This morning started out like most. I did the wake up and stretch thing, the hustle my people out of bed thing, and the morning commute thing. That’s where the similarities to every other Tuesday ended.
After the High School drop off, I exited and went east toward UNO instead of west toward my house. I made a pit-stop at the Starbucks and treated myself to a medium, hot vanilla latte with some pumps of raspberry flavoring. I sat at the counter looking one more time over the list of classes I am considering enrolling for in the fall. I cut and pasted details about class meeting times and instructors into my notes and wondered if I had somehow missed something in my search. No matter, I was sure if I had missed something it would be revealed at my 9AM meeting with the director of my MFA program.
Arriving on campus there was an obvious lull in activities as most of the lots had opened spots. I’ve rarely had to visit the campus, but at the times that I have, the parking is almost always bonkers. Don’t even get me started on what it’s like to hunt for visitor spots. Due to the fact that I don’t have classes in-person, I’ve never gotten a student parking pass. I’ve also not taken the time to get a student ID. Both of those things are going to change soon. I’m excited to take a class or two that is not “remote”. My meeting was to discuss what my options are based on what is being offered this fall. It was a great meeting.
Three revelations I had by the time I was headed through the fresh cut grass and mature trees and brick buildings back to my car…
1.) The UNO campus is just gorgeous and it felt great just to be alive, the sun shining down on me – a whole world of bright possibilities on the path ahead.
2.) The saying of “you don’t know what you don’t know” is true. I had missed something because I just didn’t know what to search for in the course catalog (now I have even more options to pick from).
3.) I am so totally not qualified to be in this masters program.
Melting this down a little, the lines from one color blur into the others.
My whole life I have not known what I did not know. That second revelation is cross applicable to just about EVERYTHING. Just think about it – you have no idea what your favorite food might be because it could be something you haven’t even tried yet. Think about the first time you had sushi and then for the next 52 weeks of your life you want sushi like all the time and seek it out, at lunch buffets, Chinese restaurants, and even the local grocery store. How could it be that you lived the first 35 years of your life without ever having sushi?! It seems ridiculous and of course you feel cheated. You are mad about missing out on so much, but still, you are equally happy because now you and Sushi can live out the rest of your days together in bliss. ❤️ Sushi!
Then one day you have seared salmon with ginger flake salt and it’s like “OMG, here we go again!”. You can’t ever stop trying new things because you don’t know what you don’t know. You know?
I’ve been walking around my whole life just ordering the same things from all life’s menus. I chose this and that because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do, or to please someone else, or because I just didn’t know any better. Now I know better and I’m ready to chose different things and I am most certainly ready to ask life for more. I’ve been a student at several post secondary schools.. Iowa Western, UNLV, UNO, Metro CC, Bellevue. I’ve walked those campuses many times but most of the time it was a hurried walk from the parking lot to the building with the classroom in it. I had to hurry because I was always pressed for time.
It was parking lot to building, building to parking lot, class after class and what was I after really? It was an associates degree in programming so I could get a good job. It was a bachelor of science degree so I could get a better salary at my job. It was never to just enjoy being a student or for enjoyment of the subject and it was most certainly never because I just wanted to walk on the campus, breathing in the bright sun and marveling at the beauty of life around me. Nope, that was never on the syllabus or agenda or a requirement of graduation. Somehow I feel like it is now, and that’s a magical development.
What I have In front of me now is a list of possibilities, both figuratively and literally. During the meeting Kevin looked across the table said “You don’t have to decide right now. Go home and take a walk and think about it”.
Wow. That’s the best suggestion I’ve ever had someone give me.. ever. Take a walk and think about it. It’s so simple and pure brilliance. That’s not an exaggeration.
What does me not being qualified (#3) have to do with anything? Well, first, let me explain why I feel I am not qualified. I have had a total of two “English” classes on my undergrad transcript. English comp 1 and english comp 2. That’s 6 credit hours and it means that I haven’t gotten the first clue about poetry or literature or the influence of culture and historical events and on the development of language or evolution of different discourses of the written (or spoken) word. I mean, I have a little clue now because I’m half way through my masters, but I still feel I’ve missed so much.
Now I have like 1 left to get everything I can from this MFA program. With so many possibilities, it’s just not enough time. Still – I am not just going to rush back and forth from my car to the building never stopping to look around me or ordering something new from the menu. I ❤️ sushi, but I’ve never been to Dubai or Iceland or Alaska or The Grand Canyon.
But is anyone ever really qualified. I’m a student of life, first and foremost and have the qualifications for that – I’m alive. I’m certainly qualified to study anything I want, including literature and poetry and the sun and the moon. I just want to learn some more I guess and now I can.
I suppose this is enough rambling for one Tuesday. Seems like a good time for a walk. Wouldn’t you agree?