Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Fellow English 300 Students - they gave me permission to blog!!

I woke up this morning, looked around for my dogs, finally finding them in the office with my husband.

"I bet you don't know what you're going to do today," Mario said, smiling coyly at me.  The last few weeks I have spent buried under books at my computer - now I was finished with the semester.

"I have a lot to do," I said, but then realized that was balderdash.  I felt lighter and freer- maybe my "stuff to do" wasn't so important.  After all, I had to walk the dogs, go to the organic grocer's, blog, write, edit... and then.  And then.

Yesterday I took two finals.  The most ominous was the one I took at 12:45 - my honors history class.  This class, my absolute favorite this semester, was taught by Rudy Pearson - an encyclopedic professor with a lecturing gift and a tendency to grade particularly tough. I came armed with a "blue book" (yes, those are still used) and two fine-point Bic ball-pens. We were asked to write two essays using "key terms, great detail and impact" of four topics.  Thank God I had studied two of the topics he assigned.  I labored through the test, and even though I consider myself an able writer, I wondered if it was enough for an A.  With Pearson, it was doubtful.  I would have to be taking dictation from our dense History textbook - and even then, he would mark it with "...and what is the impact?"

I stumbled over myself as I handed my blue book in.  How do you say goodbye to a Professor?  How do you thank him for impacting your life?  I felt the same nervousness saying goodbye to Dr. J, and somehow I managed to voice appreciation.  I am terrible with goodbyes and always manage to fudge them up.

I went home, breathing a little melancholy.  Did I do my best?  Yes.  Was it enough for an A?  I don't know.

After lunch, I returned to campus to take my English 300 final.  I walked up to Davies Hall and saw my fellow students talking on the bench.  The same melancholy flooded me - would I ever walk up to this grouping again?

"What are you guys doing here?" I asked them, smiling.  "Can I take your picture?"

They grouped together and smiled.  "Thanks! Can I blog about this?"

There was a collective grumbling, then a "no, no..." before I realized they were joking.  "Give me five bucks and the answer will be yes!" Shasta said.  She and I had kind of bonded this semester and we spoke about the summer term and what classes we were taking.

We migrated toward the classroom and set our minds to the next exam.

It occurred to me that students mark their lives according to semesters - different from the rest of the world.  In each semester, there are assignments, attainable goals, hellos, goodbyes, laughs, tears and attendance.  It is an efficient encapsulation of life: God teaches us to number our days - students do.

After I took my last final I walked it up to Professor Strawn and thanked him.

"You know," I said, bordering on tears. "You really helped me this semester and I want to thank you."

He smiled for the first time in the semester.  "You're welcome."

So here I am.  All done with my first semester.  I am fighting back tears as I write this.  I went back to school after a thirty two year absence and what I found was challenge - relationships - learning.  All my favorite things.

Now I'm off to the organic grocer's to get oranges.  My dogs' tails are wagging because they know I'm taking them.