Juggling culinary school and work

I should be more careful what I wish for. I hoped, prayed and promised Fate I would never ask for anything ever again (eeek) if I were to be selected for the freelance food editor position I applied for over the summer. Apparently, Fate forgot that in 1982 I asked if he could make a boy in my class like me, with the promise to never ask for anything again, because I got the job!!

I’ve been writing and writing my fingers to the bone, for free, for the past three years. Granted, I’ve landed a few paying jobs, but for the most part, to build a portfolio and much needed accolades and street creds, I’ve been sacrificing pay to be able to write for places like Food Network and Martha Stewart Radio. I know every food writer, heck every writer, in America is hating me right now because the creed is that “you never write for free.” But, I felt I had to do it. I started this career late in the game and had a lot of catching up to do; I didn’t have 10+ years to build experience and a writing portfolio — I set a goal to do it in less than five.

Needless to say, I was a little excited to read a posted position in my area for a food writer and recipe developer — those positions are unheard of in Orlando. I was interning at the Test Kitchen at the time, but knew I’d be home in a month, and applied. I didn’t expect to hear anything, but they called. And that call turned into another, and another, and then emails to schedule in-person interviews when I returned to Orlando.

Long story short, I was offered (and accepted) their contract position and will be with them until the holidays. I’m working on my first assignment as we speak, and having a blast — it’s my dream job in Orlando, for sure, and although only a few months long, it’s another chance to do what I love — with pay!

While I’m freelancing full time for this company, I’ll also be going to school twice a week. Those two days will be long — 8 a.m. until about 6 or 7 p.m. between school and work. After working at the Test Kitchen, I know I can survive anything, but it will be challenging.

So, Fate, if you’re listening, can I give back my 1982 credit for the boy in elementary school, and see if I can have one day to work from home after school instead?

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            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            Baker College is the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. Our mission is to prepare you for meaningful employment.

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            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Sullivan University is a private institution of higher learning dedicated to providing educational enrichment opportunities for the intellectual, social and professional development of its students. The institution offers career-focused curricula with increasing rigor from the certificate through diploma, associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree levels. Throughout those curricula, the university seeks to promote the development of critical thinking, effective verbal and written communication, computer literacy, and teamwork as well as an appreciation for life-long learning, cultural diversity and the expression of professionalism in all activities. At the graduate level, the university also seeks to promote a culture of research.

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            • Instructors are typically real-world professionals with many years of experience in their career fields.
            • Ranked #3 in Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2014 by Military Times.
            • Presents the full tuition cost up front. In most cases, even textbooks are included in the total price.
            • Provides career services associates to help students review their resume, provide career counseling, help with job searches, and more.
            • Has 27 campus locations across the southern United States, plus offers online degree programs.
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