20 August 2011

1st week down; 17 more to go!

It's the first week back and wow, so much is going on: organizing, printing, reading, dusting off my brain and reintroducing the concept of STUDY mode after such a long break, waking up uber early, commuting, embracing my inner hermit and yes, still looking for a job in the industry.

Caffeine has been my best friend and will be for the rest of this semester.

I do worry about some things, such as: do I remember how to raise a vessel, how to make a nose/eye/mouth, how will I do in chemistry, will I find a job or will I be broke the entire semester, will I be ready for the board exams? I'm sure it'll all come back to me & I'll at least pass my classes and boards and will be gainfully employed soon enough.

A couple things have changed. In semesters past, some of our classes were divided into 9 week short term classes in all 3 semesters. Well, not anymore! All the 9 week courses are now 18week full term classes. Definitely pros & cons...We'll see how that goes...

Also, there is a test in Embalming II that is being implemented for the 1st time this semester (or so we were told!): a Lab Techincal Task Competency. Bascially, it's a practical exam for us to demonstrate our competency in 6 areas:
-Feature setting
-Vessel raising
-Mixing fluids
-Injecting fluids
-Suturing incisions &
This Task Competency exam will determine whether or not we will be able to take the National Board Exam (NBE). Note: this exam doesn't affect my grade in the course; I may pass Emb II with a passing grade, but if I don't meet the expectations of the evaluator (1 of 3 possible evaluators, all instuctors in the program), then I won't get the OK to take the NBE. There is no exact date for this exam and it sounded like we'll only find out once we're in lab and have it sprung on us!

This kinda reminds me of what I did in Cosmo school - school preps you for the state boards but what you did in the salon was waaaaaaaaaaaaay different than in school. But in order to work in the salon, you gotta pass your boards, and at least you had a base knowledge to work from. We had practice state board exams in our school once a month (or when enough students had acquired a certain number of hours, say 1400 of the 1600 state required practice hours). We had to find a model & have that model come in for 3-4hours on the practice exam date. We were given our list of "appointments" for the day, timed and overseen by a proctor. And if we didn't get a satisfactory/passing score, our instructors wouldn't approve us (read:sign paperwork) to apply for the boards.
I would be lying if I said that I wasn't nervous about this exam! But, I totally agree with it, even if we don't take practical exam for the NBE (only written). I think that the major focus of our program is in Embalming. Yes, there are other subjects we study. A would-be Funeral Director wouldn't have to go through our program to get licensed (in CA); but if you want to be an embalmer (apprentice embalmer), you must go through the program at some point before/during your apprenticeship. And I totally understand that what one does in school *may* differ from what is actually done in a prep room/work environment, our program is designed to prepare us for the NBE's.

I have yet to hear anyone complain about this, but I'm sure there are those out there who don't agree with it. What I don't see is why the results aren't directly tied into our grade. Not that I would need motivation to pass my boards, but it would make sense if this was part of our grade; might as well since this affects whether or not we get certified to take the NBE. Whatever; I say this now and come finals, I may be grateful that it's not!

I've missed my classes and look forward to what this semester will have in store....so, gotta go and get crackin' on them books & lecture notes!!