At: 5:30 am
Excerpts From "Far From Perfect", Chapter: 9 College. The chapter takes place in the early 1990's, over 30 years ago.
While attending Manchester Community College, then, Middlesex Community College I took two courses I remember more vividly than any other courses I took at the time, Business Management 101 and College Writing 101.
Before I wrote this chapter, I looked at my old college transcripts to help jog my memory. There are courses on my transcripts I can't remember at all. I can't remember the teacher, students, what was taught or even attending the class. With these two courses, I remember the teachers, some of the students, where I sat and even much of what was taught.
I think the reason the business and writing courses stand out in my mind is because of a combination of timing and good teaching. I took the writing course when I was between jobs, allowing me to focus more on the material. I’d imagine the fact I had access to a computer and enjoy writing also helped.
The teacher for the Business Management course was excellent. He taught lessons I categorize as real-world knowledge.
I was working third shift at a supermarket while taking the course. He used a supermarket as the subject of two lessons.
Like many supermarkets, the supermarket he spoke about placed handheld baskets at the entrance of the store to give customers an additional option to carry groceries. The owners of the supermarket decided to place a stack of baskets at each corner of the store.
The placement of baskets throughout the store was great for customers who only planned to shop for a few items, items they could carry without a basket, customers who didn't grab a basket at the entrance. If, while shopping, these customers decided to purchase more items then they could carry, they could simply grab a basket from any of the additional much closer locations.
He said, as a result, the stores sales greatly improved the following year. In the past, most customers who walked in without a basket only purchased the items they originally intended to purchase. If the customer saw additional items on the shelf they wanted, they probably wouldn't have walked to the front of the store for a basket. The idea makes sense. I'm surprised other supermarkets don't add baskets throughout the store.
The same supermarket also owned a field next door. They turned the field into a dairy farm, where they kept cows, allowing them to sell their milk. With a dairy farm next to the store, the supermarket could sell fresh milk at a lower cost due to the closer location.
I can’t remember the name of the supermarket. From what I remember, the supermarket was one of the largest individual supermarkets in the country. They implemented many unique innovative ideas, with many of their ideas becoming standards in the industry.
The teacher of the course gave another example using a supermarket within his teachings. However, his next example was an example of what not to do in business. He said the owner of a supermarket took a half cent from every dollar the store earned.
Due to the fractional amount, the missing money wasn't easily noticed. Even if noticed, most would overlook the fractional amount. However, over the course of a year, the half cents added up to a substantial amount. Then, the owner tried to hide the money from the IRS to save on taxes. The IRS did catch the owner. As a result, he spent time in jail.
The teacher of the business management was very knowledgeable. He really enjoy teaching. He kept the class entertaining. The subject matter taught was interesting. He was young. He seemed to be a bit fun loving.
I remember at the end of a class he addressed the ladies in the class. He said something similar to, “I'm single. I drive a Porsche”. He said it in serious, yet, joking tone. Most students in the class laughed. I thought it took courage on his part. Nevertheless, I don't know if he ended up with a date.
The other course I have fond memories of was a college writing course. Before taking the writing course, I doubt I wrote more than a few essays in my entire life. To be completely honest, I only remember writing one essay, an essay about Salt Lake City in Utah, while in grade school.
The course was English 101, with a focus on writing. The teacher was extremely tough and let the students know the first day of class. She said every semester a few students walk out of the class crying. The year I took her course was no different.
After taking the course, I understood why students got upset. The assignments weren't easy. Students needed to spend many hours writing the type of essays required. The teacher was very straight forward with her comments. She didn't pull any punches.
After putting in a lot of work just to complete a paper, reading her comments was very difficult. However, her style was also why she was a great teacher. By the time I finished the course, I was a much better writer. At the same time, I was well behind the curve before the course began, I still had a long way to go. Regardless, the course was a good start.
The English 101 course didn't only improve my writing, the course also improved my overall knowledge. I wrote a paper titled “The Complications of Stress”. While doing research, I learnt the severe effects of stress.
I wrote a paper about the Tragedies of Prison. I learnt about rehabilitation in prisons and in many cases the lack of rehabilitation. I wrote several papers in her class, providing me with additional knowledge about a variety of subjects.
The course was extremely difficult, nevertheless I stuck with it. During the course, I began realizing how much I enjoyed writing. Even though the course was tough and at times very harsh, I greatly respected the teacher. She provided a great deal of knowledge to her students. I found her direct approach admirable.
Below are excerpts, with a few adjustments, from one of the papers I wrote in her class. I didn't get a great grade on the original version.
Complications of Stress, by George Farina
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, stress is a mentally or emotionally disruptive or disquieting influence. Stress is a condition affecting the way a person thinks, acts and feels. It is not uncommon to suffer from unconditional amounts of stress in the 1990's. Since today's society is extremely fast paced, people from bankers to janitors have high stress levels, causing them to suffer from symptoms of stress.
Some people take their jobs too seriously. They put too much pressure on themselves to strive at work. Supervisors can also make the work place more stressful, by issuing unobtainable deadlines and by yelling at employees.
In addition, with the downsizing of companies, many people have to put in overtime hours or have to bring work home. As far as females are concerned, many don’t just have full time jobs, many are responsible for taking care of their homes and families. Furthermore, plenty of people, both male and female are working at places where they don’t enjoy the job they’re responsible to complete.
In today's economy, it is difficult to support a family on one paycheck. Certain individuals such as young couples paying college tuition's can’t get ahead in life. Young couples, just out of college often work two jobs and still struggle to survive.
Negative stimuli are not the only causes of stress. Changes in a person's personal life can also create stress. For example, the death of a loved one, divorce, and personal injury can cause high levels of stress. Causes for lower stress levels include vacations, minor violations of the law and holidays.
A person's personality also contributes to stress levels. High-strung people are known to have higher stress levels. Laid back people usually have lower stress levels. When a person suffers from stress over a long period of time, the extended periods of stress can lead to fatigue and a feeling of inadequacy.
Experts have linked stress to major diseases such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, insomnia, anorexia nervosa and eating disorders. Migraine headaches, lung disease and skin diseases are also thought to have a relation to stress.
Some experts also believe chronic stress may lead to cancer. In addition, experts believe stress is the number one cause of infertility in both men and woman (Compton's Encyclopedia online).
In contrast, some people thrive in certain types of situations others consider stressful. These people use certain stressful situations as a source of energy. For example, Michael Jordan always wants the basketball when the pressure of the game is at its highest level. Many Airforce pilots relish the challenge of taking jets to their limits.
People deal with stress in different ways. Some people deal with stress by using drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. The may feel the drugs, alcohol, and tobacco help put them at ease.
Other effects of stress are exhaustion and anger. Sometimes a persons' anger is taken out on the wrong person.
Fortunately, there are remedies to help reduce high stress levels. Some people practice Yoga to help their circulation and in turn reduce stress levels. For example, Bob (last name removed) is currently practicing Yoga. He says, “Yoga promotes blood flow, loosens joints and in turn relaxes tenseness.” With the practice of yoga, Bob also said, “He has more energy and gets up in the morning without feeling the need to press the snooze button on his alarm.”
Other stress-reducers include exercising properly, participating in sports, taking stress-reducing pills, and laughing.
There are many more remedies for stress depending on a person’s situation and symptoms. However, the above remedies are the most commonly used with positive results.
Stress is a complicated problem, affecting most of us in this day and age because of the pace of our lives. Each of us needs to understand what stress is, how we can combat it, and how we can reduce stress in our daily lives.
English 101 was the last college course I took for the next ten years. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I didn't know the different careers available and I didn't properly research the different courses available.
I went to the school, signed up and simply took the classes I was told to take. I know some of them were necessary, though, I'm sure there were a few I took just because I was told to take the course.
I didn't have a specific direction I was heading. And without a direction, I didn't see a light at the end of the tunnel.
After I took the writing class I got a full-time job during the day, often working Saturdays. I decided to put school aside, From there, I didn't have the opportunity or know how to go back to school until I was much older.