Tag Archives: Commissioner Approved Training

Catching up With Summer Quarter

First let me apologize for the lag in posts. Summer Quarter is over and like Spring there have been some challenges that took some getting used.

Before we get to academics, I just wanted to mention that I have finished my eligibility for the Commissioner Approved Training program as my additional 26 weeks have come and gone. I highly encourage anyone who had been laid-off or displaced by an employer to take full advantage of this program. You receive your weekly benefit while attending classes. That being said I also have taken out a small student loan, portions of which are either subsidized or unsubsidized. The process for applying for a student loan isn’t overly difficult and requires that each person complete Loan Counseling. All of the information one will need can be obtained at the Federal Student Aid website. *(Updated BFET was able to assist me with tuition and books. I highly recommend looking into all programs if you receive any sort of benefit no matter how small. More information on BFET can be found here. Also I have been able to amend my loan need requirements for the moment.)

Attending school during Summer quarter can be both beneficial and challenging at the same time. The pace for Summer session will be much quicker than Fall through Spring, so be prepared for that. I attended school Monday, Wednesday and Thursday which is a little erratic so be aware that the schedule will be varied and limited. Many of my peers and friends were taking only one or two classes, whereas I took four. I would highly recommend knowing what you feel you can handle. In retrospect taking four classes was a lot of work and if I hadn’t have to for CAT I definitely would have only taken 3 or less.

I also took my first online course during summer. Although it was not related to my program, it was extremely helpful as I am now taking online courses in the current Fall term. And I needed the units to be full time for CAT. Online courses are discussion intensive. Be prepared to post weekly replies to a discussion topic and also be ready to reply to your fellow students posts. at times it seems like online courses entail far more material than classroom based courses. As I am finding out is seems pretty standard so expect it. One brighter note are the videos. Most are current and enrich the course materials and discussions.

The Summer quarter also allowed me to get familiar with the schools computer labs. I hadn’t used them at all in the Spring term but found them to be invaluable during Summer. I had long breaks between classes so I used that time to study and do online assignments. I did take a computer course so it was necessary to stay atop the homework and projects. You will find that it is extremely packed during Fall term so be aware. It was a blessing as my schedule was so erratic. Class time in Summer will vary greatly from morning to afternoon so have a plan.

As you may suspect, I did very well in my four classes and maintained my 4.0 GPA. It was some work but I have come to realize especially as we are in the second week of Fall term, that any ‘A’ is a great achievement.  With that I will look forward to detailing the transition into my core classes. Without spoiling anything I will just say it has been rewarding and challenging. I look forward to telling all about it.

 

Waiting to Start – Getting Prepared

As I mentioned in the previous post, after I was enrolled (thanks to Worker Retraining and CAT) I had a few weeks to prepare myself for school. Although I didn’t sit down and make a list, I had few agenda items in my head that I had already planned on addressing. These included, getting my books, planning my routes to campus from Seattle and amongst other thing getting school supplies.

This was a nervous and exciting time for me. I knew I was committed but still questioned myself as to whether or not I would like it, or for that matter be able to succeed. I tried to imagine what Community College was like these days but could only base my speculations on what I had experienced.

Twice in my early educational career did I experience Community College when I attended Hartnell Community College in Salinas, California and Sacramento City College in Sacramento, California. Hartnell was great, many of my high school friends were attending there and I was able to connect with many old and new associates who had gone to other local schools. Having just came from two years at the University of California at Santa Barbara, I didn’t find it particularly challenging. I did excel in several courses and actually enjoyed them. Most transfer schools didn’t require much in those days, so I only had to take two semesters of courses. I was still young at this time so I also take that into account. Also while attending CSU Sacramento, where I would earn my BA. I took some graduation requirement classes at Sacramento City College. I was a little older, there was more access to classes on TV, and I went to Summer Session, so the experience was better but similar to Hartnell.

I figured that there was more technology associated to todays Community College environment and also assumed the internet would have some sort of influence. I had it in my head that my classes would be all recent high school graduates like it was when I first attended. At the very least I knew there would be a lot of young people there. It would be fun to find out what Edmonds would be like. I’ll talk more about that in a future post.

Once I had officially enrolled I was able to set up Edmonds Email address or rather have one assigned to me. The school uses Gmail, so it was relatively simple to consolidate the two accounts for easy access anywhere on my phone or online. Enrollment also allowed me access to Canvas or Edmonds Community College eLearning portal. Everyone enrolling into EdCC will have access to Canvas as part of their course curriculum. Worker Retraining will also provided information to you through this portal. Canvas has been the biggest surprise so far as that is where you will be able to find all of your course syllabi, the course assignments and due dates as well as grades. This site has been immensely helpful so if you have the time to get familiar with it before starting, I highly recommend that you do so.

Another item on my proverbial ‘list’ was getting my books. Although no syllabi were yet available for my classes, the EdCC Website, in conjunction with the EdCC Bookstore does offer an application to help you know exactly what books and materials you will need for your classes. The link can be found here. If you are not aware Barnes & Noble operates the EdCC Bookstore so they do in fact have one stop shopping.  Especially when ordering online as I did. One of the most surprising things about textbooks these days is that they can also be rented and obtained electronically. When I had my list of books, I decided that I would purchase a couple that I felt I wanted to keep for future use and others I would simply rent. This saved me a lot of money. I was able to rent books directly from the EdCC Bookstore as well as Barnes & Noble.  The rental process is entirely easy for both the Bookstore and Barnes & Noble. In addition I made online purchases through B&N for those I wished to keep. You may also check Amazon and the posting boards at the college you plan to attend for further options. I decided to pick up my EdCC order directly from the Bookstore and the rest would be shipped to me from B&N. I had everything I needed as far as books went!

My next chore was school supplies. Although I wanted a Trapper Keeper ($1200 on eBay) I settled for Walmart folders, paper, pens, high lighters, pencils and 3×5 cards. Also picked up a few other items at Bartell’s and EdCC Bookstore. Never under estimate the amount of college ruled paper you will need. I chose to separate my four classes by color.  A different folder for each. This I figured would allow me to easily switch out my subjects for Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday. Start thinking ahead for organization you will need it. A three hole hole punch is also highly useful. Lots of handouts. I had a sturdy back pack so I didn’t have to purchase one. You will need some sort of book bag, be it back pack, shoulder bag or one of those rolling carryon type back backs they make today. Many classes require your books.  The last thing I wanted to do is ensure I knew where I had to go.

I had been to EdCC a couple of times since attending orientation so I knew exactly how to get there. I knew I would be reverse commuting, so it would just be more of a ‘see how it goes when class starts’. Not much more I could do about that. I did plan my schedule according to how much time I felt I would need even in the most extreme of emergencies which may occur on I-5 North. Everyone should plan accordingly as most instructors frown upon being late. Plus most of us are adults and we should be able to get to class on time. One thing I overlooked in all of the times I went to EdCC in the weeks ahead of starting was getting my EdPass and my parking permit. All new students will need these.

Fortunately on my first day I had a couple of hours to kill before class and was easily able to get my EdCC ID card. As a new student you can obtain your first parking permit here. You can find the EdPass office on the second floor, RM 204 of the Library. You will need to find it anyways for your Campus Resource assignment(if you take Job Dev 130) so you may as well get familiar with the campus as you can.

With my books, note taking materials and my EdPass I was ready for my first day. Although I thought I was well prepared I did manage to experience a couple of hiccups during my first week but that was to be expected after 15 years. I don’t think anyone can be truly prepared until you actually start and find your own groove. Going forward in my next post I will describe my first weeks and what I have learned along the way. Without giving to much away I will say that I am having a blast and doing quite well.