Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Mis Compañeros de Clase

When I was working on my PhD at UW, most of my fellow grad students were planning to pursue a career in academica. Of course, what that really meant was trying to find a job as a professor at a "worthy" institution, which often ruled out small liberal arts colleges and especially (the horror!) community colleges. This attitude was one of the many factors that helped me realize rather early that I didn't want to follow the typical path, and my current experience at SCC has only affirmed my distaste for academics who scorn or look down on teaching in the CC system.

I admit, I definitely had certain preconceived notions about what type of student I might encounter in this class, and those condescending assumptions reveal much more about me (my culture, my background) than about the reality of the student population at SCC. Certainly, the majority of students are young, and some of my classmates don't seem committed to doing the work or often have difficulty keeping up in class.

However, the handful of compañeros de clase whom I've gotten to know a bit better certainly don't fit the lowly stereotype of a CC student. All of them are hard-working and adept at juggling multiple obligations and commitments:

W is in his mid-30s. He completed several semesters as an engineering undergrad in Arizona (I think) but then moved to northern CA, got married, and decided to get his real estate license rather than continuing with school. Now that the real estate market isn't so hot, he's taking the opportunity to go back to school to finish his BA. His degree will be from Sac State (CSUS), but he's got a few classes at SCC because they count towards different credit requirements and will help him to complete his degree a bit sooner. One of his Sac State classes is Mineralogy, and he has two lab classes that occupy almost all of his Tuesdays and Thursdays, not to mention that he also still works while going to school.

E is a bit younger, I think, probably mid to late 20s. He's married with a young child at home, is taking a full course load, and just recently completed the first step towards his real estate license. In addition, he runs his own business doing web design, which allows him to stay home with his daughter while his wife works (she's also got some of her real estate licensing completed).

D is in her early to mid 20s. She'll be completing her Associate's degree this semester, and has been working full-time the entire time she's been going to school. She works 40 hours a week as a mortgage broker at a bank and plans to continue with schooling to get her BA and eventually a Masters (in something - not sure yet what). However, she may move to Arizona soon as her boyfriend recently bought a house there. He's in the Air Force reserves (after completing 6 years of initial service and a degree of some kind in sports training), so he comes back to Sacramento monthly to complete his required duty. Her work/school schedule means that she usually gets to bed around midnight and gets up around 5am.

J is in her early 20s and completed several years of Spanish in high school. She gets up before 5am every weekend to work 8-10 hours a day for a baked goods company (Sara Lee? can't quite remember right now...) to re-stock the displays at several stores.

C is in her 40s and teaches German at SCC. She rides her bike to class (kudos to the alternative transportation!).

H is one of the younger students, I think. He's blind and takes the exams with alternative support. He's got great memory retention and pronuciation.

Un grupo muy interestante, ¿no? Estos estudiantes son trabajadores y serios. Y nuestra profesora, Dra. MCG, es dinámica, inteligente, y muy simpática. Ella es dottora de la Universidad de California en Davis, y se gusto enseñar en las universidades de la communidad.

(OK, so I know that's not really the right term for Community College, but such institutions don't exist in most hispanophone countries, so I don't think Spanish really has an identical term)

Me gusto mucho la clase de español!


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