I called up the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and told them I wanted to start school right away. I went in to see an admissions counsellor and after a 3-minute tour (a 3-minute tour, a 3-minute tour) I was completely convinced that this was what I wanted to do. The admissions counsellor insisted on a couple more hours of briefing just to be sure and then he let me submit my application.
Greeting Day was just two weeks later... I remember that early Saturday morning in April 2010, walking into the school's restaurant dining room packed with aspiring culinary students and their families. The age ranges were incredible, from the recent high school grad 17 year olds, to those who may have been even 40-45 years old and wanting to get into a new field. Throughout the briefing from the various chefs and executives at the school, I became extremely excited and confirmed for myself that going back to school was the thing to do.
During the process of being administrated, I found out that the private school I had painstakingly worked so hard to attend and graduate from might not be accredited with the state of California. To the CCA, this made my diploma invalid and they couldn't admit me. However, my admissions counsellor was very passionate about overcoming this obstacle, he had me start attending classes right away despite this and we put together a huge package of all my achievements and submitted it to the school board.
High school for me was a very exciting and challenging experience. I was very much an activist and took charge of ensuring my school had fundraisers, a school yearbook, a school newspaper and fun dances and events. I was the lead in every school musical. I was the senior class president. I was the #1 student in the school with absolute straight A's and ended up the valedictorian. I was a leader in community activism....etc. etc. So to find out at the age of 30 that none of this meant anything to the State of California and I had never officially graduated high school was heartbreaking.
Additionally, to be told this after having attended the school of my dreams for 3 days and gotten to know all 26 of my classmates on a personal level, was further devistation.
Then I got over it.
I registered to take my GED exams at the Berkeley Adult School. I got a GED study book from the library and crammed for 1 week. My mother got us a motel room across from the school and I went in at 7am on a Saturday morning and sat until 11am taking exam after exam. The exams were supposed to go until 3pm, but I finished them all early and was allowed to leave.
It's amazing that after 14 years of being out of school, with 1-week of study, I managed to thoroughly ace my GED. I got 99% in writing and English. I felt my appreciation for my hard-earned high school experience return. Obviously my education was good enough and I would now be acknowledged by the State of California.
I re-registered for the CCA and was fully approved and ready to attend the next term in March. ...