Monday, January 25, 2010

My ADHD Story Part 5 - Northeastern University (Almost done!)

In my final years at UMass, I got my Emergency Medical Technician certification. This turned out to be my only job prospect upon graduation. That summer, I rented out a room for the summer at Kappasig and got a job for Cataldo Ambulance in the Greater Boston area.

Things were bad, I eventually rented a small room in the fall. The door could only open ¾ of the way before hitting the twin bed on the opposite wall. My EMT credentials were going to expire so I needed to figure out what I was going to do. While in a police-supply store in Somerville, I was contemplating dropping an entire pay-check to buy a bullet-proof vest. (They don’t often need ambulances in safe neighborhoods.) I told myself, “You have a freaking degree. Do you really want a job that pays so little to get puked on by junkies?” I put the vest down and knew that something needed to change. Being a college student in Boston rocks, but being broke in Boston sucks! I barely remember that year because there was nothing worth remembering.

Right around that time, the evening news had a special about local cheerleaders going to the Atlanta Olympics to be in the opening ceremony. It was the Northeastern University Cheerleaders. I recognized some of the from NCA summer camps when I was at UMass. I remembered how happy I was cheering, so I showed up and asked if I could work out with them. They were very gracious and let me hang with them.

I took an accounting class at NU hoping it would boost my chances of getting a business job. No luck. To make more money, I ended up getting a job at Chili’s with some folks on the squad.

Let’s rewind for second… I switched jobs from saving lives to serving burgers FOR THE PAY INCREASE! That is a scary thought. I made significantly less money saving lives (or trying to save them) than I did at Chili’s. I think that is a sad commentary on our nation’s priorities.

Then it happened. The one phone call that put my life back on track.
Her name is Lorrie Wright, and she was the cheer coach at NU.
(pausing to get choked up…)

I don’t remember the details, but somehow Lorrie knew that I was investigating the School Psychology program at NU. I remember her calling me and giving me two people’s contact information. I was to ask one person about applying to the program, and I was to ask the other about a grad assistant-ship.
(If you know Lorrie, you know that she didn’t ask me my feelings on the matter. She knew what I needed, and she told me what to do.)

I don’t know what happened, but I have seen Lorrie help other students out. That is just who she is… I don’t know what I did to get on that list… None of that matters. I just know that, sometime in my life, I need to Pay It Forward one day. Regardless, after that moment, my life started to come together in fast forward. By day, I was a graduate student on my way to great career. At nights and weekends, I was a Captain of the Northeastern Cheer squad. I lived my life at the speed of my ADHD.

The only bad thing about cheering in graduate school is that I did not spend enough time networking for a job in the very tough Massachusetts market. My only job offer was in California. I felt horrible moving, as I could have cheered another year because I was still taking fieldwork advisories for another year.

I left to California, by myself, looking for a fresh start.

Eric was on his way to becoming Dr. Beam.

I need to finish with one and only one thought.
Thank-you Lorrie!


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