Friday, March 9, 2012


Today was Orientation. I got to the school a little bit early, and was greeted by one of the chef-instructors. He led me into the dining area of the restaurant and told me to help myself to some pastries, fruits and coffee. We were told these were prepared by current students. I grabbed a a scone and a glass of water and had a seat in the window next to a girl who we'll call "M" for now. We talked for a while before it was time to check in. She's in the same program as me, so you may be hearing more about her. After we checked in we started talking with a girl we'll call "R". She moved here from Idaho to go to OCI.
The President, Program Director, and all the other staff were introduced, some of them gave little pep talks, and then we met the faculty. After they were done speaking, we were called one by one to come get our tote bags full of textbooks, uniforms, and  an OCI coffee mug. They told us we would be given our knives/pastry tools on our first day of class (Monday) and that those of us taking the management courses would receive another 6ish books next week as well.

My OCI "Kitchen Ninja" Bag contained:

3 chef jackets

3 chef pants

2 OCI baseball caps

1 OCI coffee mug

7 textbooks

(that tote bag was ridiculously heavy btw)

My baking text books
   -On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals
   -How Baking Works: Exploring the Fundamentals of Baking Science
   -Professional Baking
   -The Pastry Chef's Companion: A Comprehensive Resource Guide for the Baking and Pastry Professional
   -ServSafe Essentials
   -On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
   -Culinary Artistry

For those of you keeping track, at Amazon prices that is $487.11 worth of books.

I took my jackets and pants in to be hemmed, and was given a price tag of $81 (ouch) but since I will be wearing them for the next 56 weeks, I would prefer they look nice. They will be ready for me on Sunday.

My schedule for the first class, "Intro to Profession Cuisine," is M-F from 8am-1pm, and will last from 3/12-4/6.
After that I will be taking "Food Ethics & Social Responsibility" for 4 weeks, M-H from 10am-12:30pm, ending on 5/4.

Here we go!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I got my award letter today. They disperse all the money term by term, so I was given a little chart from now until September 4th....which will cover my first 4 terms.

It looked something like this:

The total cost of the program, from start to finish, including uniforms supplies, books, etc., is $30,580 so feel free to use your imagination to fill in the rest of the chart.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


With orientation in 4 days, and class starting in 7 (yay!) I'm a little anxious that I still havent gotten all my paperwork taken care of. When my FAFSA was "randomly selected for verification" I was asked to send signed copies of my tax return, my parents' 1040, and my mom's Schedule C. I sent them Friday afternoon.

Today I was kind of surprised to get a call from Financial Aid today telling me they need MORE paperwork. They are trying to separate my parents' incomes, (hence the Schedule C), so they can base my Financial Aid (grants, loans, etc.) off of just my mom's income. Apparently, they need more proof that my dad's income is, in fact, my dad' now I get to copy and send in a Schedule E (for his business) ASAP before my face-to-face meeting with Beth (from financial aid) on Wednesday at 4:00.

Ugh, I just want this to be taken care of so I can start classes on Monday stress free.
Here's to hoping....

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


For those of you waiting for an update, I received an email this morning letting me know that my FAFSA was "selected for verification." That means, I get to dig through my papers and find my 2010 tax return, copy it, sign and date it, and send it to the financial aid office. My mom needs to do the same, as well as show proof of what her portion of the income for that year was (since they aren't together anymore, the school just needs her financial information).

I also got my Orientation Letter :) The gist of it:
  • Orientation is mandatory
  • Mine starts at 10am and will last about an hour and a half
  • When it is over I will get an OCI tote bag with my uniforms, books, etc in it (they recommend we bring an additional bag to put stuff in as well)

I'm excited!

13 DAYS!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


So, tomorrow I am taking my mom to a comped lunch at OCI (made by the advanced students). After that we will be meeting with Financial Aid to find out how much $$ I will be getting.....I'm hoping for some overage so I have money to live off of without having to find a full tome job on top of going to school. I'm really excited about this, and I want it to have my full focus. Then all I have left is my Acceptance Interview, and I am officially a student at Oregon Culinary Institute!

I heard this the other day, and I decided to adopt it:

Today is a new day, a new beginning. It has been given to me as a new gift. I can either use it or throw it away. What I do today will affect me tomorrow. I cannot blame anyone but myself if I do not succeed. I promise to use this day to the fullest by giving my best, realizing it can never come back again. This is my life, and I choose to make it a success.

Orientation is 2 weeks from Friday, and I start the Monday after that! I'm ready to use MY new beginning to the fullest :)

Monday, February 20, 2012


So I've been looking online to find the best deal on the type of shoes we need--black, non-slip, closed-toed kitchen shoes. 
The school recommended Danskos, which I'm really not a fan of. I don't want to spend $115+ on a pair of shoes that I think are hideous (no offense if you like them....not my style).

I emailed the school to see what all the options were, and was kind of surprised to find out Payless Shoes has a line of restaurant shoes...and they're less than half the price! (yes I realize Payless doesn't always make the best shoes...but with no income right now, they fit my budget).

The safeTstep shoes come in a ton of styles, and I woke up to a 25% off my entire purchase coupon in my email this morning, so I went to take a look.

I narrowed it down to these....

In the end I went with the ones on the left, they seemed to have more padding to stand on them for hours at a time. With my coupon and the lack of sales tax (I drove to Jantzen Beach) they ended up costing about $26. And, once I figure out what's up with my Financial Aid on Thursday, I may end up getting the pair on the right as well :)

For the record, I'm not sure Danskos come in my size anyway....I wear a kids size 4

Friday, February 17, 2012


Today I went with my mom and met with the Director of Admissions at Oregon Culinary Institute (OCI).
We went over all the paperwork, coursework and school basics, and then she gave us a tour of the school--kitchens, classrooms, and restaurant. We got to sample what the students were cooking, and everyone seemed pretty nice :) After the tour we met with Financial Aid and were given a paperwork packet to read/fill out by next Thursday (the 23rd).

Next I was measured/sized for the chef's uniforms.
Looks like I will be getting them tailored as they are unisex, so the sleeves are kind of large, and the pants are literally a foot too long for me (more about uniforms in a later post).

Then I was told I needed to take a quick test (about an hour) to assure them that I know how to read, write, and do basic math. It ended up being a fill-in-the-bubble, WASL/SAT like test. I felt like I was in high school again, and wasn't that surprised when I finished with time left over. The receptionist ran it through the machine and came back with a sticky note with my score attached to it (196/200).
With all of that taken care of, we set up a time to meet next week for a comped lunch, meeting with Financial Aid, and my "Acceptance Interview." I'm pretty excited, and Orientation is in 3 weeks!