My Personal Grand Design
I finished my junior year in High School, but didn’t attend a senior year because of a sudden turn my life took. I officially completed high school by passing the General Educational Development Examination, or GED, in September 1981. In 1982, I had a grand plan that I wanted to fulfill and make reality. I was to go to Mattatuck Community College in Waterbury, Connecticut, the city I call home. Then, I would usher in a financial and social standing and status that would come with completing some monumental task. However, I was reluctant to get started on the first steps to achieve my goal. Most people just wanted me to go to work and get a job. However, I had those fantastic notions about what obtaining a college education could do for me. A college education would create a personal circumstance for me that would come with completing a hard and difficult task. In 1982, I expressed my hopes and wishes to people I knew, but didn’t actually start taking the steps to begin following through on my plan. “You don’t want to have to go to class, have to study and take examinations now, do you?”, a vocational counselor said to me. “Why don’t you just go to school instead of talking about it so much,” Vanessa, a friend said to me. More than anything else, I wanted a college education. Most people in my social circles downplayed that idea. They expressed the notion that I should just go out and get a job and that I didn’t want to do real work. In 1984, I was ready. I commenced my studies at Mattatuck Community College. For most people from Waterbury, CT, going to college meant going to a campus out of state and devoting four years to full time academic work without holding down employment. However, at Mattatuck Community College, most of the students at this commuter school campus worked and went to college at the same time. “Do you work?” Cheryl, a classmate, asked me. “No, I don’t work. I want to devote all my attention to my academic studies,” I replied. “Most people who go to Mattatuck work,” Cheryl said. My plan for obtaining an education at Mattatuck Community College started to produce some amazing results. I started earning straight A’s and B’s, something that most authorities said would never happen. I held onto the dream that my obtaining an Associate’s Degree from Mattatuck Community College would provide a high social and economic standing. At the college, I took a course titled “Introduction to Philosophy”. The philosophy professor leading the lecture made a statement. “I once taught class to a group of students who believed that school was a panacea and cure-all, and would be the answer to all their life’s problems. When they found out that school wasn’t going to provide them with this solution, they committed suicide,” the philosophy professor stated in his lecture. What did what the professor stated mean to you? How did it make you feel? I went on to earn an Associate of Science Degree in General Studies from Mattatuck Community College. Once I graduated, I went to the college’s career services and job placement office. They attempted to place me in a position of employment, but failed. I also formulated my own resume. I applied for employment at every newspaper, both large and small papers in my region. I even went on interviews at the papers. I applied at magazines, and public relations firms. All I received were rejections. I went onto earn a Bachelor of Science Degree from Charter Oak State College, taking courses slowly on a part time basis. I also had several pieces personally written by me published in several periodicals, both local and national, without any financial compensation. In turn, I did gain some notoriety and social standing that my plan encompassed. I achieved some significant goals in my life, but without the lucrative financial rewards. “You went to college. That’s something I never did,” John, a friend said to me. “”it’s obvious that you’re a very gifted writer,” Mark said to me. “Richard has a Bachelor’s Degree,” Rachel said. “You’re sharp enough to be able to come up with so many angles and approaches to your writing,” Craig said. “I wish I had a Bachelor’s Degree. Do you think I can ever get a Bachelor’s Degree?” Andy asked me. I put all my resources into finding what might be an appropriate job for myself that would provide financial compensation. I nearly exhausted all the resources at my disposal to locate and apply for satisfactory positions of employment. I went to the classified section of the Sunday edition of the local newspaper, The Waterbury Republican-American. There was a listing in the help wanted section. It stated that School Crossing Guards, Public Safety Officers, were needed and were being hired by the City of Waterbury Department of Education. I immediately went to City Hall and put in my application. I shortly thereafter received a phone call from the Superintendent of the City of Waterbury School Business Office. “You have earned a Bachelor of Science Degree, and are familiar with and feel comfortable in an academic setting. We would like to hire you as a School Crossing Guard,” the Superintendent said to me during that phone call. The current year is 2012. I have been working as a School Crossing Guard at the same elementary school, Carrington School, for the past five years. I set my alarm clock every night for 6:45 a.m., get up every morning, get ready and go to my job. Everything on the job runs on a pattern day after day. There are duties to perform and several daily social interactions. I interact with the school administrators, the teachers, the parents and the students as children. It is always very pleasant meeting the parents with the children by their side and there is usually a very agreeable social discourse between myself and them. I feel a sense of personal satisfaction and gratitude knowing that I am performing such valuable work. I enjoy the task of safely seeing teachers, parents and students across the street on a daily basis. There is always positive and reassuring communication between myself and the people I meet when I perform my work. “Are you crossing?” I ask a parent. “Yes, I am crossing,” a parent replies. “Can I cross?” a student asks me. “Yes, you can cross,” I reply. “Are you crossing?” I ask a parent. “No, I’m going straight ahead,” a parent replies. “How are you today?” a teacher asks. “I am fine,” I reply. “Thank you so much,” most of the teachers and parents say to me after they cross the street safely. One night, I was out late with my sister and her husband. We went into a local Wendy’s Restaurant, ordered our meals and sat down at a table. A Police Officer who I often encounter on my job approached us. “He’s a good man. He’s a hard worker. He always shows up on the job. He always shows up for work. He’s good to the kids he works with. He treats the kids like they’re his own children.” The Police Officer said as he patted me on the back. The Police Officer’s comments were a type of personal vindication for me against all the firms and offices which rejected me for employment. The firms and offices didn’t see it coming, but the Police Officer’s comments made it real. The course of events, as I had personally forecast for myself in 1982, mostly worked out to produce some satisfactory results. I feel that I am in control of my own life and my own destiny. My plan doesn’t consist of some fantastic notion, just the plain use of the gift of insight put into action.