For my sister-in-law, who had to spend her birthday going to her first day of work away from her beautiful son.
Earlier in the year, I participated in a photo challenge. It was more of a way to look at things differently. To stretch your eye.
The topic was to pick something that would be growing and changing over 6 weeks and photograph it. To capture the time frame of the growing thing.
I chose this plant that grows out by our greenhouse to watch it change. Of course, I managed to choose the one plant that didn’t blossom during those 6 weeks:
But then, finally, Spring arrived. We have blossoms!
I am so happy! So very happy. So thank you, Miss B, for being inspiring. And helping me look at this lonely little plant more than I ever had before!
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.
I did not expect this to go so long! So if you’ve been reading it all, have a cookie! If not, you can still have a cookie!
So I had escaped from Florida back home. I was also hit with the realization that what I thought had been my dream job, no longer was. I had decided that I would finish up school with my degree and see where it took me.
Thank goodness for Mr. Soup. He grounded me in a way that I desperately needed. I was feeling supremely lost and confused, my future was so uncertain. But I knew one thing for sure and that was that I loved him and was ready for that future.
I had promised my father that I would graduate before I got married, so back to school I went. But not in the normal manner. I would become a commuter student, living in my parent’s house and working at Office Depot but arrainging my schedule so I would only have to be on campus Tusedays and Thursdays and work the rest of the time.
Normally, this wouldn’t seem too bad. Free rent, good job, etc. Here’s the kicker: I lived 2 hours away from the University of Oregon.
Yup, 2 hours.
I would be driving 4 hours a day twice a week.
Mr. Soup, my family and I crunched the numbers and we crunched them hard. We discovered that it would be cheaper for me to live up there, working at the job that I had, and driving down unless gas got about $3. Which it didn’t.
That fall I went down to meet with my advisor and plan the last bit of my career. After meeting with her, I was told something shocking.
I had taken “all the wrong classes”. I was stunned. Having done what they told me to, apparently it was all wrong. I wouldn’t be able to graduate for another 3-4 years if I stuck with my Art major.
I was furious.
After a deep breath and several tears in the bathroom of the Art building, I squared my shoulders and walked down to the Administrative building. I sat for 30 minutes to wait to speak with a general advisor.
Almost 2 hours later, I left. I was now a Sociology major. I would be able to graduate a year from then.
I wasn’t excited, but I was content. I would be out of there sooner rather than later, I didn’t love Sociology but wasn’t bored by it. I also understood it. And it would be a B.S. so I wouldn’t have to take a language (which is why I didn’t change to Art History).
Driving home that day was rough. I had officially given up my dream. No longer would I be an animator, but that was okay. I was going to graduate. I had an amazing fiance. My future, although it wouldn’t be anything like I thought it would be, would be wonderful.
I had just moved into a new apartment with new roommates at Walt Disney World. Now that I wouldn’t be tortured by indescribable people, things would be easier.
When I moved in, no body was in the apartment. I chose the first room because it looked to be the most empty and was clean. I unpacked and made myself at home before meeting my other roommates. The girl sharing my room was a quiet Japanese girl, also from the University of Oregon. The other roommate was from UofO too. I figured it was a good sign and felt comfortable and safe for the first time in several months.
I rarely saw my true roommate. She had an opposite shift than I did and so was always working when I was home. My other roommate had fewer shifts than I did (I don’t remember what her job was) and always seemed to be home. She also always seemed to be sitting on the couch watching TV. I don’t even know if she ever went to work, in fact. She introduced herself to me by asking me to buy her alcohol since I was over 21 and she was not. Of course, I refused. I suspect she had some alcohol issues because one night I was woken up by her sitting. On my bed. Mumbling about something and smelling very strongly of rum. We always locked our bedroom door after that.
We finally got internet in the apartments. This meant I didn’t have to go down to the computer room to submit my homework and was also able to chat with my then fiance on MSN. Unfortunately, they placed the jack to the internet in a corner of the room that also happened to be where the couch was in our apartment.
I had been doing an art project earlier in the day, shading with a q-tip so I didn’t get my fingers gross. I put the pages away and left the q-tip on the counter, because my phone had rung. It was Mr. Soup. We talked for a bit and after hanging up, got distracted and forgot to throw the q-tip away. My roommate yelled at me, calling me a slob and all sorts of lovely things. I let it brush off of me and went into my room to watch a movie.
The next day, Mr. Soup called to tell me to get online because he had something to show me. I had my cellphone pressed against my head and my laptop under my arm to go out to the living area to ask my roommate to move off the couch so I could move it to get to the jack. She ignored me. When I asked her again, she just turned the TV up louder, ignoring me again. I put down the phone and laptop and shoved against the couch to move it out of the way physically, then sat down on the floor and picked up the phone again. As I was setting up the internet on my computer, I was talking to Mr. Soup still. The roommate proceeded to turn the volume up. All the way. I couldn’t hear myself think, let alone anything he was saying. So I said I would chat him when I got connected and hung up. I then proceeded to shout at the top of my lungs that I was off the phone so she could turn it down.
“What? I can’t hear you, the TV is up too loud.”
So I stood up and went to turn down the TV manually. She leaps off the couch and pushes me into the wall. Hard. I proceeded to stand there shocked. I had just been physically assaulted by this child of a roommate. I finally blinked out of it to go get the phone to call the police. I knew that if I retaliated I would do something worse than push her into the wall. I would leave marks. She threw the phone against the wall, breaking it. So I grabbed my keys and left to go physically present my assault.
I was told that since there were no marks and no witnesses they couldn’t do anything. Even with the history of violence and troubles that this girl had.
When they offered to get us counceling, I knew I was done. I only had a couple weeks left, but it was too much. I wanted to be home. I wanted to be planning my wedding. I did not want to be in the hot and sweaty state, with roommates that thought it was okay to touch me without my permission. I would be leaving a great job and great friends, but would be safe.
I don’t like not feeling safe. A couple weeks later, I was on a plane home. Mr. Soup was planning his trip to move from Indiana to Oregon.
I had also made a decision. I didn’t want to be an animator anymore. I didn’t have the drive or the desire. My entire college plan would be changed in the coming months.
To be continued next Friday….