Broadcasting is a difficult field to break into even for people who went to non-crazy schools, but it was especially difficult for Lilith because PCC students were only allowed to do internships with Christian organizations. That didn't help them get a paying job later -- the radio industry is full of heathens, so, "When they play your audition tape and it's nothing but Jesus stuff," she says, "they move on to their other thousands of applicants pretty quickly."
After a while, she bucked up and did what almost all liberal arts students must do eventually -- she started looking for jobs outside of her field. She decided that substitute teaching might be a good stepping stone to figuring out where to go next, but when she applied with the local school district, she hit a completely different snag: Her degree was worthless. Not even just "BA in broadcasting" worthless -- it was as if she'd never gone to college at all.
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Except all the tuition money. That part was definitely real.
In all fairness to PCC, Lilith says she and her family knew the college wasn't accredited, and in all fairness to the people they've worked over, PCC is pretty sneaky about it. "When my family visited the school before I graduated high school, my parents asked about it," she says "and our tour guide assured us that the school 'was working' on the situation. That was in 1996." For those of you playing along at home, the school did not seek accreditation until 2011. Before then, they had in fact actively opposed it, fearing that accrediting bodies would start making all sorts of demands about how students are treated. "But they made it sound like it wouldn't be a problem," Lilith says. "Even if they didn't get accredited before we graduated, they told us, their standards of education were so high that it didn't matter. That was true for some fields like, nursing and pre-med, but obviously not for all of them."
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"They said my poetry degree would get me into any coffee shop slam, but I can't even slam at Starbucks. Starbucks."
The PCC staff is not unaware of the post-grad situation faced by many of their students, because it's very likely they were once students themselves. They try to keep you there for life, says Lilith, so it's not so much a student body as a hiring pool. But one way or the other, the goal is to make sure you only wind up working at business that has "Christian" in front of its name. "It's ironic because the whole reason I chose a Christian college was because I needed some extra time to grow up, but PCC prevents you from growing up. They teach you to be scared of society. They teach you that every man is a potential rapist, but I really did believe that. If a guy at work touched my shoulder, I would feel like I needed to jump back."
Which leads to an awkward seminars about sexual harassment and appropriate pepper spray use in the office.
It was little things, too -- she was hilariously easily shocked by language, for example. "On my very first day at a classic rock radio station," she says, "a guy came in angry and cursing, and I just stood there frozen." It was completely alien -- and terrifying -- behavior to her. "I really had to work hard to unlearn every fear that was instilled into me," she says. "I have nightmares about being back there, and so does everyone I know who went to PCC. Even now, as a 35-year-old woman, I'm still learning that it's OK to have a glass of wine and I won't go to hell for it."
For more insider perspectives, check out 5 Things I Learned as a Mormon Polygamist Wife and 5 Hardcore Realities of My Time as a Mormon Missionary .
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