This past weekend, I was in Philadelphia, seeing my brother who lives there. It was a very exciting time because I don’t get to see my family other than holidays and breaks during my undergraduate years. I had lacrosse practice in the morning and immediately drove 45 minutes south to have lunch with him. Finding a spot in Philadelphia is usually not very hard, I park in the designated areas and pay the parking fee which is only a few dollars each time. On this Saturday I did the same thing as always. I found an area I have parked in before and I parked in front of the “no parking here to corner” sign. I got out and paid the $3 fee and went out to lunch with my brother. When we came back to my car only an hour later I was astonished to find my car wasn’t there. This is the story of how I got my car back and how this relates to being a Biology major.
Whenever I park in a spot I always make sure I am extra cautious to park in a legal and safe area. This is mostly because I am a college student with not much money to pay parking fees and go through all of that trouble. I did the same thing on this day as well. I parked in front of the “No parking here to corner sign”, a fairly common sign all around the country. When I got out and observed where I parked I used my phone to pay for the parking fee, something I have never done before. Usually, I would walk to the middle of the parking zone and pay at the kiosk but, this day I was excited to see my brother and figured it would be easier and faster. As I walked away from my car I got a weird feeling as passed a parking officer heading the opposite direction. I thought about turning back and double-checking but again I was too focused on meeting up with my brother.
As we sat down to have lunch the idea of my car slipped from my head. I was having a normal afternoon with nothing to worry about. After about an hour or so of talking and catching up, we decided to head back to my car to drive back to Arcadia University. As we walked down the road happily getting ready to leave, I turned the corner to where my car should have been only to see a space. I stopped in my tracks wondering if this was even the road I parked. I double-checked the street signs and even triple-checked them. I told my brother “I parked right in front of that tree, that one right there!” It was not there. The realization that either my car was stolen or my car was towed began to set in. I wasn’t upset or angry I was more of just frustrated with myself as I looked up the middle of the street and saw a sign about 20 yards from where I parked. It said, “Here to corner, Consult parking only.” I was towed…
Trying to solve the situation, me and my brother called the number on the no parking sign to figure out what we had to do next. As we stood on the sidewalk, looking as if we had no idea where we were, we got ahold of an impound lot in south Philadelphia. We gave them my license plate number and they said “yep, we got it. A 2009 Jeep Patriot.” They provided us the address to come and pay the fees and hung up immediately. My brother looked at my trying to provide me moral and mental support on what was happening but, I was okay. I wasn’t heated, mad, or upset. There was nothing that crying, yelling, or getting mad at was gonna do. I put myself in this situation and there was nothing I could do but look for solutions and that is what we did.
My brother ordered an Uber to take out 3 miles south to the impound lot. On arriving I was met with a barbed wire fence and an office with four windows. As I walked up to the window the woman asked me “What can I do.” You can tell she didn’t like her job. I can only imagine the number of people that come into that building every single day yelling and asking why they towed their car. Just as we talked about in blog #7 Struggle Of Learning In Healthcare, part 2: Legitimacy, she has a job to do and she is just trying to make a living. She is a professional in her department and a customer should give the utmost respect and coordinate at all times. This is exactly what I did. I asked her how her day was going and tried to be the best customer she has had all day. When she asked me to provide her with ID I said “yes ma’am” and when she asked if I had my Insurance and Registration I said “no ma’am.”
After providing and paying a $226 parking violation and towing fee, I was able to collect my car. I had to collect my Insurance and Registration from my vehicle and provide it to a different window first. After all of this work, it was only about 35-45 minutes from the moment I realized my car got towed. I was upset about the money, as I have been saving for other reasons but, I tossed it up as a loss and mistake I made. Money will always come back. The thing I was most upset about was that I was missing my girlfriend’s soccer game, something I couldn’t get back. Luckily, I managed to get there as the game was ending and stay after with her friends and have some fun.
So, I am sure you are asking yourself how the hell is this related to Biology. When my car was being towed, the last thing I was expecting to do was write a blog post on how my current experience relates to my major. But, after running the situation back in my head over and over I began to realize the similarities of what I did and how they can have a positive or negative effect while studying in school. I will make this list nice and short so that you don’t have to listen to my story again 🙂
- Always double-check when attempting or doing something new. When I was paying a parking fee I was using a new app. I didn’t pay much attention to things I usually would have, such as the consult-only parking sign. Just like when studying or conducting a lab in school it is vital to follow each procedure in detail. I found a shortcut with the phone app and thought I can skip all of the things I did previously but, I was wrong.
- If you feel like you did something wrong or right, you probably did something wrong or right! This is very similar to the previous example but, listen to your gut. When solving a problem or even reading a textbook if something feels off, something is probably off. Double-check all the time as this extra time that is usually very short can save a bunch of work in the future or even a bad grade!
- Stay cool, calm, and collective. I have said this one in many previous blogs before but, this is one of the most important things to do while being a Biology major or any major. No problem is going to be solved if you are crying, yelling, or extremely upset. Instead, take a deep breath and realize that to just about every problem there is a solution. You just need to find it. It took me and my brother less than an hour to get my car back because we didn’t harp over the situation but, instead got to work and began to problem solve. In Biology, you are going to want to cry, and sometimes it is okay. Just know, however, there is a solution to your problem
- Be respectful. This one goes without saying but, being an angry customer or student doesn’t get you anywhere. No one wants to help out the pissed-off and moody individual. Everyone wants to help out the person that is kind and respectful. This goes the same with your professor and fellow students.