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The highs and lows of job hunting, part I
I'm a loser.
Yep, you heard me, a total fucking loser. I'm 25 years old and living out of my sister's bedroom at my mom's house. My sister started college, moved out, and I moved back in.
I've lived in some pretty fucked up places over the years. It all started when I dropped out of high school. That was back in 2000. Let's take a look back at how I got to where I am today.
Fall 2000-Fall 2001
At this point in my life I hadn't moved out yet. I was but a lad of 17 years of age, and a recent high school drop-out. My big plan was to attend a full year at the local community college, taking some freshman classes like English, calculus, and chemistry, and transfer the next year to the big state university and study chemical engineering like my father. Boy, did I fuck up.
First off, to get to school I had to get a ride from my father, who was a professor there. That doesn't work, really, since I sorta didn't have to be there as much as he did and that's a lot of time to kill, so I told him I wanted my own car. We started looking around, and they bought me a cheap ass Kia Rio. It was like $13,000 new. I was excited, but part of the deal was to help pay for it, so I got a job at the Wal-Mart Toy Department in late October planning on working 15-20 hours a week. And that's when the trouble started.
Wal-Mart sucks. You say one thing on your schedule, then everyone else in the department quits, including the department manager, and all of a sudden you're working 30-40 hour weeks while trying to attend college full time. At the age of 17. I'd be in the store sometimes until after midnight trying to practice good zone defense. I missed Thanksgiving that year because I was the only one scheduled to work. And they had me working alone in the toy department the day after Thanksgiving. Oh, and I worked an 8 hour shift on Christmas Eve as well.
Needless to say my grades all dropped, and by the second semester I dropped a few courses. Half my minimum wage paycheck went to my parents, and then I discovered how expensive car insurance was. One of the worst years of my life.
Oh, and the GED is a joke. They make you train for it, and I swear these are the stupidest people ever. Eventually they just let me come in and play Minesweeper for a few hours every day. I took it, scored 3rd in the state that year, and got a scholarship I didn't apply for. Third out of some 17,000 people.
Fall 2001-Winter 2001
That summer my father got sick and tired of small college politics, so he transferred to a smaller university, Southern Arkansas University. And since tuition is waived for children of faculty, and there's a 50% discount off book costs, and I could live for free with my father in faculty housing, which was free for him as well... I didn't get to go to my big university to study chemical engineering. I instead got to sleep on a couch in the living room/dining room/kitchen of an efficiency apartment. Total square footage of this place must have been around 500 or so. Maybe a lot less.
This actually was my best semester. Being away from friends and a comfortable environment I had no distractions. Not even cable tv. It was just me and the books. And so I studied hard. My only 4.0 semester in college. Not that I was taking tough classes. Physics I, Cal II, Chem II, Intro to Computing, History I... shit like that.
Also got reacquainted with my love for reading. I was always in the college library since it stayed open late and was the only place I could reach on foot. I took a job as a tutor for College Algebra and tutored four different classes. Not so bad for a semester spent sleeping on a couch.
My father moved up to an actual faculty house, with bedrooms and more than one bedroom and all sorts of shit. I still had a pretty good semester, considering, but now I had distractions. He moved because my little brother, John, teh_Choji for anyone who was on the forums back in early '06, came to stay with us.
The room was nicer. I had a bed and hardwood floors, and my father allowed me first pick of the rooms. But with comfort... Not a bad semester. The most I remember from it, really, was reading the Dune prequels from the town library.
Summer 2002-Spring 2003
For reasons I've discussed at length elsewhere (a certain girl), I didn't want to leave Magnolia just yet, so I stuck around for another two semesters. The rest of my family followed my little brother soon after, and we bought a real nice house on two plots (like 5 acres) of land. It was a nice place, 4 bedroom, 2.5 baths, a huge living room, a huge shed/garage in the back yard not connected to the house, a wrap around patio/porch, outside of town with tons of privacy and a beautiful grove of trees in the backyard. Unfortunately for me, I have four little brothers and sisters, and they all got real bedrooms, so where did that leave me? Poor Oliver, who was there first, was shunted outside to live in a shed. It was a big shed, more like a garage, with two huge garage doors, but it was still a shed. No running water, no heat, no air, tons of bugs... I placed my bed in the center of the room.
I didn't really mind living in a shed, though. Tons of privacy once we got the curtains put up over the huge garage door windows, and in winter in was bearable due to the space heater, as long as you didn't mind staying pretty close to it.
Summer 2003-Fall 2003
My mom couldn't stand Magnolia, so she took a job back in our home town and moved away from the family. She rented a small apartment in Fort Smith (my home town) with two bedrooms, and since it was time for me to actually start studying chemical engineering, I moved up there with her.
Living with your mom is sorta fun, I guess. I got to know her better, she never bitched at me the way my father did about small things, and she picked up after herself. She sorta spoiled me as well. Unfortunately, the university I was enrolled in was in Fayetteville, AR, and that was an hours drive up there and an hour back. It was tough waking up for 9:00 AM classes in Magnolia, but now I was having to wake-up for 8:30 classes in Fayetteville, which meant I had to be out of the house by 7:00 AM, and up usually around 6:30. Fucking hell. And what do you do for two hours between classes?
I told mom that I had to move to Fayetteville, and she said I'd need a job up there first, so I went about finding one. Got a job through my best friend, Josh, who got it through his friend, Jared, working at Willis Shaw Express, a trucking company, where I was a log analyst. It was like $9.00 an hour, which was tons of money to me then. So I started working there, living in Fort Smith. I went about looking for apartments, but one weekend when my dad was visiting, he found me one and I didn't have much say in it.
This apartment that my parents found me has been, to date, my favorite place to live. Hardwood floors, great colors and location, and antique fixtures. It's something you'd see in a movie, really. The guys below me smoked a lot of pot and that bothered me, and the couple I rented it from lived above me and their daughter loved to clomp around in high heel shoes on their hardwood floors starting at 6 AM every day, but otherwise it was a great place.
The apartment was exactly an 8 minute walk from my first class of the day at the university. It was down some side streets, though, so the traffic wasn't too heavy, though you'd have the occasional car pass by. The living room windows overlooked some other apartments and it was fun to watch people go about their lives. The bathroom had one of those deep claw footed tubs. The only tub I've owned that I could really submerge myself in. I'd take three baths a day, seriously. I'd sit in the tub for hours reading. There was a window in the bathroom too, so taking a bath after dark, when it was raining, with the lights off... *sigh*
Course, I was also going through a deep depression at the time (I might have explained the reasons why elsewhere). I was drinking lots of gin, straight, and don't recall much of that semester. And even working this pretty good job, the rent for the apartment was something like $550 a month, which is a lot for a one bedroom place for a 20 year old making $12/hr taking 18 hour semesters going through a depression. And the job I had was a good twenty - thirty minute drive from my apartment, so gas was starting to get expensive as well. I just couldn't keep up with it all. This was when I started realizing how much my parents had failed me. They said they'd pay for half of my apartment costs. They didn't come through with that. I had to move.
Because of length, I'm going to have to split the blog into three parts. Part II is up, and Part III is coming soon.
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