting there idling and every time, every single time, I think about someday not opening that garage door, just sitting there while the fumes build up, sitting there waiting to fall asleep forever. And that’s not normal.

Receiving a letter in the mail that basically says, Sorry, better luck next time, and wanting to cave and fall apart and cash-in and check out of life forever, wanting to die because of some stupid silly words—that’s not normal, either.

So maybe Doctor K can help me out with some of this.



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