Well how was your winter? For me the winter was, to put it delicately, a huge pain in the ass. At least with regards to my pilot training anyway. The weather sucked, which in itself made flying difficult - but then I had a number of small and not so small setbacks that meant that from November up until March I barely managed to scrape ten hours in total. Not good.
Eventually a decision had to be made. Unfortunately, obtain Pilot's licenses is extremely difficult, not to mention expensive! But giving up was not even a remote option for me, so I eventually came to the conclusion that if I am going to follow this dream I needed to do it properly. That's why in January I applied to Algonquin College for the Aviation Management program. Now it's called "aviation management", but what it really does is train you up as a commercial pilot, and provides you with the starter kit to getting a job. All accomplished in eighteen months! Sounds good to me! To make it even more appealing, I was able to continue flying at The Ottawa Flying Club, and even stay with My Instructor.
Initially I applied to and was accepted to the September program, but after speaking to the program's coordinator I was convinced to apply for the May program. I had intended to work my butt off all summer and then start in the fall, but eventually I figured out that I might as well just do it. I got my acceptance, got my student loans in line and was ready to go.
Term started May 9th, and so far I am having a blast. It's a pretty daunting thing - being a full time student again. But I am sure I will manage. My classes are pretty interesting, and a lot of them are specifically aviation based. For those that aren't (English and Math for example), our professors are doing a good job of trying to incorporate aviation into the material, which is much appreciated. In addition to interesting classes, it's a delight to be around a group of like-minded individuals, and naturally I adore the fact that I get to fly more than once a week - indeed it is expected of me!
I'm still keeping my job at the airport, although I have reduced the hours to part-time on the weekends, and I will take some flights with The Airline if I can at all manage it. I've been told by several of my professors already that working while I am in school is not a good idea, but it's not going to make a difference. When I consider how much this program is going to cost there is no way I can justify giving up my job. And to be honest, although I understand the workload involved in this program I don't think I will have any difficulty finding the time I need to do my work. I've only been in the program for a week and a half and already I feel as though I have had more down time than I ever did working full time. That time can easily be put to good use for studying.
Giving up full-time work was a huge challenge for me. I didn't realise it, but since I finished university two years ago I have been hugely motivated by the goal of full time work (and then some...in March I worked 23 days in a row without a day off!). I found that in the week prior to the start of term I was extremely nervous and jittery. Initially I chalked it up to nerves about the program, but when I really considered this I discovered it wasn't the case at all. I'm not completely new to training, and I've done full time education in the past. Nothing there could really intimidate me. After some time spent thinking on the subject, I realised that what was really throwing me for a loop was the idea of going from full-time employee to part-time employee. This was an extremely distressing thought for me, and I am quite sure that if it were at all possible I would be attempting to cling to my full-time status AND do school. But my flying and class schedule simply will not permit it, so part-time hours it is, and a life of full time studies and austerity for me for the next eighteen months.
Really though, if it means I get to fly three times a week, who cares if I don't get to buy that colour of nail polish I really want, or can't buy that shirt I saw in my favourite shop? None of those things can truly compare to how it will feel when I am a licensed pilot.
Now obviously I didn't do much updating over the winter. This was due, at least in part, to a severe lack of flying to write about. However there are a few snippets that I will attempt to share with you soon in order to get you caught up. I did a lot of flying with The Airline, so there are plenty of stories to tell! But now that I am in the Algonguin program I should have lots to write about so expect more frequent updates. I am even going to try and put myself on some sort of schedule so that you know when to expect updates from me.
All this is still to come, but for the time being I have math homework to do. Now there's something I didn't think I'd ever be saying again after high school!