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«  Fri.12.01.2000  »
6:34 pm EST        32°F (0°C) in Ann Arbor
Calendar of Updates

Since I spent almost all of yesterday's update talking about the history of this site, I'll use today's update to talk a bit about recent happenings.

I worked again Tuesday and Wednesday nights at Bursley. I think I'm developing a preference for the dishroom — sure it's impersonal back there, but the trade-off is that your job task becomes mindless and repetitive. Sometimes, given my propensity to have my mind floating around in a million different places, I need to do something that requires next to no thought, and working the dishroom fills the bill quite nicely. It allows me to rest both of my brain cells and make money at the same time. I didn't really care much for the "entrée runner" job that I did on Wednesday (taco night); the whole night was run, run, run, and run some more. I suppose I experienced a baptism by fire, though, what with taco night being probably the second-busiest dinner at Bursley. (To make a parallel back to my bus job, it would be like sticking a rookie driver on the 5:00 pm southbound Commuter trip from Glazier Way.) In any case, I do enjoy working at Bursley, even if I will lose student status (and with it, eligibility to remain employed there) next month.

I promised to talk about my plans for the future back on Tuesday, but never got the chance in yesterday's update. I don't know every single minute detail yet, but once this term ends on December 22, I will be leaving the University of Michigan and returning home. At this point, I plan to procure a job that will pay me reasonably well (so long as I can net $1200 a month, I'll be fine) and move out of my house. My friend Eric from California wants out of a bad situation at his home as well, so as soon as it becomes financially feasible (I'm hoping late January), Eric and I are going to find an apartment together. (By living together, we'd keep the rent reasonable by splitting it in half.) At this point, I plan on procuring transportation; I've been looking around at 2001-model compact cars and used 1998 or 1999 midsize cars. There are a couple of transportation-related jobs that will come open around April; at least for the next several years, I'd be looking at making a career of one of those. As far as my schooling, I am considering a return date of around 2007 or 2008 for that; at this time, I can guarantee only that the school I attend will not be the University of Michigan.

I might have confused some readers with that last sentence. While I love certain parts of the University (athletic teams, traditions, etc.), I've reached a point where the fascist attitudes of most administrators force me to leave. You may have heard that U-M is a very liberal environment, perfect for the aspiring socialist. I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but those flashy admissions brochures have deluded you. It is the city of Ann Arbor, not the University, which contributes much more to the perception of liberalism. Here on campus, things are much different. It's almost as if you cannot be allowed to graduate without having first become a total robot, especially if you're in the College of Engineering. As I've mentioned here before, there exist two ways to survive in the CoE: their way, or the highway. My November 2 meeting with Lisa Payton and Stephenie Bulmon made that painfully clear to me; they will not allow me any leeway in my core courses if I wish to obtain an Engineering degree. What this would mean is that I'd have to take 141 total credit hours just to graduate, when everybody else is only required to take 128; furthermore, absolutely zero of the remaining 69 credit hours could come from outside the core group, my humanities sequence requirement, or my major. Basically, the College of Engineering would deny me the freedom to choose the classes that interest me most, and would bring me in line with the policy of only turning out robots.

Transportation Services, as an organization, behaved the same way in regards to my freedoms. I engaged in protected (i.e., non-libelous) speech here on the site, and they fired me. The head of the department made a faulty correlation between a few angry rants here and there on this site and my safety as a driver; he basically ad-libbed excuses during the infamous October 9 conversation in his office. The point is, both Transportation and the CoE thought they could engage in a fascist sort of "thought control"; though they've won their respective battles with me, they've lost the war. I will not subject myself to such control of my views, thoughts, and opinions by any company, group, or school.

My parents are trying to do exactly the same thing to me — actually, in their case, it goes beyond thought control. It's very much "life control" with them. Recently, due to my firing by Transportation Services, I ran into the small problem of life continuing to go on without any income. Previous to that, my parents had paid off one of my credit cards, as part of a deal that involved me taking a student loan for the fall term. As my cash flow got even worse, I started using that card (I remembered the account number and expiration date) for purchases I needed to make that didn't physically require the card. Just the other day, I found out that without my permission, they had changed the mailing address on file with that company from my address to their address. So, now they have the bill, complete with evidence of my spending, and they called me a while ago to give me hell about it. This is just one of many examples of how they try to fuck with me any way they possibly can; I mean, just look at this. It's getting to the point where I need to keep an eye on them just to make sure I'm not getting raped. Some people say that they can always count on their parents for anything, and that their parents are the most trustworthy people they know. In my situation, it is painfully obvious that my parents will stop at no end to control my every move. They wonder why there is so much mutual mistrust in our relationship, then they go pull shit like this. Give me a fucking break.

Furthermore, my parents are trying to force their aspirations on me. They refuse to acknowledge that I have a right to go out and make a "failure" (as they see it) of myself. I know I may have difficulties without a college degree for the next several years, but I am ready to accept responsibility for that when needed. It is my life, and I need to live it under my control now, not theirs. The last year or so of school has gotten me absolutely nowhere. This Fall 2000 term is my fifth at U-M; based on what the College of Engineering says, I would need to be here for at least five more moderately difficult (14-hour) terms. Considering scheduling difficulties that invariably would arise (e.g., such-and-such class is only offered fall term, etc.), we'd probably be looking at six terms. Yet, my parents don't care. "We'll find money to put you through and minimize your student loan debt." How? "This is the time to stick it out and fight for a good engineering degree." Excuse me, I'm not even half done, and you pushed me into a field which has proven to be a mismatch for my interests. "Nobody will hire you without a degree." Bullshit — you can always find work in fields where a college degree is not required. Sure, those aren't the most glamorous or sought-after jobs on the market, but they've got to be done for society to function, and some of them can pay pretty well. I don't know what they're thinking; it could be that they're so afraid of my failing at anything that they will force me to follow the path they've laid out for me. Hmmm ... last I checked, baby birds didn't learn how to fly without leaving the nest.

Those of you reading this who are my true friends know that I will find a way to succeed in life. I will fail at a few things here and there — I am by no means perfect — but in the long run, in the big picture, I'm going to be just fine, thank you very much. This decision to leave school boils down to my needing to do things for myself, without being sheltered as I have been for so many years. If you think I am a fool for making this decision, you're only looking at the superficial parts of my everyday life. I am by nature a free and independent person, in what I do, in how I behave, and in what I think; I just can no longer stand the constant control being imposed on me from every imaginable outside source.

That much said, I can guarantee that many aspects of my life will remain exactly the same. For example, this site will continue to exist. As long as I can continue to obtain tickets, I will attend Michigan's home hockey games, complete with jersey and cowbell. I will still be essentially the same person, just more independent.

I've rambled on way too long. Between the time it took to type all of this, and a break for Michigan's 6-2 victory over Northern Michigan and some visits from friends, it's now 12:20 am Saturday morning. If you've made it this far, and are still coherent, I congratulate you. I am now slapping myself upside the head to cease writing ... Ouch, that hurt my two brain cells!