This first week has been a mixed bag of emotion for me. To be upfront, I have not particularly enjoyed my time at the CIA so far. First and foremost, I felt harassed by the Chef Instructor who wanted me to cut my hair which I now have done with mixed feelings on the subject matter, but more of that to come. Second, the dorms and the rules surrounding them make me feel definitely more like a 17-year-old than anything else. The rules and regulations are not designed for young adults to make educated and smart choices, but merely to toe lines and fall into place. Maybe my time at Stanford has tainted me, but it feels more like a boarding house than a school dorm. Lastly, I just get this huge sense that the administration is more concerned about making profits than the students. The administration has stressed that networking is essential and key at getting the most out of your culinary education at the institution, but they have done nothing that I can tell to foster a general feeling of conviviality. No meet-n-greets with the staff. No lists of local hot spots frequented by students. To stress that a 17-20yr old should be pro-active and network but in the same breath state that at this age you will make bad decisions so we need to have rules in place, seems a bit disingenuous to me. You can’t treat a person like a child but try to make them think like an adult.
As you can tell, right now the school has rubbed me the wrong way, so when Friday arrived, I was more than ready to leave campus which I promptly did at 11:30am. After my Introduction to Gastronomy class ended, I high-tailed it to the dorms, threw some things into a bag and was on the road. I am positive that my dorm mates thought I was crazy with the speed that I was saying my good-byes and tearing out of the parking lot.
I arrived back in my neighborhood in about 1.5 hours and made a quick trip to Target to pick up some school supplies. Sadly, I was annoyed that I was in Target on a Friday afternoon picking up school supplies and hence became distracted and subsequently left an entire bag of supplies at the store, not noticing until I got home. So I had to turn back around and head BACK to the store. Upon arrival, they could not find my items and would not issue a store credit, so I am out about $20 worth of notepads, pens and the like. So that was the start to my weekend……
I came back home for the second time and found all the plants I had worked so hard on for the last several months in dire need of watering. Actually, what I found were dead plants. The Partner didn’t understand my directions for watering, so when temps hit around 100 here in Oakland this week, he did not water the plants. So the poor things were literally dying for a drink when I got home. I spent a half hour watering the plants and seeing it I could salvage anything, which only fueled my annoyance.
By the time I unpacked and sat down, I was at my annoyance limit with the Target fiasco, dying plants and the impending haircut later that day. So I said “F&*k It” and took a power nap, where all I did was dream about school. After 45 minutes to tossing, I got up and headed to my hair cut. Needless to say my hair stylist looked a bit surprised to see me since I had just seen here a week ago. I explained the situation to her about the Chef Instructor and his barrage of attention regarding my hair cut. To avoid any time of additional drama, we went with a really traditional (aka boring) haircut:
While the haircut itself fine and my hair stylist did a great job, as I was getting shorn, I became increasingly upset that the Chef Instructor singled me out for his “attention”. My hair is not something I would see as being extreme especially among the community that I have found myself in as of late. Compared to the guys in the various programs, I think my hair style was squarely in the middle. In a sea of 20-somethings with Justin Bieber bangs, my “mohawk” did not scream out for attention as the Chef Instructor stated. I was just an outward expression of what I was feeling inside as I discussed in my blog posting here about the mohawk. I am also annoyed that I will never have the opportunity to tell the Chef Instructor what I really think about his actions, his comments and how we went about sharing them with me and my class. I have never been one to quiet and it’s killing me right now to hold my tongue.
With all this annoyance built up in me, I came home and promptly crashed until 8:30pm. Partially due to stress and partially due to the fact that I was just tired, I slept fairly hard. I awoke and had a quiet evening in with The Partner. As I discussed the week’s events with The Partner, he brought up something our neighbor had said about his graduate school experience which struck a chord with me. Simply put, you don’t have to like the experience, just be satisfied with the outcome. So that is what I am going to focus on; the outcome. I am at the CIA to learn a craft, so suck it up, smile and get what I need from the experience.
All this ranting aside, I am fortunate that my cohort and the fellow students in various cohorts, seem like really great people. While many are a lot younger than what I was told, they are passionate, funny and open to what the CIA has to offer them. I am going to follow their lead and be open to the path that I am on.