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Being a few years older and starting school

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello all I'm 25 and am starting at the CIA in under 2 weeks. I recently went on a rant for my first post and here I am as an accepted student and starting within the same month. With everything happening so suddenly I've been more focused on finding a new job in poughkeepsie, getting my car ready for a harsh ny winter, and obtaining everything I need for school so while I have been thinking non stop about how I can be the best me possible, I'm almost so swamped I haven't really thought about being an older somewhat established dude going back to school. I've already done a two year pro start program in high school, two semesters at a SUNY school, competed in competitions, and have worked everything from dishwashing to pizza guy to gastro pub line cook. I don't know everything but I feel comfortable in most stations, I kno I want to work on breaking down fish and Asian flavors, try to sharpen my knife skills and so forth. I'm wondering if any else had gone back and been in this position and how they handled it. I don't come from much, I have no parents as financial backers, all my high school friends are still doing what they were doing when they dropped out and cooking has been everything to me. I just wanna maximize my education and take advantage of the fortunate position I am in and meet like minded people. I'm already worrying about where to extern, but I'm leaning towards blue hill at stone barns but I would also like to look into dc restaurants. In short I'm stoked, nervous and ready for long days, little money, and years of experiences in windowless rooms, sweating with my fellow culinary brethren l!
post #2 of 7

First, Congratulations. Good for you for continuing your education. Your experience will certainly help and it's great to have some ideas about where you want to go. 

     A friendly word of advice though. You won't be the only older student. There will be many students of all ages. Some will know far more than you, others will hardly know anything.  

     When I was in school as a young man, it always surprised me that other students would be incredulous that a fellow student did not know how to make an omelet, bake a cake, weren't familiar with the mother sauces, had never heard of Escoffier, and much more. They seemed to miraculously forget that we were all students in school and were there to learn, not to show off how much we knew. Be respectful of everyones' level of knowledge and experience.  

     On those rare occasions when you have some free time and a bit of gas in the car, explore New York State. There are many great restaurants, cafes and gastro pubs of all kinds throughout the Hudson Valley. The towns of Hudson, Rhinebeck, Athens and Newburgh are just a few of the many interesting places to explore along the Hudson river. There are also places like the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, where they make some great cheeses. Local farms large and small are everywhere and produce everything from buffalo to maple syrup to soap, fruits, vegetables and everything else. Hunter mountain is a close ski area. Albany is the capital city with much to offer for a weekend visit and further north is Saratoga, notable for several reasons. Sharon Springs is a great destination, not far from Cooperstown where the Baseball Hall of Fame is located. Antiques can be had everywhere. There is a tremendous amount of history to be discovered all over. Slow casual trips on the blue highways will reveal beautiful old small towns with a lot of character and lots of hidden surprises. Hotels, motels and great Bed and Breakfasts are all over at a variety of prices should you decide to stay over somewhere. 

      Of course, you are just a short hop south to NYC. Just remember that the rest of New York State deserves your attention too. 

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for that all of which I surely needed to hear. I am completely aware that I don't know everything and the more I do know only makes me realize how much I don't know! I actually am from NYC area and have moved upstate to orange/ulster county area. I even spent some time living a few towns over from Cooperstown. I LOVE New York State, and I firmly believe that New York State has the potential to be just as amazing as Sonoma county. I'm really excited to meet other people who are as interested and passionate regardless of how well they can dice an onion or tell me what a sachet consists of, what you said about everyone being there for the same thing resonates. Also I'm gonna be working weekends in a bar just making simple late night menu items and coming back late and I already feel bad for my roommate. He seems super cool and just as excited as am. We're both the same age, both like beer etc and he's coming from the Midwest. Anything I can do to be a better roommate? Thank you so much for the praise!
post #4 of 7

Being a good roommate. Respect, communication and getting over yourself. No slamming doors when coming home late at night. Wash your dishes. Keep the common areas of the apartment free of your clothes and assorted stuff. Pay your share of the rent, food, utilities on time, every time. keep the bathroom clean. Keep the loud noises to a minimum. Don't go into your room mates room without permission. Knock first when the door is closed. In short, don't do those things you would find annoying if your room mate did them.

     Your room mate may have a different sense of style and decoration for the apartment than you do or listen to music you have never appreciated. So what. 

     Sit down with the room mate the first day and establish an open line of communication right away. You should both be free to state calmly what may be bothering you and be able to listen to the complaint without anger.  Then make the necessary adjustment in behavior. 

You do this by letting him know up front that you will be doing that and expecting the same. No passive aggressive notes. 

     Being a room mate highlights your ability to place your room mates needs on an equal level with your own and minimizing your stupidity. Quit forgetting to lock the front door, flushing the toilet, leaving your smelly laundry in the living room, neglecting when the rent is due, making dinner for yourself and leaving a mess, refusing to sweep, mop or vacuum or take out the trash. 

In short, all the bothersome behavior your parents may have tried to get you to do or stop doing will now be very necessary.

If you like, you can print this out and show it to your room mate to begin the conversation. 

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for that, I think this will all work out just great! Really appreciate all the advice and thorough responses. I have 2 older brothers, come from a single parent home so I'm used to sharing and living with others without having much. Looking forward to posting questions as the year progresses!

post #6 of 7
You are never too young to learn and to grow. I started out my adult life as an elementary teacher. I spent 17 years teaching 3rd and 4th graders. I earned a Master's degree and the last half of my career was spent abroad at private American schools in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. After returning stateside in 1999, I found that I could not readjust to teaching in the public schools. I opted out and went to culinary school when I was 41.

I worked in the food service industry for a few years. When I was 47, returned t the field of education, this time as the chef instructor of a high school Culinary Arts program.

I think I have the best of both worlds. I get to students how to cook and bake and I get to supervise school related catering events while also enjoying the vacation schedule of a teacher ... 4 days off for Thanksgiving ... 2 weeks for Christmas ... 1 week for Spring Break .... 2 1/2 months for Sumner vacation. My evenings and weekends are usually free. I feel blessed for having found this 3rd career path.
post #7 of 7

It's never too late to starting something new mate.

Trust in yourself and let the knife talk.

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