So, here I am writing my first blog post. It's a little intimidating because I've never blogged before. But there's a first time for everything and I'm excited about this new endeavor. Of course the challenge will be finding the time, between working and classes and family responsibilities.
It helps that I am surrounded by other adult college students, many of whom can relate to my balancing act, because they are also working full-time while taking part time classes. In fact, many of my classmates are only able to afford their adult college classes because at GSC taking just one class a term means that they are eligible to apply for financial aid. Another huge incentive is that the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition at GSC is only $15 per credit! Offering the lowest tuition of all four institutions in the University of New Hampshire System, GSC is a NH state college where my classmates and I can earn an affordable bachelor degree, associate degree or even teacher certification.
I suppose I sound like I'm going for a hard-sell. But that's only because I have such a positive impression of Granite State College. One of the best aspects of my job at GSC is being a point-of-contact for prospective and new students because I want so much to help people see their potential become reality. If a student calls our Claremont NH College, needing to know how to post a comment to the discussion board in Blackboard for their online class, I can walk them through it over the phone, because I've been in their shoes.
When a potential student calls or walks into our center for the first time, they are often worried about how they'll handle taking adult college courses on top of their work and family responsibilities, and I can relate. But it really is doable! For me, taking online classes is one way I have been able to manage to keep all the balls in the air, so to speak. Sure, my first online class was a little scary in the beginning, but my classmates were incredibly helpful - explaining where to find resources and how to submit assignments. It was a great feeling to learn some new technology along with the actual course material. That's just one of the perks of taking online classes for college!
Because I really enjoy the occasional human interaction, I also take face-to-face evening college classes, as well as weekend intensive classes. I find that I can fit these into my hectic schedule quite nicely. Currently, I'm taking Managing Diversity as a weekend intensive, and The Emerging U.S. Health Care System online. It's a splendid combination of formats and learning!
Well, I better get back to the books, because I want to make sure I get my assignment in before the deadline tomorrow.
So, here I am writing my first blog post. It's a little intimidating because I've never blogged before. But there's a first time for everything and I'm excited about this new endeavor. Of course the challenge will be finding the time, between working and classes and family responsibilities.
It was a lovely Sunday morning when my friend and I started out to Lake Cunningham which is about am hour away from my house. We had to stop for our coffee, morning DD with a donut or two, before we got there as we knew we would need some energy to paddle around the whole lake. It must be six to seven miles around the lake but what fun it was. We talked about everything as we paddled. We talked about memories and good times that we had in the past, things we would like to do in the future, dreams, etc. then Granite State College came to mind. It was a memory for me as it has been nine months since I graduated with my Adult College Degree. Boy has it been that long? Time sure flies. When I was going to school it was hard to see the "light at the end of the tunnel" I was so busy. Busy with school work, busy with household work, busy with my full time job work and busy with my four young adults. I just didn't seem to get a break. Now my break is here and can hardly believe it is done. Well, done for the time being anyways. I would love to get my Masters Degree someday. Maybe the University System of New Hampshire can help with that in my future.
OK, more about my day. We started out at Lake Cunningham...then went to a lake neither of us had been to before, Lake Rabon, which is only 18 miles from my house. I was so excited to find a new lake and so close!! "Life is good" as they say. We had map-quested it before we left so we had to watch for street signs as we drove, and low and behold there was the street we were looking for. No more than a stones throw was the lake. OMG what a big lake and bit bigger than Lake Cunningham. There were fisherman fishing and kayakers kayaking..it was great. The water lilies where in full bloom, even brought a couple home to enjoy.
My daughter is coming home tomorrow and I think her and I will go to my new found paddling spot one day this week. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and remember, "this too will pass."
Other institutions within the University of New Hampshire System provide work-study opportunities to their students. A student may find themselves in the dining hall, washing dishes for the 2000 students who come in. One of my personal favorites is cleaning the horse barn; a twice daily ritual reserved for the lucky few work-study candidates who desire a truly hands on approach to learning.
When I go online and look-up work-study, I often see lists of benefits that college-aged students reap when they participate in the program; earn money while going to college, develop time management skills, build work ethic, etc. But the funny thing is, those are not the benefits I need to reap as an adult learner. The benefits I need to have must be geared towards my goals, incorporate my experiences and enhance my learning. So as a budding student of teacher training education, I NEED to have a place where I can foster examples of new learning for young people; I NEED to practice the skills of implementing the theory I have encountered during my course work. So I was really curious about how Granite State College work-study could benefit me.
In 2007, when I began looking into utilizing work-study funds as a means of decreasing my reliance on student loans I found that most if not all the jobs listed were in Concord and the surrounding areas. Being from the Seacoast this was a disappointing development. But as I read more I found out I could actually do meaningful work, that would also enhance my studies; utilizing work-study funds I could work in my community where I felt there was a need. This was new information for me. Did you know that work-study funds could be used in the community and not only at the college? A win-win solution.
With the help of Cortney Henry at the Financial Aid office, and the support of my employer, we created an after-school mentoring program (a desperately needed component when working with at-risk youths). Together the students and I created a concrete form for a garden bench and then went on to pour it. After the bench was finished, we then went on and created a garden area for our bench to be displayed in. It was meaningful work which fit in nicely with my degree program and it is a project which continues to grow today. It has created a lasting tribute to the students who participated in the program and they now have a tangible connection in their community. When we make purposeful connections, between people and places in our community, we then share common values which enrich us all.
Now that’s a benefit you can’t put in a pamphlet -- and after all isn’t that what learning should be about?
This however, is not the bacon I have in mind; instead, I am thinking of Kevin Bacon. In particular, I think that Kevin Bacon should get his own unit of measure, not shockingly called Bacons.
Let me back up: ever since 7th grade, I thought it would be the coolest thing to have my own unit of measure (after I took chemistry in 10th grade, I added that having my own chemical element would be awesome, too). The greatest names in science, as a tribute to their contributions to knowledge, were made synonymous with units of measure in their fields of endeavor. Some of the are familiar and heard every day, like Fahrenheit, or Newtons, if you've ever taken physics. There are dozens more, and they can get totally obscure, like angstroms, gauss, roentgens, farradays, etc. Since I changed my major in college from chemistry to psychology in my sophomore year, the odds of getting my own element or unit don't look good. Almost everyone else alive today won't get one either, but each of us can make a difference in the world with our Bacons.
The idea is to play off the "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" game, so that your one-Bacons are the people immediately around you: family, friends, colleagues. The two-Bacons and beyond are somewhat harder to measure, but it could certainly be done. Focusing on the one-Bacons, I believe that the well-being of your one-Bacons is a direct measure of yourself. The best part about this is that everyone you've ever seen, spoken, or been around is one of your one-Bacons, and anyone that they've ever seen, spoken to, or been around is one of your two-Bacons. Similarly, you could very well be a two-Bacon to two complete strangers, who turn out to be within four or five Bacons of each other....whoa, hang on... I'm dizzy.
This all hit me at the Granite State College Commencement ceremony a couple weekends ago. Even though I have been to a dozen graduation ceremonies before, both as a spectator and a graduate, I just realized a couple weeks ago that an elusive concept like success can be easily measured as your one-Bacons. Each speaker at Commencement, including GSC President Dr. Karol LaCroix, Governor John Lynch, and the faculty and student speakers, more or less made this point from different perspectives. When the students thanked their husbands and wives and children and families, they spoke volumes about being the one-Bacons of their family members. The award recipients basically said the same thing - that their personal achievements were possible only because they are the one-Bacons of their families and colleagues.
I also had a great day that Sunday on account of my one-Bacons. For the first graduation since I started here, I had a number of students graduate that "came in" with me, which is to say I was their advisor from their first day, to that Sunday where they graduated. My one-Bacons are everywhere, too. Some of them had been to multiple schools in the University of New Hampshire System, but finished at GSC. Others have a career for years, even decades, before deciding to finish with online classes for criminal justice.
All of this was huge for me, although to be fair, it's sort of rigged: each of my advisees who graduated are some of my one-Bacons, and it felt really good to have helped in the success and graduation of that many folks. The families and friends assembled that afternoon must have also been proud, so that my two-Bacons also had a great day.
Please know, this is not all about me, or about any one of us, individually. Instead, I think the true measure of the success of any one of us can be measured by our Bacons. Ask yourself, just as I do everyday (wait, that's not true; it's not every day, how about a few times a week):
How did I make my organization better today?
How did I make my spouse's/child's/friend's/neighbor's life better today?
Your one-Bacons (and two-Bacons and three-Bacons, and so on) can be your most trusted friends or total strangers on the bus, and any one of them or all of them can be vastly upgraded by the simplest or silliest things. And even though it's true that we have an opportunity to better ourselves by actively bettering the lot of our one-Bacons, it always helps to have a ceremony or event that broadcasts the betterment of your one-Bacons, like when a number of my students walked across that stage when their names were called at Commencement.
Now that I have decided to continue my love of education, what am I to do about my career? The economy is slowly but surely turning around. I have slowly but surely turned around my career options by attaining my adult college degree. One of my business professors told me that any professional seriously looking to change careers should pay a professional resume writer to accomplish the task. I took his advice and had the professionals at monster.com create my new resume earlier this month. Below is my new education portion of my resume. Before this week it simply incorporated my High School diploma.
I have many years of practical business knowledge and now have the degree to compliment my experience. My real passion and ambition is to somehow enter the fields of HR or Organizational Communication/Public Relations at the age of 43! My adult college degree is a B.S. in Business Management with a minor in human resources and a concentration in communication. Being able to say that I have attained my adult college degree not only offers me more opportunities it boosts my confidence in myself.
Follow me on my blog and see where my career aspirations lead me with my degree in hand!
During my student recruiting travels for Granite State College I frequently hear stories of woe from parents of traditional age college students about how their child’s undergraduate experience took longer than the anticipated four years. “My son spent six years in college because he majored in fraternities during his first two years” said one parent. All too frequently, students who complete eight full-time semesters in a bachelor’s degree program have either insufficient credits or lack required courses for graduation. Changing majors, dropping courses, poor academic performance and course scheduling mistakes are common reasons for an extended college experience. These extra semesters equate to higher out of pocket costs for parents and students and bigger student loans.
Fortunately there are strategies that can assist the traditional-age college student to complete their bachelor’s degree on time and, in some cases, ahead of schedule. Taking one or two summer courses every year, along with proper academic planning can enable a student to complete their plan of study a full semester ahead of time. This strategy can reduce both tuition and room and board costs and enables the student to begin the career search five months earlier than their classmates.
Many students at our sister University System of NH schools take advantage of Granite State College’s five week online spring courses or eight week summer term to build credits, then transfer these course credits into the plan of study at their ‘home’ college. Our online, evening and weekend course options allow students to complete the coursework while still working summer jobs and having adequate ‘beach time’. Registering for a summer course at Granite State College is both affordable and easy. The NH Transfer.org website allows students to make sure that the selected courses will transfer and meet their plan of study needs. My son is a communications major at Keene State College and by taking a summer course every year at GSC is on track to complete his degree requirements in December of his senior year. My checkbook is really liking that!
If you are interested in learning more about this and other accelerated graduation strategies drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
As I mentioned before, there are several websites that I visit regularly, almost daily, and I get excellent and reliable information from them that is either just for my own geeky benefit or for a very practical purpose, or both.
For my unabashed love of maps, I rely heavily on Google maps at maps.google.com/maps . That maps will show any square mile of the Earth's surface that you want, and I have on several occasions used it in real time, as recently as yesterday, to guide a lost or uncertain friend or student to a particular destination.
In fifth grade, I was accused of reading the dictionary for fun. Although it started out as a joke (I think?), it was also persistent interest to know what particular big words meant, so that I eventually did flip to random pages of a nearby dictionary just to see what was there. For several years now, I have regularly visited dictionary.com to check on spelling, definition, and etymology of all kinds of words. It even has a Translator on there, which although imperfect can still give you a pretty good idea of what is written in another language.
I have something of a love-hate relationship with wikipedia.org. While I am in it all the time, I am bummed that it suffers from such a bad reputation in higher education. It seems pretty clear now that it's not a good idea to rely on wikipedia for research papers, but it can still point one in the direction of scholarly research, indisputable information and trivia, and for conventional wisdom, too.
Other things I have been into lately are:
ted.com/talks - Interesting lectures on a variety of topics
www.aldaily.com - Recent articles, criticism and essays in all kinds of scholarly subjects.
This where we bring it back to Granite State College. Much like going online to figure out the difference between a frittata and quiche, and what's the temperature going to be like tomorrow, an online school for adults can be the answer that you didn't know where to find, or that you didn't know you were looking for at all. As part of the New Hampshire University System, we make sure to have our stuff together and the our credits are as reliable as looking up a word in the dictionary.
One last thing - I am not a salesman. If GSC doesn't have quite the right program or degree you're looking for, I and any advisor here could point you in the direction of a school that does. As I tend to say in emails to my students: Let me know what you think. Thanks.
And as a confirmed and proud-of-it chocoholic, I initially rejoiced when "experts" determined that dark chocolate has health benefits. That is, until I realized that really, when you come down to it, I prefer milk chocolate. Suddenly.
Jumping rope was one of my favorite things to do outside as a kid. Now, I know it is a great form of excercise. (Strangely I no longer own a jump rope.)
My 6-year-old and 4-year-old sons actually love broccoli. Last night, Nicholas did not want any of his chicken or rice for dinner, but asked for more broccoli. I hope he will never find out it is good for him. Lock that information in the childhood vault of secrets right beside Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy--only to be released in dire circumstances.
Of course, we all need to do things that ARE good for us, even if they are not particularly enjoyable. This brings me to tell you about radical action we took in our house--we cancelled our cable. (Insert gasp here.) No, it wasn't any statement we were making to the cable company, or protest we were staging--it was something we simply felt would benefit us--and were willing to try. After noticing how much time "evaporated" as we fell into a habit of watching TV pretty often, and at the same time jumping for the remote as a commercial began to air that was decidedly inappropriate for the kids to see, it was easy to see this as a great way to save money and mental health each month. Easy to see, a little harder to make the call and pull the plug. Especially once we decided it would be a good thing for us to do. But call we did, and cancel they did--and we prepared for the misery of our good decision.
The results? Living more deliberately. Hey, we're not martyrs--we "upped" our membership in Netflix, and have bought a few more movies, but now we consciously choose when and what we view, and have had some great family times together watching new movies and revisiting old favorites. Anyone remember The Waltons?
I spend more time reading to the kids, talking with my husband, and it just seems like I get more done without the distraction. Do I miss TV? Truly there have only been a handful of times that I really wished we had it: for the olympics, sometimes for the news (although I can get most of it online), and I was an "American Greed" junkie. Otherwise, I am enjoying the benefits of this "good for you" decision.
Kind of like pursuing adult education and training at Granite State College. The University of New Hampshire system provides the vehicle for completing my degree--which is good for me; good for my future, and good for my kids to see that learning never stops--even when you're "way old" like me. But the students and faculty provide added benefits which make the process enjoyable. I get additional social interaction, intellectual challenge, and to hear of great experiences from people I probably wouldn't have run into otherwise. Am I missing out on something while I am at school? Ehhh- there's not much on TV now anyway.
I just finished my capstone course last semester and needed only one more elective credit to complete my adult education degree in Business Management from Granite State College (GSC). Because GSC is part of the University of New Hampshire System we are eligible to attend classes at Keene State College, Plymouth State University or the Univerity of New Hampshire for direct credit. These are not treated as transfer credits but instead the grades are calculated into our GPA’s just as if they were earned from a GSC course. In this particular situation not only does the credit and grade from this PSU course count towards my affordable Bachelor degree at GSC but it also satisfies one required elective course in the MBA program at PSU which I am pursuing after graduation. I took a graduate course through PSU in the fall as well. I will graduate from GSC with my Bachelors degree and already have two required graduate courses for my MBA accomplished. This is referred to as double dipping. I get the credit for having taken four courses at the investment cost and time of only two classes!
The course at PSU which I chose to take was “Women as Leaders.” The class met for a long weekend at a charming Inn in Waterville Valley. The class utilized four seasoned educators who possessed incredible synergy with one another. My classmates were a diverse group of strong, accomplished and enthusiastic women who empowered one another through the bonding experience. I gained valuable knowledge, insight and networking contacts from this weekend. I also gained some weight as the owner of the Inn is an accomplished chef who presented us unbelievable meals three times a day! Did I forget to mention that this course included a room and board fee? I had a room to myself and ate better than I ever could have at home.
This was my second experience with the weekend college classes format which includes room and board and incorporates a 24 hour learning experience. I cannot adequately express everything that is gained from such an arrangement. If flexibility and opportunities are what you are looking for, stop right here; you have found them.
Last week I was left shaken by the unexpected death of my step-father. As members of the family gathered in support, we hugged, cried, laughed and talked of new perspectives. Although I have not previously experienced the death of anyone close to me, I certainly expected most of those reactions. What really struck me, however, was how often I heard "I wish I had.........." The regret for actions not taken, for time not spent, is hard to get past.
Certainly we have come away from this initial grieving process with a new perspective on the things in life that matter, and a resolve to spend time really investing in the people we love. It has reinforced the concept that we all know deep down---time marches on quickly, and if we keep putting off 'til tomorrow what could be done today, there is a danger the "right" time may not be available.
It would be ridiculous to equate anything on a "to do" list to the importance of personal relationships, but this focus on regret did get me thinking about regrets in my own life. Although I have had my share of heartache and have made plenty of mistakes, I have said for years that my only true regret (probably because I really could find no good reason for this particular mistake) was in not finishing my University of New Hampshire System degree. I am so glad to be participating now in an Adult College Program through Granite State College that will allow me to finish, to complete my degree--and yes, to alleviate that regret. It feels good to be working toward that goal, so I won't have to "wish I had........"
So, this week I will be looking at all of the people in my life a bit differently, spending time really engaging with them, and with a new found sense of purpose. Let me encourage you to look at what you'd like to accomplish--whether it's with a career, a relationship, or any other life event, and ask yourself "What's really holding me back?" As for me, "hats off!" to Granite State College for making it possible for me to take action, and toward my resolve to look forward with no regret.
Most folks that mention this on talk radio and other media do so with overt disgust and contempt. The cost of higher education is portrayed as an extortion with impunity by unscrupulous professors and bloated administrations. One could even argue that the announcements of astronomical cost to attend the aforementioned institutions and their ilk is to some extent fashionable; certainly, if I were running Brandeis University and neighboring Wllesley College announced that they cost more than $50k, what would it say about Brandeis if we don't cost more than fifty?
Expressions of pity for the parents of high school graduates usually follow, but I feel there are two important points that commentators miss, whether acciedntally or deliberately. First - the very parents for whom they express their spendthrift sympathies are likely to be the ones demanding the state-of-the-art facilities and accommodations that have contributed heavily to the steady rise in these tuition and room-and-board totals. That top-flight schools and even some state schools have sushi bars and world-class fitness centers is demanded by the marketplace, rather than artificially dreamed up and foisted upon the higher education public.
The second point that commentators seem to regularly pass over is that there are still far more ways to obtain an affordable bachelor degree than an inaffordable one. It reminds me of the joke where a guy goes to his doctor and says, "Doctor - it hurts when I do this," and the doctor replies "Well, don't do that." If attending Holy Cross and staying on campus and having a meal plan costs more than you can afford, then don't go there. The idea that if you don't go to Holy Cross or Amherst that you won't get a decent education, or worse, that if you can't afford to send your child to one of those places that you are somehow inadequate or a failure, is stupid at best and destructive at worst.
Maybe this kind of discussion gets my hackles to stand up because I attended a public college myself - not a New Hampshire state university, mind you - but the flagship of a nearby system. I wouldn't trade my undergraduate education and experience for anything, and it would be a shame if folks, whether straight out of high school, or looking for Adult college classes, didn't consider public schools, i.e. Granite State College, which are particularly designed to be affordable, accessible, etc.
Fifty thousand a year? Really? Even when a students comes into my office starting from scratch, we can work out a plan that can finish off the degree for less than $35,000 total.
If that works better for your budget and prevents you from having to take out a second mortgage, drop me an email, and we can talk about that some more.
It was quite the treat this Saturday - I was able to join a field trip with our Enviromental Heritage class in Maine. The course is offered out of our Rochester NH College, but it also includes some time outdoors.
The course is being taught by Dan Gardoqui, and it is safe to say that he is truly a Master-Teacher. As Executive Director of White Pine Programs based in Cape Neddick Maine, Dan supplies a tremendous amount of passion, knowledge and experience in his teaching with Granite State students. He is well-known for field components in his courses - frankly, it is an aspect sought out by students. For adult college students, or students of any age, learning doesn't get any better than being outside, being active, and having a Master like Dan making science accessible.
We started our day atop Mt. Agamenticus, and ended up at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve. It seems clear that potentially abstract notions about conservation, our environment, and public policy, are transformed during class time spent in this manner. As I have written before, the New Hampshire University System through Granite State, offers such a wealth of experienes for students. Be they online classes, weekend college classes, or classes that get students outdoors, it is thrilling to offer such a range of educational experiences.
View from atop Mt. Agamenticus (York, ME):
Inside the Wells National Esturaine Research Reserve (Wells, ME):
Just the other day, Dr. William "Bill" Cuff popped by my office. To say Bill is interesting would be a true understatement. In addition to teaching behavioral science classes here at Granite State College, Bill teaches at UNH, and is also heavily involved with service projects, through groups like Danny's Team.
Bill was chatting with me about his upcoming class this Spring at our Portsmouth NH College - PSY 602, Theories of Personality. The structure of this class exemplifies the Granite State perspective on adult college education: it is a weekend-intensive that takes place over five Saturdays. Yes, Granite State offers affordable Bachelor degree programs, but weekend college classes also work for students with other obligations.
Bill is off to New Orleans and Mississipi next week for more service. As part of this trip he mentioned an opportunity to visit the hometown of Medgar Evers. His eyes were lit-up and intense, and I thought - right, so this is quite a person to have teaching here in our corner of the New Hampshire University System.
So what happened? How did I get here, and what happened to the dream? Well, life happened, bills needed to be paid, and somehow in my "younger years" I got distracted from the goal of finishing my degree. Of course, it hasn't been all drudgery...life can be as fulfilling as we choose to make it, but I found myself wondering just when I gave up on what I wanted for a career.
I find it liberating to be able to still ask myself what I want to do for the next several years, and realize that it's not too late to achieve my goals---namely completing an affordable bachelor degree, and pursuing a career that incorporates writing. That desire to finish what had begun as an idea so many years ago, combined with practical considerations like......life won't "stop" while I am a student....are some of the things which brought me to Granite State College. I love that we are part of the University of New Hampshire System, and that I can enjoy the benefit of studying alongside other adults with complex lives as well. Here I am able to learn, and at the same time still keep up with my life as a mother, wife, and employee.
Not only am I looking forward to the choices that will open up to me once I have my degree in journalism/marketing, but I cannot wait to fill out one of those annoying employment applications and be able to put something down in the degree section. I confess that each time I have to bypass that section on the form I wince. I am 42 years old, and I am really tired of wincing! (Plus, not great for the "crow's feet" lines around my eyes!)
So, that's the rest of my school story...my reasons for finishing. How about you? What do you want to be?
Students currently in the CCSNH come out and see Outreach Coordinators at your respective campuses the first week in February. The University of New Hampshire System is holding Transfer Fairs at each campus. On Friday, February 5th I will be at Great Bay Community College for Rochester NH college and Portsmouth NH college students. Check out www.nhtransfer.net to look at transfer options.
Students currently at York County Community College, I will be visiting your campus on February 10th. Stop by and learn more about taking classes online, night college classes or
teacher training education.
Hope to see you on the road!
I thought I could earn a college degree and the action of applying to Granite State College, intermingled with wonderfully helpful people I met at the college, brought the magic of so many learning experiences. These experiences, in turn, graced me with the power to reach for even higher goals.
As an adult learner enrolling in adult school programs, especially at Granite State College (once known as College for Lifelong Learning), you have a bit of an edge over the traditional college student. You come with more "life experience" which is a huge advantage because college, after all, is more than just book learning - it is life learning and functions as a window into the way the world outside college works. Adult learners of a certain age more than likely have years of workplace experience, not to mention parental experience. They know how to multitask, and have been exposed to a wider variety of social situations. Basically, the older adult learner comes with a bit of a foundation. All that the adult learner needs is a healthy dose of self confidence.
On that foundation, the "magic of the possible" blossoms, opening up unlimited opportunities for life-enriching experiences. At Granite State College where there is considerable latitude regarding independent learning contracts, taking courses from other University of New Hampshire System institutions as well as earning credits for one's life experiences, I found myself enjoying a wide variety of experiences.
Through an independent learning contract, I worked as an intern at NHPR's The Exchange hosted by Laura Knoy, immersing myself in the behind-the-scenes mechanics of how a radio program is crafted. The capstone of this experience was assisting with the production of a segment on children's poet Shel Silverstein, author of Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light In the Attic, who died shortly before my intership ended. My meager contribution to the production of that segment earned me a brief mention at the end of the program. No "A" could match the feeling of accomplishment I experienced listening to that segment of the show.
Through my years of study, the magic continued. The professor of a UNH-M film class I took encouraged me to submit one of my papers, The Simpsons: A Fairy Tale, to DePauw University's undergraduate Honors Conference for consideration. The delight, the thrill of finding the fat acceptance envelope in the mailbox one February afternoon was like nothing like I had felt before.
Attending the DePauw conference introduced me to another world - that of academics from the teacher's side of the educational equation. Mentors were assigned to shepherd us through the weekend's activities. Well known guest speakers - Tony Kushner, author of the play Angels in America and Dr. George Gerbner, professor at the Annenberg School for Communication, lectured. Best of all was meeting like minded students who shared similar hopes and dreams for their futures. As if I needed a sign that I was headed in the right direction, I came upon this street sign while wandering around DePauw's campus -
The magic, apparently, wasn't going to stop.
A woman who walked into the office on the first night of classes this semester smiled at me as she waited for her turn to ask a question. I smiled back as I directed the nice fellow in front of me to the room down the hall. She was a middle aged woman, a little older than me, I guessed. Everything about her said she was practical, and purposeful. Her hair, her glasses. Even the way she had her purse on her shoulder, and the way she carried a notebook in the crook of her elbow and held it tight against her chest. When the young man left the office area she stepped forward and said, rather succinctly, "I'm here to take Adult Education Math classes, could you tell where the Technology Center is?"
I paused momentarily thinking of the room assignments, and I must have had a confused look on my face because the woman began to speak again,
"Oh, I think I made a mistake, I am supposed to be at the Spaulding High School." she said smiling again. Smiling myself, I remember the first time I walked into a University of New Hampshire System college, desperately trying to find my Freshman English class.
"Well, we all have been there," I said to the woman who was still smiling.
" I know exactly what I did; my daughter wanted to look at going here," she laughed. "But my class is at the high school on the third floor."
"You know, I 've done the very same thing...more times than I can count. So once you get done with your class at Spaulding, you can come over to GSC."
"That's my plan. First my daughter, then me," said the smiling woman. As she started to turn toward the door I realized how much I appreciated her at that moment. She told me very little with her words yet enough for me to know her story.
"Wait," I said as I handed her our catalog. "Take this with you. You're gonna need it when you come back."