Currently taking a break from frantically looking for wherever I misplaced my W-2 to eat chocolate and at least take pride in the fact that I managed to complete the FAFSA I needed for summer classes.
I try to arrive to campus early, to find a seat in the computer lab and print out the one-page paper due every week. This time there was a new printer and it wouldn’t accept my identification and as I stood by the check-in desk waiting for the IT guy to come and figure it out, my professor happened to walk by, see me, and then enter the room just to give me a fist bump and say “Great work, great work so far,” and I am surprised I managed to say anything at all, let alone the appropriate “Thank you!” that came out of me, startled.
Every week I hand in the one-page paper with a distinct dread settling in my stomach, and every week I find that there was nothing to worry about when I receive the last paper, because I received full marks. (Before class I caught J, the married mother in her early 30s who sits next to me, in the lab and we both commiserated the time we put into these papers that we evidently don’t need to be spending on them because based on the essays on the website for “virtual class” last week, no one else is following the directions.) I suspect the paper I handed in last night will be the one to break that streak—it wasn’t as interesting or insightful as the others paper I’ve written—but I tried, I did. I spent three hours agonizing over it before thinking it was okay. And it is okay, but it’s only okay.
In class, I take notes, I listen to everyone, I jot down the ideas that come out of discussion that interest me. I see people on their cellphones, playing with iPads, “taking notes” on their laptops. Last night during class, in between moments discussing the upcoming formal essay (which I am truly worried about, because critical thinking is difficult for me), I realized I was the only one scribbling away into a notebook, while everyone else stared blankly at the whiteboard, and the realizations I know everyone else came to years ago finally came to me: I get out of this class what I put into it. I am learning, if nothing else, how to properly take a class. It’s kind of exciting. I’m trying. I’m trying. I’m trying.