Sunday, May 14, 2017

To my dear, sweet Mother on Mother's Day:

I am so grateful for the countless ways you have supported me, Mom. Your encouragement means more to me than I can possibly convey. I love you. Thank you for everything.

Actual mileage may vary.

Today is my first full day as a college graduate. :)

Earning my degree took longer than I expected when I buckled down to finish about 2012, but I also knew that road bumps were a possibility. Road bumps happened. The important thing is that the journey that technically started in August 1987 has officially concluded successfully. 

I have not blogged about same, but the third semester of nursing school, I hit a snag from which recovery was impossible. I knew nursing school would be tough, but I didn't see the fatal blow coming. I'll never forget the saccharine in the voice of the teacher who dealt the blow. I was stunned at such casual cruelty. But sometimes, you have to Roomba that shit, back up, and take another tack. After that hideous exchange on that day, I walked to the English department on campus. Truly, I was reeling, but I needed to get a backup in place, and to do so quickly. That moment was when the story turned to gold and the sailing smoothed out tremendously.

One vital element to my success in my new path of study was the kind stewardship of an incredible advisor/mentor on faculty. A chance discussion on Shakespeare with another professor in November '15 resulted in me delivering a lecture to his class on a particular film adaptation of one of Shakespeare's plays. Another esteemed faculty member came to sit in on that lecture in April last year. No pressure, right? Well, actually, I was quite comfortable and excited, because I knew my subject. The Shakespeare professor has asked me to deliver the lecture I prepared for his Shakespeare class in the coming Fall. The topic of that lecture is the plinth on which my Master's thesis will be built. Funny how things work out, innit?

I have accepted an Assistantship in the English department of my university, and for two semesters beginning in Fall 2018, I will be Teacher of Record for two classes. I will have first crack at crafting a syllabus with continuity that will help incoming freshmen adjust to reading and writing at university level. I plan to craft a syllabus of material that will be easily affordable and one that I hope will be engaging to readers. I will try to find copyright free works of short fiction that students can read free online. The first piece I definitely want to use is An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce. Books that must be purchased will be ones that are available for $4 or $5 and free shipping at eBay or Amazon, or free on Kindle. Student assistants often do not pass muster with their syllabi, so that is why I am not waiting until a year from now to craft mine: mine will likely be fully formed by the end of this year. I will be most deliberate with my choice of literature.

After I receive my MA, I will be qualified to teach at Junior College or Community college level, and that will suit me well. Meanwhile, I have many irons in the fire. I have several streams of creative activities, and this summer will be pivotal for cleaning my house and organizing, and launching into a different mode.

My parents came to town for my graduation ceremony, and that means so much to me. Their support and belief in me has been steadfast, and I truly would not have crossed the finish line without their help in so many ways.

I also owe a debt of thanks to my sweetheart for his unwavering belief in me. When I had to turn on a dime, he was right there to encourage me in that new direction.

I am so relieved to have finished this degree. While I would not have chosen the bitter lessons, the rest were all the more sweet. Thanks to all my friends and family for the support and encouragement. I promise not to take 29.75 years to complete the next degree.