Finally admitted to Cal Poly Pomona

I just found out that I’ll finally be a college [undergrad] student again at Cal Poly Pomona starting in Winter 2011 (January). That’s about two months from now. Incredible!

Dumbfounded? Shocked? Yes, very.

When I got denied (SFW) for Fall 2010, I gave up on the Cal State University system. Even though I was a better student than 4-5 years ago, and I had my associate’s degree, CSU standards were too high due to the California budget. (That’s what I was told by an actual Citrus College counselor.)

It’s not fun to be haunted by a mediocre scholastic past.

My sights were set on applying at the University of La Verne.[1. Our drummer, James, currently attends there and will be graduating next year.] Since its a private university, and James said they have have a program for students over 25, I thought I’d have a better chance. I’d deal with the high cost of the student loans.

Fortunately for me, it looks like Cal Poly carried over my Fall 2010 application to Winter 2011. This has to be a miracle. I don’t see it any other way.

Thanks for the support, friends. Onward I go, while I try not to look my age. 🙂


If you haven’t been following my situation (not “The Situation“), here’s a summary:

  • Fall 2000: Attend Cal Poly Pomona as a freshman
  • Fall 2001: Transfer to Citrus College, due to a low GPA
  • 2001-2007: Struggle with classes at Citrus College; took a couple classes at Pasadena City College
    • June 2006: One less thing, where I probably volunteered about 30-40 hours/week since June 2000
    • October 31, 2007: Received my Associate in Arts degree
  • 2008: Break from school
  • 2009: Spread out three difficult classes and one easy class over 2.5 semesters
    • Plane Trigonometry – A; Principles of Economics (ECON101) – B; Managerial Accounting (ACCT102) – C; Basic Photography – B[2. I blame the research paper.]
  • January-September 2010: Wait for Fall 2010 admission from Cal Poly Pomona or Cal State LA; waitlisted for Winter 2011 at Cal State LA in mid-August, denied from Cal Poly in September 3rd
  • October 26, 2010: Received an email stating my admission for Winter 2011 (yay!)

Skimming through my past writings at my self-titled (non-active, but viewable) blog, I’ve been re-applying to Cal Poly Pomona since 2006.

College: Do I still need it?

While I was in the middle of writing this post, I recorded audio of some thoughts on being a Linchpin, publishing (shipping) stuff, and perfection – with a nod to the Due Process Flickr group:

Now, onto the post.


On Wednesday, I met with a Citrus College counselor. This is where I stand:

  • I have several Cs which are bringing down my GPA to about 2.57.
  • A few years ago, my GPA would be acceptable to CSU schools. Because of our recent budget crisis, that’s not the case.
  • It’s not possible to retake classes in which I received a C since that’s technically passing.
  • I’ve retaken every class possible. There aren’t any Ds, Fs, or withdrawn classes on my record. Academic renewal isn’t needed.
  • I have my Associates Degree. (Associate in Arts: Social & Behavioral Sciences)

My friend, PJ, tells me I should try Pitzer College or any of the Claremont Colleges. (He graduated from Pitzer.) To paraphrase his advice to me or anyone in college: take classes you’ll actually enjoy or be miserable. Another friend, James[1. You may know him as our awesome drummer for The Scarlet Paradigm. He’s a student at the University of La Verne and only has good things to say about it.], suggests to look into the University of La Verne.

They’re private colleges, so funding [is] a lot better than CSU and UC colleges. At La Verne, Undergrad Adult (25+) Tuition and Fees are substantially less expensive – that’s very cool. Regardless, I shouldn’t worry about money because financial aid should help. (See Student Loan Network – no affiliation.)

You already know I love photography. But, people seem to suggest that a major in business or marketing would be more helpful. My internal conflict is committing to a program for a couple of years that I actually like.

I’ve been subscribed to Rangefinder Magazine for almost a year now. I also follow several photographers online. What I’m finding is that a lot of them didn’t major in photography.

  • Scott Bourne was a Political Science major.
  • Scott Rinckenberger said, “Not one of us have an education in photography. We had college majors like English, French, Philosophy. You know, those subjects that inevitably prompt your parents to ask just exactly you plan to make a living with that degree. But what we lack in formal training is made up for in a blue collar work ethic, a disdain for convention, and a never ending search for new creative outlets.”
  • Jessica Claire was an English major.
  • Sam Abell majored in English and minored in Journalism. He said, “I have given many talks at universities across America to students studying photography. I’m often asked the question ‘What’s the most important thing a photographer can do to prepare for this life?’ and I always say ‘Learn to run a small business.’ John Harrington‘s book, “Best Business Practices for Photographers“, is that curriculum. You don’t have to go to college. You don’t have to major in small business administration, but you do have to read John Harrington’s book. This is the bible of running a successful photography business.”
  • Chase Jarvis didn’t major in photography: “As with all things Jarvis, he took a very roundabout route into photography. He attended college on a soccer scholarship, and though he was majoring in philosophy and premed, it was the passing on of his grandfather that became a life-changing event for him. Jarvis found himself the beneficiary of his grandfather’s camera, and he took it and three accompanying lenses on a postgrad tour of Europe with his then-girlfriend Kate, who’s now his executive producer and his wife. They spent a great deal of time there, living out of bags and traveling from country to country, all the way from Portugal to Sweden to Moscow. Along the way, he taught himself to shoot, and once he returned from Europe, he immediately bailed out on postgrad med school. He had planned to be a doctor, but instead ended up living in Colorado for three years where he started taking pictures of his friends out on the slopes. These friends, as it turned out, were to be the future athletic stars of the extreme-sports lifestyle.”

I have friends with degrees which don’t apply to whatever they’re doing now. They essentially went to school for the experience, friendships and growth of discipline. Nothing wrong with that. I still have a lot of respect for them. (They have a Bachelor’s Degree, while I don’t.)

So, I’m at a crossroads.

After talking to James, I’m highly considering the ULV. For transfer students:

The application deadline for students applying for the fall semester is April 1. Students applying for spring semester should submit their applications by December 1.

My GPA is a bit short, but maybe I can talk to the Dean of Admissions about that. I have several months to think about it, but I’ll be pursuing photography no matter what – you knew that already. (Well, unless the band makes it. Then again, I think “making it” is a different beast than it was before.)

Ultimately, I want to be a Linchpin.

If you have any thoughts or encouragement, please leave a comment or send me an email. If you’re a Debbie Downer, don’t be surprised if I delete your comment. After all, this is my house. Thanks!

One of my first prints

I tried to get this scanned print as close to the real thing as possible. I cropped out the white borders since they weren’t clean. I didn’t write down how I exposed this in the enlarger – shame on me, I guess.

Lastly, since this was our first assignment, our teacher hadn’t shown us contrast filters or dodging and burning. Don’t analyze this to death. 🙂

Film: Arista.EDU Ultra B&W 400 35mm
Camera: Pentax ME Super
Lens: Kiron 28-105mm f/3.2-4.5
Paper: Arista.EDU Ultra VC RC Semi-Matte 8×10
Scanner: HP ScanJet 7400C @ 600 DPI


My "new" film camera

My "new" film camera

I’m taking basic photography at Citrus College, which is mainly film-based. We need to develop film and make our own prints.

My Pentax ME Super[1. My mom gave me her old camera.] has ticked me off for the last time. I’ve shot through about five rolls. A lot of photos weren’t exposed properly. To make things worse, a couple of those rolls weren’t winding after a certain point.[2. I threw away a lot of film because of that.]

I promise I was following what its meter told me! And yes, I tried metering with my Canon EOS 40D and they essentially matched.

Since some photos were turning out just the way I imagined, I don’t think it’s a broken meter.

I digress.

I was jealous of my classmates’ correctly exposed photos. A couple of them had Canon cameras that supported EF lenses. Why not me?

So, I started searching for a Canon 35mm film camera. I got close to buying a Canon EOS Rebel G for $54 from a nearby eBay seller.

Fortunately, Gerald heard my plea on Twitter and gave me his unused Canon EOS Rebel XS (35mm film SLR)[3. Body only. I already own that lens.]. Thanks man!

Perhaps I’ll send him my best print of the semester as a gift. Of course, I need to pull that off first. 😉

Bonus: My current lenses will work with it — score!

View on Flickr

Away until Thursday

I’m nearing the end of Plane Trigonometry at Citrus. Assuming you’re not following me on Twitter (@bryan):

  • Before the quiz last Thursday, I was at 93% (A) overall. (#)
  • I got 100% my last test[1. Test #4 covered Complex Numbers, Trigonometric (Polar) Form of Complex Numbers, and the Product and Quotient Theorems.].
  • Thursday’s final is cumulative.

Until Thursday morning, I’ll stay away from the internet[2. Other than at work, of course.] and study in hopes of getting an “A” on my final.

Don’t ask me about my summer class. One thing at a time.

One more thing: Go Lakers.

The reason behind my silence

Photo by marymactavish (Flickr)

I’m taking Trigonometry because sine, cosine and tangent are my favorite functions.


Like I said a couple weeks ago, I’m back in school at Citrus College. I’m retaking [Plane] Trigonometry because I flunked it a long time ago.


My senior year in high school, I took an online course from Bakersfield College – statistics. That fulfilled my math requirement for college.

However, when my college counselors were looking at my transcripts, asking me about when I took stats, they just understood  that I took it in high school. The important part? It was a college course.

They insisted I that still needed a math class. I didn’t try to clarify. (How much simpler could it be?) When I took it, I was overwhelmed and failed miserably.

I choked this situation because I didn’t try to explain further. They choked it because they didn’t read carefully.

So, other than raising my GPA so Cal Poly Pomona will accept me, I’m retaking a course that won’t make a difference toward my Computer Information Systems degree.

What else are you taking?

That’s it. I feel slow at grasping the concepts compared to others. So, I’m not taking anything else. When I’m not at school, I’m either doing homework or working.

How about photography?

I still carry my camera everywhere, but I [seriously] photowalk on the weekends if I’m not tired. I’m still open for [natural light] portrait sessions and band photography. Just contact me, m’kay?

Aren’t you in a band, too?

Oh yeah. Listen to The Scarlet Paradigm. 😉

Lessons learned from a studying frenzy

The past two days, I’ve been studying like crazy for the exam I took this morning. (How’d I do? I’ll be extremely happy if I got a 70. There was just so much reading!)

Yesterday, between 9am and 1am (16 hours), I studied ten hours, napped for one hour, and maybe three hours for meals. I gave myself other small breaks, checking email, going through feeds in Bloglines, etc.

Tuesday, I studied for 4 1/2 hours in the afternoon.

I gotta get this into my head: if you spread out your studying, you’ll make it so much easier on yourself (mentally and physically).

Please learn from me.

I need to say something positive about all this, because it’s not the end of the world.

  • I had probably 3-4 cups of coffee throughout the day. But, at least they were all from the comfort of home. If I bought four Caffé Mochas from Starbucks, it would’ve been almost 12 bucks! That’s a little over one bag of coffee beans!
  • I took notes from the reading using TiddlyWiki. The learning curve is small, and WikiBar helps with that. (see “How to install a TiddlyWiki plugin)
  • I recorded myself reciting the 34 vocabulary words, which needed to be memorized word for word. Then, I sped up the tempo in Audacity (which doesn’t change its pitch), added a split-second Sine chirp between terms, then listened to it while washing dishes, lying in bed, on the way to school, and right before class. If you listen to a song enough times, you’ll have it memorized; in my opinion, the same logic applies here. You could take this further, but perhaps that should be a dedicated post.