November 1-12, 2010 – I am very eager and excited to see what this is all about. I remember growing up listening to my granddad talk to me about water treatment. I see how lucrative water was for him maybe it will work that way for me. One the first day of class we took a lot of test just to see where we are mathematically as a class. I notice that we have some strong people and some weak ones. My thing is staying focused because I’m tired, and math was one of my strong points in school. The first day of Water Distribution was captivating. I never knew how big water is. I knew it was important for health reasons and what not. But where it comes from how it gets from underground wells and aquifers to storage tanks and dams to communities and homes, I’m amazed. WOW!

Mr. Lemon has a strong accent. I can tell that he really wants us to understand not just how to do math but understand in depth the theory of math. If you understand why you’re doing what you’re doing you can do anything. Gary Gottowski is the Water guru. I find myself asking, what doesn’t he know? He makes the class fun with his personality. “CHABAMB!!” “This high quality stuff.”

I had first run in with my store manager, I told my immediate manger about the program. She assured me that it was ok to do it. But she keeps scheduling me to work when I’m in class. The only reason I still have a job is because I come in after class and close. But I’m hoping for the best.

November 15-26, 2010 – I’m feeling a lot of pressure; all the quizzes are due on Thursday the 18th. I have 2 more chapters to read and not a whole lot of time to do so, I’m reading at work on my breaks and at lunch just trying to finish with the book. Everyone keeps asking me what I’m studying when I tell them they give me this puzzled look, as if I’m speaking in an unknown tongue. I wonder if that’s how I look when Gary Gottowski is talking. He talks in circles around me sometimes. Even reading ahead and coming with questions I’m still lost. But since I’m explaining it to other people I guess I understand it a little.

A man walked up to me on my lunch break and gave me a lecture on waste water. He saw me reading and got excited. He told me about the benefits of being in waste water, water treatment and distribution. It was encouraging to hear the success stories he told. It makes me feel like my late nights and early mornings are worth it.

My class is cool. There are a few of the students who I feel are way too uptight but the more we are around each other people are starting to let the guard down enough to show who they really are.

November 29-December 10, 2010 – I didn’t know that this program was longer then the month of November. I sold my manager on the fact that it was only one month. She is not real happy about it but I do my job well so she’s working with me. At least I don’t have any more 8am to 4pm days this month so I can get more hours in.

We started a new program this week, weatherization. I like this I could really do this all day. I like the fact that I can touch it. It’s not just reading and listen to somebody talk about what you’re reading. We get homework then the next day we get to do what we read. I Go home every day and look at all the window seals and door jams and say I know how to make this work better. This class is bringing out the construction worker in me. I miss working with construction I’m still drawing and designing buildings in my mind every day. This class is cool. Ann is cool too. She real easy going but it obvious she knows what she’s doing. I wish this class was longer. Or better I could get into a program that is more construction and architecture based. I’m still trying to force my background into a new field.

My classmates and I are growing closer with everyday. I have yet to sit down and talk to some of them but we all speak and act like we know each other well. They know me for dancing and making faces. I know them by personality, attitude, golf, comedy. Everybody is different, and we bond on different terms.

December 13-24, 2010 – GREEN PLUMING was exactly what I thought I was going to be. I never really had a real interest in pluming but I do see how it relates to water distribution. More importantly I see how it relates to water conservation. In these classes the hands on portion was there but it was not enough tools to go around so everybody didn’t get to touch things. We receive plenty of handouts and watched a lot of videos. The one thing that really stood out to me was the video on the water treatment plant. While watching it I remembered the guy, Robert I thing was his name, that I met during the water distribution class. I noticed all the machines used to power and operate the system and thought someone had to design this. Then my interest in the class peeked.

January 7-14, 2010 – (HAZWOPER 40, CPR & FIRST AID) – Monday through Friday, 8am to 4:30pm, one class room same seats. I really had gear up for this it didn’t really sound like a week of fun. However, Mitch made the week go by smoothly. I think it was the mix of videos and power point presentation that kept my attention along with him adding in his own personal testimonies of what he has seen in the field. I loved how he wasn’t just standing in front of me force feeding me what he knows. His power points highlighted the key points in each section that we needed for the test and aided in understanding of the material.

I feel a strong bond with my classmates. It’s crazy how close you get to people when you see them every day. We all laugh at the same things, we all share food, we all have the same ideas about life, and have a lot in common. I feel like in school all over again. I am excited to see the future with my classmates.

January 17-21, 2011 – Another long week, all these classes are good in the fact that they are preparing me for success but I’m getting restless and board with this process. I’m completely out of money this week. Student loan people have denied my request for forbearance three times they keep calling because I’m 2 months late and they don’t understand I’m not working. I’m sure everyone in the class is going through something similar. So I have no right to act like I’m upset. I kind of feel like my jokes and goofy ideas help other get through the week. ACCORD has helped out as much as they could its not enough money in the world to help each of us indiivually. So I’m content and grateful for all that’s being given. I just am excited about the idea of a promising job at the end.

Cal water was a great experience I need to send them an email expressing my gratitude for what they showed us. I think it was great that to see what we have been learning about for the past 3 months. I’m at the point where I’m looking at how I fit into this industry. I’ve spent the past 5 years trying to understand the ideas principals and procedures behind architecture and construction. Now in a matter of 3months I’m in a whole new field. The Cal Water trip I was looking to catch the vibe that I can do this. This visit wasn’t as in detailed as I thought it was going to be. Everybody was so laid back like yea this is it is what it is. I wondered where the exciting demos and it was a good experience. I hope to see them soon.

January 24-28, 2011 – When it’s all said and done, it was an interesting week. It was the last week of water treatment, well at least till it’s time to for the test. We started to get into the meat of the work readiness practicing with interviews and writing resumes. “PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!” You have to practice hearing yourself saying the answers to these questions so that when you’re in a nervous situation you can get it out with out to many problems.

All in all, I’m ready to get to work. My unemployment was denied this week. They say that I quit my job to go to school. That wasn’t the case at all. But I’m still smiling still happy still have keep moving.

There is an interview question that I just can’t seem to answer honestly. Why are you switching careers? Truth is I don’t know. I never thought doing this program would in tell all this. In fact I still really want to work in architecture and construction. I am going to use all the knowledge and tools and training for both career fields and be open to what happens.

January 31-February 4, 2011 – Last full week of class, I must admit I am FIRED UP. I’m proud of myself. I did it. I made a choice, made sacrifices, went above and beyond, and have finally reached the completion of this process. Although it’s not official until I pass the D2 and T2 certification exams, I feel that I have been given everything I need to be successful. From the knowledge of water distribution to how to interview, I can honestly say ACCORD has laid a yellow brick road to the wizard of water. I just want to ease on down and make something of my life.

One thing that stood out this week was the class interview trainings. Jessica stressed all week about the importance of selling you in the interviews. She said, “I would hate for you to have all these qualifications and not get a job because you did not prepare enough for the interview.” I actually took that to heart. I want to be the guy who is completely wrong for the job but completely right for the job by the time we are done talking. I can take this anywhere and be a smash hit.

I am truly grateful for everything ACCORD has done, for me and my classmates.

February 7-11, 2011 – Graduation week! I look back now to the start of the journey and from where I stand now I see nothing but the light. This week started off slow. I have no idea what to with all the free time that I have. I take back I need to be applying for some jobs. I had my mock interview on Tuesday. I have a confession; I totally bombed that interview. I didn’t know what happened, it’s like I forgot everything just that fast. I think I forgot to tell myself I control the outcome of the interview. I just let interviewer have his way and let my nerves get the best of me.

But where I let down Tuesday, I gained Wednesday. On Wednesday I interviewed with the Long Beach Unified School District for a custodial position. I walked in sat down and as the interview started I felt a calm come over me, I was back in the class room with ACCORD. At the end of my interview I walked out saying “I Did That.” I remembered everything from the first hand shake to the close. I am just waiting to hear back from them. I’m sure I will be blogging about that soon.