Con Artist

Now that I am once again unemployed and not having an easy time of searching for a new job, my parents suggested that I get a certificate in something or another to be more employable.  Of course my first reaction is I have two degrees already!  Are you playing with me?!  But then I got down to thinking about it and everything seemed to fall into place.

Until my sophomore year of high school, I didn’t really think of doing anything professionally other than being a veterinarian.  Things happened, thoughts occurred, and I went for English instead.  I don’t regret my education choices at all.  I love literature and writing and will always keep that an active part of my life, but right now is not a good time for that market.  I don’t have a job, right?

You can get a veterinary assistant certificate in less than a year.  Veterinary careers are always a good option because they can never be outsourced and people always spend on their pets no matter the economy (I can’t remember the statistics but I see them on the news and in magazines all the time).  I thought if I found a program, I’d look into it but I didn’t pursue anything with much vigor.

Then I saw one of those commercials for a college that had a vet assistant program.  I’m always skeptical of colleges that advertise like that, but I figured I’d look at the website and fill out their form for more information.  The next day I got a call from an admissions counselor who set up an appointment with me to see the campus and find out more information.  At least that’s what I thought I was doing.

The meeting started out with a sort of interview.  I asked some questions but he was mostly interviewing me.  That was odd, but I went with it.  I got a lot of information about the program and the school and tried not to show much surprise when I saw the $11,000 price tag on the 8 month program.  I didn’t know how much these programs usually cost  and I hadn’t heard of a program going that long, but how much did I actually know?  I kept a positive attitude and went for a tour of the campus which was pretty impressive.  The next thing I knew, my tour ended at the testing center where I was taking the entrance exam.  The way the counselor said it, I would have to take the exam before applying anyhow.  I thought that was odd since you would think somebody would have to be accepted first, but I thought I’d get it over with, it only took 12 minutes anyhow.  It wasn’t holding me to anything.

I passed with flying colors.  Then I went back to the counselor’s office and he took me right through the application.  Huh?  I came to ask some questions!  Well, I thought, I don’t have to go through with it or accept an offer.  But as it turns out, applying is pretty much enrolling at this school.  After paperwork and a call to their financial aid department not knowing if I was excited or feeling stupid, I went to meet up with a friend for coffee.

By the time I got home my parents had talked over the matter (I had briefly told them what happened over the phone) and just based on cost they said no.  I agreed.  I felt conned.  I only went to ask questions.  What just happened?  I’m not that stupid!  So I immediately called the admissions counselor and left a message telling him I wasn’t going through with the program.

Several times my dad had told me that the community college had a veterinary assistant program but I could never find information on it and so I assumed it really didn’t exist.  I sat down and searched up and down the website.  As it turns out, the program is listed under “continuing education” in a corner you wouldn’t expect to find it.  And it’s half the time and a fraction of the cost of the other program.  I called the community college and left a message asking for information about the program.

This morning I got a call from the admissions counselor at the crazy college.  He was in disbelief and claimed he had been making sure I was really wanting to go through with it (by not giving me time to think?).  Anyhow, he asked all sorts of questions about the community college program.  Is it accredited?  How long will it take?  Won’t it take longer?  Have you done your research?  He’d never heard of the program, never heard of a program that short, and didn’t believe it could happen.  Well, I couldn’t believe a program could be 8 months long and cost $11,000.  We’re even.

My dad, being business savvy and ultra conscious about money and signatures had me write a letter and send it priority mail with confirmation so we know the counselor gets it.  It confirms that I’m opting out of the program and everything from yesterday should be disregarded.  Snaps to Dad.

I haven’t even enrolled in the community college program yet and my parents are making jokes that my job will be to express our dogs’ anal glands.  Lovely.  I’m excited, though.  Have I mentioned that I love animals?


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