Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Upon Graduation.

I don't want to get too sappy, too long-winded, or too sentimental - lately, I have been all of the above.  Two days ago, my husband came home early from work and turned on "The Price is Right."  When a lady had an opportunity to win a car, I cried.  I'm not sure if I got all caught up in her excitement or what, but it sort of freaked me out.

My husband found it endearing.

I took my last final exam today.  It was English Literature.  Although the fourteen-ish cups of coffee I had before the exam did nothing to help my chicken scratch penmanship, I was pretty confident in the way it turned out.  Leaving campus was bittersweet, and after a stop at the grocery store, I found myself in my office with absolutely nothing to do.

I jotted some notes on my white board for my most-recent novel I started in November, but then realized I owe some people a fair amount of gratitude, and what better medium than the old interwebs?  In no particular order, these are a few of the people who made it all possible:

My mom, who never gave up on me even after wasting hundreds of dollars in college application fees post-high-school, when I knew I had no intention of returning to school in any way, shape, or form right off the bat.  When I finally did start, it was at Valencia Community College - East Campus - on my 21st birthday.  (See, I'd already gotten all my beer drinking out of the way by that point - good plan!)  My initial plan of attack was to take the courses I was most dreading first - so I started with Comp I.  How funny now, in hindsight, that my plan is to teach English.

My husband and boys.  Although he hasn't been in the picture for my entire academic career, Richard and I met in March of 2010, just a few months after I returned to college full-time (August 2009).  He's been through the ups, downs, downs, further downs, "don't bother me, I'm studying" times, etc.  My boys have lived a single-parent lifestyle, from baseball to Taekwondo, because I couldn't make classes, practices, or tournaments.  Poor Caleb was thrown into it when he didn't come early over a Christmas break, but instead waited until January 27, 2011 while I was contending with a full-time courseload.  I still can't believe I completed that semester.  Incredible.

There are so many professors to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude that can only be repaid on the dedication page of my first novel:  since I'm running a bit behind on novel-writing (with now a grand total of five unfinished manuscripts), I'd better thank them here:

Dr. Ford - it was your Horror Lit class that got me to return to school, and your Creative Writing classes that fueled my addiction passion to write.  As if that weren't enough, it was also your off-the-cuff question, asking me if I'd ever considered teaching as a career, that woke me up to what I want to do with the rest of my life.  I'll never forget you.

Professor Masucci - your Short Story class and your World Lit class opened my eyes to what it really means to be able to teach a text in a way that students can understand.  Your classes and lectures were always fun, and you have an incredibly conversational tone that I really appreciate as a future teacher.  Your knowledge of the text, as well as being able to infuse outside material relevant to a particular author, setting, or time period, added a multitude of dimension to what would otherwise have been "just a science fiction story" or "just an epic poem."  You encouraged me to question the why, how, whats of other cultures and to ask myself what resonates in me when I read literature, and why.

To all my fellow students I've had the privilege of learning with/from, thank you all from the bottom of my heart.  I am so happy that many of us have stayed in touch, and sharing "real-life" with each of you has been/is still awesome.  I have some great memories, thanks to all of you.  Funny how most of us got together in that first Creative Writing class.  You made class fun, which made learning fun too.

And for now, you'll have to excuse me.  I'm off to plan the rest of my life.

Cherstin, out.