To continue my neurotic journey into grad school…though this is more about the horrors of my job at the time. More to follow about classes and such! I could write a book about my grad school experiences.
So I accepted DePaul’s admission with a grain of salt. I still had no idea if I would truly like the education program, despite my family’s constant push that I would be “just perfect!” as a teacher. Bless them, they were paying for it, so I had to be as upbeat as I could, but that thought still rode with me to my orientation:
What if this isn’t a good fit?
The orientation was interesting. There weren’t that many students in the room, and I was surprised at the amount who were in the Science and Mathematics program. There were English students, of course, but I was kind of happy that so many people were focusing on other programs. I was less surprised to see that the majority of students were female. Not as many as I thought, though. I don’t know why, but when I first started the program, I assumed it would be almost all female, something I’ve changed my perspective on since.
Am I rambling, even in a blog? I tend to repeat myself.
Let me step back.
I started my first round of grad school classes in September 2011, while I was still full time at the hotel from Hell. I was working 40+ hours a week, clocking a decent amount of overtime, while going to school at night and getting in my student observations when I could. I felt like Mary Tyler Moore.
I’m gonna make it after alllll!
I was living the dream! Working hard, going to school, maintaining a fabulous wardrobe…that’s what every lady wants.
So then came October.
I started having anxiety attacks again. I’ve had them on and off for the last 16 years of my life, so I wasn’t surprised. But I was unable to keep up my work schedule and school schedule. I went back to part time at the hotel. I wanted to quit so badly at this point. The money was great, and I loved the people in my department, but the job itself was mind-numbingly boring and the kitchen staff and management staff made me want to burn things. I was at my wit’s end. I started applying to any job I saw on Craigslist, which we all know is the place to find a job…
But I was desperate.
This was posted in an alley outside work one particular melancholy day. I took it a sign that things were going to get better; work would become a fun place again.
I decorated the entire IRD (In Room Dining) area for Halloween out of my own pocket. I bought adorable tinsel and little lights. I wanted to raise the spirits of my co-workers, but, more than anything, I wanted to raise my own spirits.
My spirits were raised an insurmountable amount on October 7.
Who got engaged? OH YEAH I DID. My amazing boyfriend proposed to me in front of Buckingham Fountain at night. I cried, we kissed, and some bros on a bench clapped for us. I was elated. I still am elated, nearly 20 months later. Side note, we’re totally planning our wedding for next year. Wedding planning is fun as hell!
But that’s for another blog. Back to 2011.
Grad school was going amazingly well. I was mastering lesson plans, the common core state standards (who doesn’t love the CCSS!), and classroom management like nobody’s business. Of course, this was just my first term. These classes were basic, entry-level classes; how would I handle the real classes?
Then came the boom:
Our hotel was being bought out by a massive, international hotel chain. Again, I won’t say which one, but think of the biggest hotel name (and hotel family), and bingo. That’s them.
This meant all our benefits changed. This meant our holiday pay was no longer existent. This meant all of our policies had to comply with this chain.
We were nameless. We were just another ____ ____, but now we were ____ ____ Chicago.
Slowly, many of our managers, assistant managers, and chefs began to quit. Some just walked out without a word. It was a silent protest like nothing I’d ever seen before.
I remember one instance in which the manager of the “upscale” restaurant had a face off with one of our managers/directors about something pointless and insignificant. Our manager told him, with a completely straight face and a quiet voice, that if they wanted to continue this conversation outside, he would be happy to escort him to the courtyard.
These men are in their 40s. They were both wearing multi-thousand dollar suits, about to serve a $89 plate of pheasant.
All of this took a huge toll on my disposition during winter break. I finished my first term of grad school with straight A’s, but who cared, I was now officially in a corporate job. I was a fucking yuppie, working for white men who were worth billions.
LOOK AT THIS MAN. He owns half of Chicago. He’s one of the richest men in the world. Chicagoans have described him as “Hell”, “evil”, and “monster”.
Oh hello new boss.
He and his staff of suits came through our kitchen once, disregarding all of us as human beings, to discuss how they were going to demolish the kitchen and rebuild it, because it just wasn’t good enough.
On top of all of this, my mom moved to Austin in early November, the week of my finals. I had never lived more than 30 minutes away from her and missed her terribly. My 23 year old self couldn’t handle all of this.
My now-fiance and I went to Austin for Christmas. I had to admit, it was beautiful. I’d been there once before with mom and Grammy, but this time she had a home.
They decorate trees along the highway during Christmas. I took some decorations off for a photo. My fiance said that was gross. I DID IT ANYWAY.
While on this trip, my mom and I had a massive fight that resulted in me breaking down about my life and school and work and how I was so unsure of everything ever that I might implode and leave a tiny little ball of insecurity and muscle mass.
I wouldn’t leave my job for another two months.
I left because I found out my grandmother had inoperable cancer.