Now Working for Albany Concrete Contractors

It’s been a while since I updated the blog, so I figured it’s probably time to do it.  I have a lot of updates.  Since December, I’ve been searching for jobs, mostly in Albany, New York.  As I mentioned, I spoke to the owner of a paving company called Perfect Pave.  He was very nice and invited me in for an interview, but as we spoke, I noticed that it wasn’t a good fit based on numbers of the hours required.  After the interview, the owner referred me to a concrete company called Albany Concrete Contractors, also located downtown.  Albany Concrete Contractors is a concrete installation and repair company that builds and fixes driveways, sidewalks, walkways, patios, porches, steps, and retaining walls.  Their website, www.albanyconcretecontractors.com, covers all the concrete services they offer in depth.  It sounded very interesting, more so than paving because it has an element of creativity.  I could picture myself helping build a homeowner’s backyard patio.  I think it would be kind of cool to be able to say that I helped someone set up their dream outdoor kitchen barbecue in the backyard.  Installing walkways sounded interesting too.  Some Albany homes use brick pavers, while others prefer concrete slabs.  After we install the foundation and main layers, we could apply decorative concrete textures to the surface to spruce things up a bit.

After browsing the website for a half hour and trying to picture myself working there, I decided to apply.  Their new applicant process was much faster, taking only 4 days to get back to me.  I was invited in for an interview on Friday, June 14th.  I met with the owner, 2 of the concrete contractors, and one of the vice presidents.  Overall, the interview went very well.  I’d be in a learning phase for about a week, shadowing different jobs to learn the process.  Then, I’d be tasked with minor elements to slowly work my way up to running the project from start to finish after a few months.  My official start date with Albany Concrete Contractors is July 1, 2019 at 8:00 AM.  I’m excited to start, but I think the coolest thing I’ve noticed so far is that the dress code is casual!  Where else can you do that? Nowhere I know of in the Capital District.  If I had known concrete repair was like this, I would have jumped on it sooner.

Struggling with and Overcoming Procrastination

As college students, procrastination is no stranger to us. It is something that we struggle with almost every finals week during every semester (that and a whole lot of other things). Instead of sitting down to work on some critical essays or do some readings that are due in a couple of days, we waste our time doing things like stalking someone we once knew from high school on social media for hours, or watching too many funny cat videos on YouTube, or killing time with our friends until past midnight. But we know too well that procrastinating is something that is only rewarding for a while but is detrimental for us in the long run. So, why are we like this? Why do we procrastinate when we know it is such a bad thing?

Procrastination is a charming but a destructive monster. It is like that extra pack of candy that our much younger selves are willing to eat despite knowing how painful it will be on our next dentist appointment. Or it is like being broke but still buying that criminally expensive pair of shoes that we do not really need (and finding out later on that said shoes are not the most comfortable or the most functional, so they end up hidden super deep into the closet). When we procrastinate, we put in less effort to our work and we subject ourselves to so much unnecessary stress and pressure in trying to beat the deadline. This unhealthy habit may result to not making the grade to pass the course and when that happens, our chances of staying in school is significantly diminished.

I have resolved to kiss procrastination goodbye and to start listening to my better judgment, no longer giving in to the immediate charms of procrastination.  But overcoming this habit is not so easy as it sounds. Before I take this on, I have read several articles about procrastination to truly understand what it is and why we do it almost thoughtlessly.

I have realized how present it is in almost every aspect of my life, not just with school. There are dreams that I can start working on right now, or simple tasks that I can start tackling with (like organizing my files), or I can start being healthier, or start saving up money, but I always end up making excuses for each of these tasks and assuring myself that I can do them at a much later time.

Procrastination is causing us so much anxiety. We keep putting off something until the very last minute. And all the days leading up to the deadline, we are plagued with so much guilt and anxiety for not doing it. These pressing tasks are breathing down our necks but procrastination is there to distract us while incredibly at the same time, it is also causing us this misery.

There are several techniques to stop procrastinating: one of them is making an undesirable task as pleasurable as you can. For example, you need to prepare and study for an exam but you don’t look forward to it that much. Instead of locking yourself up in the library (that is if you are not too fond of your library), why not study someplace else where you feel the most relaxed and comfortable, like a favorite cafe or a quiet park. Or if you cannot do that and you are tied to your own desk, prepare your favorite coffee drink or put on some good, non-distracting music in the background – anything just to make the experience better than how you have initially imagined it to be.

Another strategy is having an immediate consequence for when you procrastinate. Often, negative consequences for procrastinating happens in the future and so your present self will not be too affected. Case in point: you have scheduled your whole afternoon to prepare for a school report due next week. However, you end up having a film marathon. Instead of saying that it is fine to miss work that afternoon as you still have ample time, prepare some sort of punishment like having your least favorite vegetable for dinner that same night. Just do not go extreme and put yourself in danger and make sure that the consequence is something that you cannot procrastinate with.

The next technique is decreasing the friction between you and the devices that enables you to procrastinate. If you are addicted to playing games on your phone to the point of neglecting your responsibilities, then perhaps it is time to uninstall those games. If you spend too much time on social media, then try to deactivate your accounts before starting a project (and only activate these once you have finished said project). The point is to make procrastination much harder for you to do and to access.

So far, these are the ways that I am thinking of trying to slowly overcome procrastination. College life is not just about studying and submitting the required coursework on time, it is also about meeting new people, socializing, learning about stuff beyond the lecture hall, and getting to know yourself better. This ugly habit of procrastinating should not get in the way of all that.

December Update

Well, the school semester has come to an end.  Finals finished up last week for most people, and yesterday for me.  It ended at around 2:30 PM, with about 30 minutes left on the final exam for philosophy.  What an interesting way to end another Ohio State semester.  I have to say, it felt amazing to get out of that last exam while half the class was still sitting in there sweating over it.  I walked out feeling like a free man that just saw sunlight for the first time.  I went straight back to my dorm, and I see my roommate there doing some day trading and the other one playing some Tiger Woods PGA Tour on the Wii.  As I’m blasting music and packing my stuff for the trip home for Christmas vacation, I can’t help but enjoy this moment.  There’s nothing quite like busting your butt all semester and then crushing your exam.  It’s otherworldly.  Half the campus is going home, and everyone else is going out to the bars tonight to celebrate correctly.

On the other front, I began applying for internships to attempt to get some experience in some kind of business before I graduate this school.  My hometown is Albany, New York, so I was searching for local businesses in the area that I might be able to help with or learn something from.  I’d rather not get an internship through the school because they have far too much control over what happens in it.  So, I contacted a couple friends from Albany to get a few recommendations.  First call I made was to Perfect Pave, an Albany-based asphalt paving company.  I spoke with the owner, who was actually surprising humble considering the amount of money they make. I applied for the position through their website and I’m supposed to hear back in a few days.  Apparently, I’ll be supporting the paving contractors with residential and some commercial jobs. That one seems promising.  I also applied for a scheduling position at a medical spa (yes, I realize these are opposite side of the spectrum).  That doesn’t look like it’s much fun though – mostly handling intake on phone calls.

That’s my update.  Looking forward to the long drive home for Christmas, although not very much looking forward to the massive traffic I’m probably going to hit once I reach I-87 or I-90 in NY. That part always sucks, regardless of when I leave.  At some point, I’ll figure it out. JIROW, signing off.

Wrapping Up the Month

As the month of November comes to a close at Ohio State University, school is getting tough.  All of the term papers are coming due, homework is piling up, and all of the test dates have been set for final exams.  I’ve never been one to worry much about it; I simply study and take it.  However, I am a bit jealous of that select group of peers who can somehow sit through class, absorb the material, and then just take the exam without ever studying.  It’s impressive and irritating at the same time.

OSU is a huge university, so when I walk into class, it’s usually in a big lecture hall.  It’s just like on TV.  You’re buried in the back of a huge crowd, listening to a professor drone on about whatever topic we’re discussing that day.  You can ask a question if you’d like, but you’ll have to shout it.  And, if it’s a dumb question, everyone in the entire class of 200+ people will hear it.  Not the ideal situation if you need that student-teacher interaction to learn.  Luckily, I can just read the books and get away without doing much more.

I’m back at school after a long Thanksgiving break.  I went home on Wednesday night and drove through the night, arriving early Thursday morning.  Now, you’re probably wondering why I would subject myself to the risk of falling asleep at the wheel.  Well, I hate sitting in traffic.  I don’t want to drive 10 or more hours and then sit at a standstill because Becky doesn’t know how to drive and slid off the road.  You feel me?  So, instead, I wait til 8 PM or so and head out.  Bring some snacks, turn on the music, and cruise; that’s the ideal scenario for me at least.

While I was home, all I did was eat.  That Thanksgiving meal has so much food it’s ridiculous.  We have a number of friends, neighbors, and family members that come over to have dinner and then stick around for desert.  Luckily everyone likes each other, otherwise it would be a mess.  Everyone brings a dish or two and it turns into a gigantic feast.  Afterwards, I’m always stuffed, and I could easily fall asleep watching TV.  It’s just impossible to keep your eyes open after that.  Then, it’s time for desert and everyone runs back to the table.  We offer things like apple pie, cookies, ice cream, pumpkin pie.  It’s a fat person’s dream, and it’s the reason my abs don’t look quite as good as a week ago before I went home.  Surprisingly, hanging out at the Ohio State University mess hall does just fine for me.  I find it relatively easy to get the right amount of vegetables, protein, and carbs in my meals because of their impressive selection of foods.

Speaking of getting on track, I’m back at the OSU gym.  And, so far, I haven’t had any run-ins with athletes trying to take up all the equipment.  Amazing.  I started around 15% body fat back in May, which I think is around average.  Right now, I’m at 7%.  My abs are popping nicely, which looks pretty good in the mirror, I have to admit.  It’s typically a pleasant surprise for the women lucky enough to come back to my building because they don’t expect anyone to train like they’re prepping for a movie role.  Every subsequent week of training drops my percentage a little bit more.  I’m aiming for 3.5% like Ryan Reynolds in Blade Trinity.  I’ve noticed that OSU seems to play all the superhero movies on movie night.  And, in those movies, the characters are always shredded.  I’d love to learn whatever their meal preparation and workout plan is because I’ve been doing this entirely on my own.  I don’t mind hard work, but it’s nice to have someone telling you for a fact that the route you’re taking will get you where you want to go.  Does anyone use a personal trainer?

Jirow’s Word – November

Once a month, I plan to blog about the happenings in my life as a student and person looking to advance in life and business.  While attending the University of Ohio State, I’ve learned quite a few things, such as the fact that state schools are very different from private ones.

It’s not the price I’m talking about, although the difference is crazy.  What I’m referring to is what the money difference does to a school.  Case in point, the facilities.  Having attended both private and public universities, I’ve noticed facilities are simply better at private schools.  I don’t care for the fact that the upper faculty gives themselves huge paychecks. However, I do like the money being spent on the gym, cafeteria, dorm rooms, and business buildings.  That’s fantastic.  The gym is one of my favorite activities, so I’m excited when it’s fully stocked with every piece of equipment.  From cardio to weights and everything in between, it feels like a Gold’s Gym.  You just have to love that.  It’s admirable.  And, it’s nice to have some weight equipment free from the football team’s use.  In many state schools, the football or basketball team is their highlight.  Those players have the gym reserved for them and all the regular students get kicked out when they arrive.  It’s utter crap because we pay tuition too.  Luckily in the private schools, this doesn’t happen very often.  Or, separate gyms are built for the athletes.  I’m fine with it. They’re great at their respective sports, so they should be able to train by themselves and focus on their craft.  However, we want to do the same.

The next thing other than the gym is the classroom and business buildings.  Many times, state school buildings look like they’re falling apart when you see it from the outside. Yeah sure, the first few buildings you see from the road look great to keep up appearances, but all the places we spend the majority of our time in are dilapidated and falling apart.  Where’s the money going?  Instead of blowing so much money on the marching band, or some sport, how about spending a bit of that wad of cash on the buildings your students sit in all day. Private schools don’t have this issue.  Their ridiculous tuition fees pay for the new concrete, the nice brick, the working classroom chairs, the great appearance all over the place.  It’s fantastic, and it makes it better sitting there attempting to learn somehow.

The third item to point out is the quality of people.  State schools have to win this one.  Ohio State in particular has so many people that the ratio of men to women doesn’t matter.  You have a total school enrollment of 66,000 people.  That’s a mini-world on the campus, also known as a microcosm.  This mini-world is sheltered from the outside, yet it contains everything the outside can provide from drinks to food to women.  Private college classrooms have 20-30 people, so your options are rather slim.  Walk into a lecture hall at OSU and you’ll see 200-300 people.  That’s a lot of potential new friends or business colleagues to talk to – whatever your preference.

If we’re talking about dating, who needs Tinder when you have 30,000 women to choose from?  No more swiping for my tired hands.  I simply walk outside and I’m in a form of Heaven.  I still have to put in some effort to walk over and say hi, but I like my odds.  No one can fail 30,000 times.  It’s not possible.  What a great college experience.

Being a junior now, my school days are limited.  Classes are getting tougher, and I’m already interviewing with companies to find a job in the business world.  Of course, as I research and interview at different companies, I’ll keep you updated on what’s going on in my life and how things are going at the university.  Expect to be made of aware of any random news or things I find peculiar.  If i’m noticing it, it’s almost certain someone else is as well, just based on the number of people enrolled here.  Good looking out.  Talk soon.