Waiting for…anything

girl-waiting-for-train

In college I worked an on-campus office job. It filled the many boring hours between my classes and paid me just enough to be able to cover the cost of textbooks each semester without having to ask my parents for more cash. The job was undemanding, to say the least, and rather monotonous. Though, if I’m honest, any job inside four walls would have been monotonous to me when I was eighteen. I hated being closed inside a cramped filing room. The filing clerk preceding me had been incapable of using the simple concept of alphabetizing files in the proper order. Anderson was filed right after Zane, and Yakubowitz was stuck for years between Bates and Baxter. I spent two uneventful years sitting on top of one filing cabinet, bent over another, rubbing off my finger prints on dusty files of students long dead and buried.

I’m not going to brag here…alright, I am. I was an awesome student, the best in my class. Yet the wizards running the office I worked for thought I was most suited for the combined of tasks of filing and making copies. With such extensive experience in meaningless office work, I feared that my professional after-college life would end up boiling down to little more than alphabetizing and copy-making. Little did I know that with my liberal arts education, even the best-intentioned employer would have little use for me other than…well, alphabetizing and copy-making. My advice to any and all future generations taking part in the current educational system in place in most countries around the world: skip college, go straight to the copy machine.

College was a massive waste of time for me. Generally speaking, for those who enter the first year of college already capable of reading and/or writing, and especially if they possess the essential grasp of basic mathematics, this type of education is a massive waste of time. And money, of course. If you are currently contemplating entering a university because you’ve been told such institutionalized education is your doorway to success in later life, let me give you one simple piece of advice. This comes from personal experience, so you know I’m not just blabbing my mouth. You don’t need to spend four or more years at some expensive school. Just take your money right now and flush it right down the toilet. Believe me, the feeling you will experience as you watch all that cash disappear down the mysterious ways of the shit disposal is nothing compared to what you will go through if after years of sitting through art history and feminism classes you find out that the course material you were told will surely open every door you may ever want to go through, in fact matters about as much as last year’s snow out in the real world.

One of the worst things about my filing job was having to print name labels for new files. This was a two-part process that took the better part of an hour, per label. First, each name had to be entered into a computer that was about as complex and capable as an abacus. This “computer” was connected to a printer approximately 67 years old, which sat in another room across the hall. Therefore, the second step of the printing process involved taking a long journey through other people’s cubicles and several classrooms (with lectures in progress), to a small dark closet where my labels popped out through a narrow slit in the wall. No matter how slow I walked, or how many detours I took, I always arrived hours before the first label was even half printed. Let me quickly explain how this ancient printing process worked. I don’t want to bore you needlessly, so I’ll just say that there were three very small men sitting inside this old printer, inscribing each label with what could only be a very old quill. It took them exactly 26 minutes to complete a single label, which meant that I spent most of my college education standing in that small closet, watching names of people I didn’t know get printed at the slow speed no human time-keeping method could ever possibly record. Grass takes less time to grow; and, incidentally, it is much more entertaining to watch.

Here’s the curious thing about life. People like me, many of whom find some kind of solace writing mostly pointless blogs on WordPress while waiting for something better to come along in their lives, spend years getting an education that is totally and completely useless in the real world. This education, while it’s taking place, consists mostly of waiting for this, that, or the other thing. Waiting to get a diploma which almost invariably turns out to be little more than a one-way ticket to a dead-end corporate job selling fog over the phone. You wait your way through four, six, or even eight years of an expensive university education, the whole time visualizing how great your life will be when you’re free of that insufferable yoke imposed upon you by your professors, your parents, your roommates, your part-time job in the filing room. You wait, and you wait, and you wait. And then you launch yourself into the “real world” in a great hurry, waving your diploma and your hard-earned grades, only to find out that the “real world” is filled with a whole lot more of the same thing. Waiting.

Were you waiting for me to get to some important point in this post? Keep waiting.

3 thoughts on “Waiting for…anything

  1. great picture and title for this one. love that figure waiting in the rain!
    i hear you about education—i do think it is over-priced and over-rated, but i also think there is value in the social education you gain from the college experience. I was soooo immature as an 18 year old, college opened my eyes to a lot of things that i wanted to do (but most of this wasn’t anything from the classroom…)
    I just started a video blog several months ago to get started on my vision for building a business from my creative projects…i find that the typical college degrees would be of almost no use to me in my endeavors, and that most things that are most rewarding in life require us to be willing to risk and blaze our own paths…
    anyway, good thought thanks!

  2. The real world still scares me even though I’ve been out of college for over a year now. I’m not able to work yet in Canada so I still feel like I’m trapped in the bubble of like, a long summer vacation. Just waiting…waiting…for when I can work and start life. Start life in the real world.

  3. Great thoughts and I do agree with what you say about the education system, but I have to say that the whole experience of college does prepare you in a way for the real world. And this might not have anything to do with what you learn in the class rooms. So while I know it’s a lot of money to spend with no guarantees, I would still want my kids to go through college. The rest is a combination of luck and hard word.

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