Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘sanitation engineer

Part-time jobs within campus; (Ch. #38)

 

I was denied any kinds of scholarship in my first semester (1985) and my saved money ($5,000) had evaporated by the second semester.

In the second semester I received a quarter time scholarship that enabled me to pay tuitions at the same rate as US students. My scholarship was raised to half-time the next year. 

Throughout my PhD program, I had to work on at least three part-time jobs, at minimum wages inside campus by regulation, to make ends meet:  I could not earn a residence status to work outside the perimeter of the campus. Not many foreign students cared about these mean limiting laws, but I was raised to obey the law!

I used to wake up at 4 a.m. to start my first job cleaning libraries and class rooms, buffeting the floor, vacuum cleaning the sofas and on. I then rushed to attend a few classes, and off to serve lunch in banquets of hundreds of persons… I tried to study some more and then back to the main library in the evening to dumping the waste baskets, cleaning the restrooms before it closes at midnight.  I had to keep clean from trash four ultra vast floors of the university. A clean space for the students to have a proper place to study and chat:  The Students job was to dirty the floors again and again.

Other “sanitation engineer” employees would make the round once before closing; I did more than two rounds.  I had a kernel in the library to study in isolation, but I mostly used that tiny quarter for moments of solitude.  In addition to all these menial chores, I had to correct and grade countless homework and exams to satisfy the requisite hours for my scholarship.

The worst part was that I was excluded from the exciting projects that I applied for, of grants received by my department from companies. Most of the time, I was denied access to projects under the pretense of military or security credentials. For example, operation and quantifying the capabilities of jet pilots, or the control and displays in the redesigned new Ford motor series.    

I had attempted twice to present proposals not in the line of my advisor’s wishes, until he finally gave me an ultimatum to do according to his directives because he would no longer extend any grants.  I thus worked hard for a semester on his project that was related to safety and risk perception within a make-shift experimental chemistry lab environment. 

I have to mention that the company contracted by the university to publish dissertations sent me a letter stating that there is a page lacking and it needed corroboration or correction and I was no longer in the mood of handling anything related to my dissertation. 

I had paid over $100 for my dissertation to be published and for a copy left in the main library. All that I know is that I borrowed money to officially graduate, and I paraded in my gown, taken pictures and my diploma handed to me by my advisor.  Enough was enough. 

The light at the end of the tunnel was barely visible and my Golgotha road was just starting.

I experienced all kinds of part-time jobs after graduating PhD in Industrial engineering: Working at all kinds of fast food chains, all kinds of small and large restaurants, facilities for the elderly persons…

My dad had sent me a letter telling me that Maitre Emile Bejjani managed to reserve a position for me at the AUB in Beirut, but this harrowing and grueling period for graduating forced me to shun academic positions for years. 

I recall that I filled the application to the AUB but didn’t send it: I had to experience life in the USA a little more, and get my fill of humiliations and indignities. 


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

December 2021
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