The Start of Summer

The end of Spring, a Preamble

I’d like to begin my blog with the my age as a man being summer.
quickly see what I mean at this link to a historical tapestry:
https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/227721

So hoping you took a good look or even a cursory read of that web address, I hope you understand that summer equates to ages 18-36, and at present, I am 25.

Spring was really a dream, with the most significant moments of any season I might assume at this point, as no step taken leaves quite an impression as it does in the freshly sprung grasses of spring. This narrative of how I got here begins in the clear comfort of Summer’s first day.

On the first day of summer (my 18th birthday), I did what any adventurous but responsible teen ought to do. I cleaned up my act. I had actually been cleaning it up for about a year at this point but that can be spared for an entry about Spring. I found myself entrenched in a community of people who still regarded me mostly as a reflection of my controversial actions. I will exclude my nuclear family from this description, but the 50+ members of my local extended family had lost any expectations and saw no promise within me. The peers I spent most of my time with were a truer reflection of those controversial trespasses. I realized they didn’t want the same things as I did and were going to hold me back so I refused to let that happen.

The rule in my house has always been: a summer-long grace period after high-school graduation followed by a $400 monthly rent charge or find someplace else.

I found a large 1999 Dodge Ram Van at my grandfather’s junkyard an adequate enough place. I drove that van 200 miles from La Quinta to Ventura and settled upon Moorpark college (after sampling the Ventura County community colleges in Ventura, Oxnard, and Moorpark).

My instincts served me well as I later found out that Moorpark college is the 2nd best community college in California! 35th in the country! and better yet as a van dwelling gypsy, ended up learning that the Thousand Oaks/Moorpark/Simi Valley region ranks among the top 25 safest in all of California as well!

I found a job at subway in the first week I was there, managed to stay showered and groomed and was quickly on a stride that would last years.

There’s no better place to be your new and improved self than somewhere far enough from those that expect you to be less.

I came into a peer group of motivated and well-meaning individuals (easy to find at a top ranked school that shaves most people’s snobbery off by virtue of being a community college).

I was so happy with the life I had found and created for myself, in such a beautiful region, I even gained an appreciation for my hometown that I never had before. Peace of mind, love, friendship, and thriving success liberated me from the dark ages of late spring (because of hard and ugly lessons I pushed myself to learn at an accelerated rate, similar to the movie “girl, in progress” only I did it first and with more exciting content).

While assimilating to college in my second term, I also improved my work status; from Subway Sandwich Artist in Westlake Village (Where I served Britney Spears and Jamie Foxx), I crossed a few boundaries and found myself eagerly received by a diner as a host that yielded circa $12 in tips each shift (I know, but preferable pay and work duties than I had at Subway). I worked at both establishments, dropping Subway (manager that accepted his position after I declined started tryin’ me) about 4 months into the host position. Soon after that I snagged a job at another diner down the street that needed experienced servers. I had no official experience but I knew enough to pass myself off as one.

At this point in the Summer I was doing internships, extracurricular sports, and earning straight A’s! (which is more impressive when you consider my High school GPA was 2.5, and more like 2.0 if not for my prowess in finessing). Perhaps best of all, I had reached a point of true financial self-dependability. Waiting tables in California, you’re more than capable of bringing in 60k+ per year and I knew that I had reached another benchmark.

My girlfriend at the time had just been accepted to UCLA as a biology major, having been interested in law for most of the Summer, I noticed the cons (after some spicy legal affairs) of the judicial career path and started fawning over the medical field as I did my med-aimed love interest (yes I said “love interest”, this is a story after all). Studying life sciences was a breeze with my UCLA bio girl. I applied to as many UC schools as were free to apply (shoutout financial aid, that was $350 worth of applications).

After applying to these schools, it became apparent that a student must have 60 semester units (90 quarter) completed by the end of Spring semester and could not be done during summer. Due to my rough start at Moorpark, I had 24 usable credits at the start of Fall semester, leaving me 9 months to acquire 36 semester units, but wait, I had yet to complete the intermediate algebra course that did not transfer to UCs, yet I still needed the math that came after it in order to be accepted. So really I had 41 units to complete in 9 months, the same as saying 20.5 credits per term. How was I to pull this off?

To think this never seemed like a catastrophe, just an opening to gather more from this land of opportunity.

I maintained a 4.0 for the 17 unit Fall term and made the decision to not work while I complete a 24 unit semester since I had saved enough cash to pay my rent through September (my tentative move-in date to some UC that I undoubtedly would be attending). Here is where the land of opportunity gets switched into maximum overdrive. California is overflowing with educational institutions, 112 community colleges, all of which I could attend for free given my tax bracket. Los Angeles Pierce College had an accelerated winter session of 4 weeks spanning only January and offered a 3 unit online course that was UC transferable; West Los Angeles College was in CULVER CITY, but offered a 4 unit, winter session Statistics course over 5 weeks IN PERSON. This is a 42 minute drive when there is absolutely no traffic (pshh maybe at 2:35am) and the class was 4 hours, M-Th, 1pm-5pm, so there WOULD be traffic.

I planned my class schedule accordingly (obvious statement I know), comprised of:
-6 unit college algebra / precalculus (MWF 7:30am-9:50am)
-5 unit general biology (MW 10am-11:50am) + Lab (F 12:30pm-
3:30pm)
-5 unit Spanish 2 (online thank goodness)
-1 unit Kinesiology (TTh 10am-12pm)

Here is was helped me get through that:
-Traffic going into LA was not bad after ~11am and I went ~12pm.
-Girlfriend was currently at UCLA so I could use that as a base.
So I had to go back to Moorpark every morning for class, then back to LA every noon for class, for roughly a month.

Did I mention that although I did all the homework and attended every lecture attentively, for the first exam in the accelerated Statistics class, I. Could. Not. Understand. One. Question. {{Panik}}

Fortunately, my stride must have been intrepid; beginning February 4th, Moorpark college had a statistics course. I had enough time to get waitlisted, attend the first day of class and got selected out of only 5 waitlisted students to join the class, because I was there early. The class was from 7pm-9:30pm Tuesdays and Thursdays, and practically having had a bootcamp just prior, I thrived in the class!
P.S. I was work-married/class-married to the actress who played “the [‘getting’] fat cheerleader” in Bring it On: All or Nothing in that Statistics course. She could not have been more in shape and I was not aware of her celeb status until nearing the end of the course when she had to take the final early due to a movie shoot out of the country (pretty cool right, I totally embarrassed myself when I thought she might be able to make me famous, smh).

I managed to pass all of these classes. So, with my demonstrated determination and rather moving personal statement, I was accepted to UCLA and that was quite a fantastic benchmark that made huge waves back home.

This marks the first ten days of Summer for the ages of Alex.

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