Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Working in college

On Facebook I am friends with Kansas State University Alumni Association (go Cats!) and they asked this morning about our memories of working in college. I mostly worked writing publicity for the university and then I became the editor of the faculty/staff newsletter, which was like a little newspaper the university had to print. There were things the university was required to print, sort of the way newspapers print public notices. But I got to do some really neat things, too.

I had to work for the newspaper for my second reporting class although of course that wasn’t a paid position. I enjoyed doing that and I really liked the group effort of everyone trying to get the paper out, the feel of the newsroom, the private jokes and the collective hum of so many brains working so hard to get the keyboard to translate thoughts into words.

Sort of like what I am doing right now.

I never regretted my major although I don’t use it (that’s shocking, eh?) and I enjoyed all the studying that went into getting a Bachelor of Science degree. I like physical sciences and music, so I piled those things on as high as I could. I went to KSU with my freshman year under my belt, but many of those classes went toward my overall selection of electives. It isn’t that easy to get through college in four years anymore as classes are not always available when you are required or eligible to take them.

It was hard work to find interesting classes that actually fulfilled some requirements. And then there was my rather big decision to get a BS instead than a BA. The journalism school’s committee-of-some-sort seemed pleased to have someone want a BS and I got the impression from my advisor that this was a rare choice for a journalism major. He told me they were delighted and said I could do anything I wanted. So I did.

I went to the College of Architecture for a class and took another in the College of Agriculture. It was fabulous and for all my effort to dig out quantitative science classes, I got to skip biology! I hate biology. I had to take one life science class, so I took botany and it cost me. It cost me because I was in class FIVE days a week with botany: M-W-F and then labs on T-TH. But I remembered everything from the 8th grade and I did just fine. I liked drawing cross sections of leaves and I really liked the fact that I never had to take apart anything that once had a beating heart.

A friend of mine from the long ago days in Chicago once told me that it didn’t usually matter what your major was as long as you got the degree and I took that to heart. It wasn’t as if I wanted to be a doctor or an accountant or an engineer. I just wanted a college education, believe it or not. Just wanted to go and take notes and tests and get good grades. And I did all of that. I got very good grades and wasn’t at all obsessed about it. Not.at.all.

But, and I mean absolutely no offense to sociology or history or English majors, I had to chose something practical because that's me: practical.

For the first time in years, I have felt a little bit like going back to school. Do you remember your first fall after you graduated either high school or college and your brain was all geared up to go back and your body said, no way I’m not going!? That’s how I feel this year for some reason.

Next thing you know I will have one of those dreams where I am late to class or I had to take a math class and no one told me or I show up on the wrong day for the final exam. I hate those dreams and although they are not near as frequent as they once were, I still have them.

Oh, and one more thing before you go.

Every school has that urban myth that if the teacher is something like 10 minutes late for class you don’t have to stay … or whatever … well get this. For one of my second semester senior year final exams ON A SATURDAY MORNING, the proctor didn’t show up. At. All.

The professor was out of town. We weren’t so cocky about leaving and we all hung out in the hallways of the military science building for about 90 minutes.

We never did have to take the final. I bet the proctor had some ‘splainin’ to do.

It made me mad. I had studied, for crying out loud. But I got over it really fast.


Rose said...

I didn't finish college--too long of a story to go into. But it was a stupid decision. I still have that feeling of anticipation when fall rolls around, and I check everything out in the pens and paper division, and most times I have to buy a little something.

Badass Geek said...

Man, if only the proctor didn't show up for one of my final exams in college, my GPA would have remained semi brag-worthy.

Not that it ever was brag-worthy.

Akelamalu said...

I never went to University, just left school and worked, though I did train and pass exams in shorthand and typing. I think your friend was right about it being the actual degree that counts rather than the subject unless it's for a particular profession. Well done to you anyway. :)