Getting laid off prompted me to do something I had been saying I was going to do for two years: enroll in classes at a community college.
I live in Pasadena, so Pasadena City College was a natural choice. There are dozens of other Junior Colleges around Los Angeles and if you are a resident, they only cost an average of $20 a unit. The classes are small, fascinating, the professors are very talented, and often very connected in their respective lines of work. There are loads of internships available, and the variety of classes you can take is astounding, from photography (see above, my latest assignment fresh from the darkroom, on “narrative light”), EMT, machine shop, screen-printing, cello, dancing, acting, calculus, professional makeup, radiology.
There are occupational skills certificates and certificates of achievement tracks as well, where you can career-change and prepare for the job market. Or you can just take that tap-dancing class you’ve been wanting to take for twenty years. Learning from professionals, at very flexible hours, for sixteen weeks at $60 an hour. This sounds like a credit card ad. It’s so worth it, for the price, you really can’t beat it.
And just because no other state offers this system of education, you should take advantage of it.
I’m not going to insert links for everything, because after all, you can just search for them. I recommend from experience Pasadena City College, and I’ve heard good things about LA Valley College and Santa Monica Community College, but I’m sticking to mine. They have a great photo department and a fantastic broadcast department and we have KPCC on campus. So I’m in my element.
Being back on school benches is the best thing that’s happened to me in ten years.Give or take a few.