Opal Siren

My life in dreams

Against All Odds

Hi everyone!

After many sleepless weeks working on projects and an episode with food poisoning, I FINALLY graduated!!!!

I will say that the last two weeks have been the most intense, hectic, and nerve wracking weeks of my entire life. I was pushed to the limit until the very day of graduation.

When I finally sat down to enjoy the ceremony, my eyes teared from the relief…IT IS OVER!!!

I can now check off  completing my Masters Degree from my life  list. 

I am still coming down from the intensity of these last few weeks, so as far as “what are you going to do now?” types of questions…My answer is I have no clue and my brain still hurts from thinking. PLEASE GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

On the other hand, the day of the ceremony was a reflective day. Judge Sonya Sotomayor was there and it was inspiring to hear her story. She rose from basically nothing, to now being in a position of power and prestige. She is the first Latina to be a Justice in the Supreme Court of the U.S. As I sat at Yankee Stadium listening to her, everything I believe in was cemented even more: “Anyone can do anything they put their minds to”.

I will say that through all my headaches, stress, and at times let-downs, completing my Masters Degree has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I have never worked so hard at something, not even when I was working and attending college full-time. I felt very proud of myself for completing an advanced degree in something I have never worked in or even have an undergraduate degree in. I literally started from scratch. In my field of study, many of the students were already Engineers, Scientists, Biologists, IT specialists, and I was a former Banker!!!

I am not sure how I did it, but I will say that there were many times I wanted to quit. There were those days where I though that maybe I was not meant to study Bioinformatics, and that I needed to switch programs. My dear husband never doubted me and pushed me along the way. I really could have not done it without his financial and emotional support. I even had to quit work for a year to complete this degree. It is O.K,. I will repay him back with great care packages while he is away 🙂

I could not help but notice some of the protests that were going on after the graduation ceremony ended. There were protesters outside Yankee Stadium speaking out about the massive student loan debt that many of us now have, along with our new degrees. It was a sour note on a reflective day, but a true reality.

Many smart, accomplished students that graduated with me will have much more debt than I have, and the job market is not where it should be. I guess it is up to us to try to find solutions to these problems and reduce the national student loan debt. Our politicians and representatives do not seem too concerned or worried, except for the few that are pushing for student loan reform. So, this is something that will also haunt me and many other graduates.

So for right now I want to take a line or two on this blog, turn things around to a more positive note and congratulate all of the students graduating this year. From Pre-K to Doctorate, we have all worked hard and have many years of success to look forward to. CONGRATULATIONS FELLOW GRADUATES!!! WE DID IT!!!

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2012 Commencement: The End Of My Patience

It is the word that every student looks forward to during their entire career as a student: Commencement. We all attend some form of grammar school, middle school, maybe High School and then college, and sometimes beyond college, with one idea in mind…graduating! The day we graduate and we fulfill all of our program requirements stands right up there with our wedding day. It is the best day ever because it means that you are DONE! No more homework, classes, projects, dealing with not-so-friendly teachers, student-teacher meetings, parent-teacher meetings, etc.

And yet it seems as if when you think you are almost done, the teachers, the school, or even the companies that the school contracts to assist you (the student), attempt to sabotage this happy event.

To start, I will say that I did not want to attend my graduation. I did not want to spend money on plane tickets to attend an event my husband can not be there for. I am a distance learning student, so I do not know many people at the school. And to top it all, I only get two tickets. So I did not want the headache of having to decide who will attend the ceremony and who will not. Anyway, my husband won that argument and I decided to go anyway. I should have fought that argument way harder.

I started to plan this trip way in advance. It is still only March, but I did not want any stresses during the final weeks of the semester. Don’t forget, I still have to book a plane ticket and find boarding for my dog. So I did my RSVP and proceeded to order my cap and gown. Why did I decide to open that door from hell?

Like the good student that I am, I followed all the procedures listed on the ordering website. I selected my campus, degree and size. Then, I got a notice that the attires are being delivered to the school on May 1rst, and at that point each student has to pick theirs up in person by the end of the day. Wait, May 1rst? I don’t graduate till May 16!!! I was not planning on being around campus until at least the 14th. So I decided to contact the company for the cap and gown to see if they can deliver it to me. Keep in mind that I purchased the cap and gown and was not a rental. I am going to leave the name of this company out, but I still want to vent about what happened.

Like any rational person, I called the company directly and asked if they can deliver it to me in VA. The customer rep. said that they have a contract with the school and cannot deliver the academic attire to me. “O.K”. I said, and proceeded to call the school to see what can be done. After calling two different “academic attire organizers” from the school, someone finally got back to me to tell me that they have a contract with the company and cannot pull my order. So I said “O.K”. …”what about if it gets delivered to the main campus?”, I asked, since I knew that their orders would be handed out the week of the 14th. I was told to contact the “Sales Representative” from the company, or try the company again to see if they can get the order released. So I called the “Sales Representative” and explained what was going on with my situation in a detailed phone message. I even went on to explain that I am willing to pick up my cap and gown, but I cannot do it on May 1rst which is the date assigned to my campus. However, I am more than willing to pick it up at the main campus…Well, I did not hear back from the “Sales Rep”. (I finally did get a call back…keep reading)

So now I call the company again. I explain to the customer rep. that I contacted my school and they referred me back to them and that the “Sales Rep” never called back. This is the answer I get: “Well, when the school told you to contact us they did not mean us, as there is nothing we can do. They meant the “Sales Rep”.

At this point I am so angry I can only see RED! I start to explain to this customer rep. that the “Sales Rep” never called me back, I purchased a product that I am not going to receive and I am not understanding how no one wants to help me or attempt to help. I even suggested that he call the school and see if the order can be released or at least sent to the main campus. Again I got the response: “There is nothing we can do here”.  So then I tell this customer rep. to please cancel my order. He proceeds to tell me: “Are you attending graduation?” My response: “I guess I am not attending being that I cannot get a cap and gown, and there is no way for me to get one, and I have now paid for something I am not going to receive.”

I cannot explain how angry the school and this customer rep. have made me. I really felt like filling a complaint with the BBB or some Ripp Off List. It is absolutely ridiculous that I have to go through all of this for a product I paid for in advance! Not to mention that when I do call the company they act like it is not them I should be calling, but someone else who acts as them???? WHAT!

I now have to cancel this order and place a new one for the main campus, because the customer rep. COULD NOT EDIT ORDERS EITHER!!!!

After all this, the “Sales Rep” finally called and he placed my order with a more suitable pick up date. At least he was customer service oriented.

I am so disappointed at this company and the organizers of this event. Trust me when I say that there has been other incidents that have made me feel this way about this situation and my school, to be honest. Yes, the education has been good and I have met some decent professors. But there are some teachers that really miss the point as to why they are there to being with: The Students!!!  Not to mention some of the companies that are hired to assist the students are not helpful. All of this could have been avoided if someone WANTED to help and follow-up.

Have you gone through anything similar to this situation? Please Share!

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Why Airports Are Scary

I would like to switch things up a bit this week and talk about my upcoming graduation…Sort of.

I am graduating in May with a Master’s degree in Bioinformatics (Whatever that is!). I feel like I know a little bit more about proteins, genes and DNA, than I knew two years ago; but not that much. I also feel a little sad that my field is so heavily based on computer programs. I really like the reasearch aspect of it, but I am a terrible programmer. The fact that I even completed this degree is a miracle in itself. I had no Science or computer programming background, and I literally had to start from point zero. On the positive side, I can always improve my programming skills and I am passing all of my classes.

However, I am not sure if I will be attending graduation. For one it is all the way in NY and I live in VA. I guess that is one of the disadvantages of distance learning. But, I also feel like I have gone through hell and back to get to this point and I deserve to attend my own graduation.

I guess I would want my husband to be there and unfortunately he can not attend. I also really hate airports and I do not want to drive 7-9 hours just for one day. To top it off, I only get two tickets for family to attend and I do not want to start drama between my families. So instead of getting myself all upset about who can and cannot attend my graduation, or if I even want to go, I rather ponder…why do I dislike airports so much?

1.  I do not like the crowds, the busyness and how big airports are. I am terrified that I am going to get lost in the crowds or that I may not find my terminal and miss my flight. Even worse, I am scared I am not gonna find any parking.

2. I really hate carrying luggage around. I do check it in when I fly, just to avoid fighting with people inside the plane for cabin space above my seat. I also hate making people wait while I try to get my luggage before stepping off the plane. But even so, I hate waiting for my luggage to then drag it around the airport, and drag it some more until I reach my destination.

3. I love the aspect of flying, but I hate waiting in lines.

4. I hate sitting next to people I do not know, especially when the seats are so close to each other you can practically touch the other person.

5. I hate bathrooms in planes.  They are so small and impractical. Not to mention that when you do have to go, you then have to disturb the person next to you and climb over them. Unless… you get an aisle seat and then you get elbowed with the food carts.

6. I dislike how happy and sad airports are. It is a happy place when you meet the people you are expecting, and sad when you see them leave. Growing up I remember traveling with my grandfather every summer, and being so happy to see my mother and at times my dad. At the end of summer, I had to take that really sad flight back to D.R.. At times I would fly alone with a flight attendant and I would cry for the entire three-hour flight. I know my parents did the best they could, and I was better off living with my grandparents, but those flights were torturous. I would not see my parents for at least nine months until the school year was over again. I now get to say good-bye to my hubby when he goes off to serve our country.

So yeah, I really dislike airports. They are scary, make me irritated, and most of all make me sad.

Happy Reading!!!!

**Image obtained from: http://uniquetraveldestinations.wordpress.com/2010/05/22/worlds-busiest-airports-2010/

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