18. Transferring to Penn State University
In the Winter Semester of 1980, I transferred to Penn State
As a student in a five-year co-op engineering program.
I was allowed to live on campus,
So cooking meals was not a problem for me.
However, my second year there,
All upperclassmen had to live off campus.
I had to take care of my own cooking.
No money for books and cooking meals was on my own.
Selling blood plasma was common for college students.
I checked into a clinic, seeing so many of them.
Lying on makeshift beds with needles in their two arms,
One drawn out blood, the other pumped blood back in.
“Please come here to test your blood.”
She placed the huge needle on the table.
I was so scared, I stood up,
“No, I changed my mind,” and walked out.
I hurried to a Chinese restaurant nearby,
Asked if they had need for a dish washer.
I’d rather wash dishes than sell blood plasma.
If I wasn’t careful, I might become a laughing corpse.
My school grades dropped dangerously low
For I had to work late into the night.
My life was so miserable and horrifying,
Hanging in there was the only way to survive.
No matter what, I must graduate.
Many times weeping in bed all night long.
Oh God, how insane my life had become,
No money for books, not enough money for food.
Nothing was left in my room,
I had already sold everything I owned.
My watch, my camera gone long ago,
“Five bucks for an old window fan.” I begged my friend.
After that, my Malibu car was the only thing left,
I had to keep it for transportation’s sake.
That summer I drove back to Philly,
I found a waiter job in a Chinese Restaurant in Upper Darby.