My new description as a Sociology major was an interesting one to step into.
The first thing that struck me as I sat through my first class was the personality type. Art people (especially art people in Eugene) are stereotypical. Eugene, OR is already a supremely hippie town and when having a major that is dependent on a desire for it you tend to get a certain type of person. More so, that type of person tends to teach the classes.
Now, I don’t know if this was because a lot of the people in my classes were second and third year students because of the levels of my classes (including a statistics class that they tried to tell me I couldn’t take because I hadn’t taken college Algebra….which I refuted with the fact that I had taken Calculus…..) but they were so immature. There were classes where people slept obnoxiously through. Answered their phones. Didn’t turn in the work. A sense of laziness and entitlement.
It was sort of disgruntling. Here I was driving 4 hours round-trip twice a week to take classes to get that piece of paper that said I was edumicated and there were people that didn’t even bother showing up. That was fine when it only affected themselves, but there were so many group projects that I ended up doing myself.
One of the greatest examples of this was when I volunteered to take notes for the campus group that pairs those notes with people that need them (since I’m such a visual person, my notes tend to be….fairly long and detailed). Later on I discovered that the person I was taking these notes for was on the basketball team. She needed them for when she was away on games. Not a problem. I understand. But when she showed up for maybe 3 classes total? When I had to email the notes to her because she couldn’t show up for me to hand them to her? And when a person on the same team as her shows up? AND when I hand you my painstakingly taken notes, you snub your nose up and think you are so much better than me because you are on a college sports team? No. Not cool.
But things progressed. I quickly learned my route to and from school and occasionally would become startled to realize that I was almost at my exit from I-5, not being able to remember passing through Salem at all.
I took some amazing classes and learned a lot. I now had a big word to throw out (Ethnomethodology) and knew what it meant (how people interact with each other in it’s most basic sense). It ended up being the class I remember most because of the professor. He was a tiny little man who had spent years with the Aboriginals in Australia, studying their societies. He also spent years with Tibetan monks studying their debate skills. Our final project was to videotape an intersection on campus and break down what we saw. This intersection, when looking outside of being on a college campus, would seem like death to anyone. It was a T shaped intersection, with the base of the T and the left side of it being one-ways and the right being a two way street. The only stop sign was on the right side and there were no crosswalks. Miraculously enough, it flowed. It flowed better than it did when there were stop signs and crosswalks, in fact. Learning that and seeing the habit that if someone stopped where there wasn’t a crosswalk the cars behind them would stop, would turn on their blinker if the car in front of them did, and tons of people would cross wherever they could was endlessly entertaining. It has helped my driving, to say the least.
Overall, I was content. I knew that I would graduate in the winter of 2005. I knew that what I was learning may not lead to a perfect job after, but it would give me basic skills and was entertaining. I had my dad’s permission to get married that summer (not that he would have tried to stop it, but since I was almost done, and I wanted to marry in the summer, it worked out well). Life was good.
I did not attend my graduation ceremony. Driving that 2 hour trip again just to sit outside with a bunch of people that I didn’t know to get a piece of paper was not interesting to me (I had already gone through a ceremony at Cottey College that meant so much more to me).
I received that piece of paper in the mail about a month later and just sat, staring at it. I was done. Finished. I graduated and was considered educated.
What did that paper mean other than I had spent thousands of dollars to put information into my head? That I could determine the difference between Renaissance and Rococo? That I know how to break down people’s interactions and how to interrupt someone successfully?
I still have nightmares occasionally. Missing classes, missing papers, forgetting that I was in school at all. It’s been almost 4 years since I graduated and they still occur.
It doesn’t help that I actually almost did miss a final. In my second year at UofO, I had studied my psycology notes, ready for my final. I arrived 45 minutes early, as is my usual and sat in my usual seat in the huge lecture hall. I noticed people were handing things in, and my heart stopped. Then I noticed people were taking out papers and calculators. I pulled out my planner and saw that I had gotten them mixed up. It was my Art History final today. Italian Renaissance Art, in fact. On the other side of campus. I had ten minutes to make it and pray that I would pass the final that I hadn’t studied for.
I was so proud of that B.
Maybe someday the nightmares will go away. Maybe someday I’ll figure out what I’m suppose to do. Until then? I shall live my life, knowing that the college experience made me a stronger person, allowed me to experience situations that otherwise I never would have experienced and met people that I never would have met (for the good and the bad).
I am thankful.
And if you’ve read all this, you get a cookie. And cake. And a hug.
Oh yeah, and a cute baby.