The Graduate and Captain Jack

Well, it turns out there IS light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Last week I went to the UT Advising Office, or what is officially known as The Student Success Center, to get help choosing my classes for the fall semester. See, I am that person who will think they are graduating in a few weeks and then find I am blocked from ordering my cap and gown and formal announcements with pre-printed gold embossed envelopes, and graduation photo session and college ring upgraded with my birthstone, because I never took the one hour Freshman Seminar on how to log on to the school computers. So, I don't make a MOVE without checking with these people first.

Anyway, I get called back to  the inner sanctum and sit across the desk from Heather who is younger than my youngest daughter and who I believe may be wearing slippers. And she pulls up my file on the computer as I start telling her that I am taking the Writing and Research class and Chemistry for Society and I notice she is frowning. Then she says, "Well, you don't need to take this, or this or this. I'm not sure why this is even on here...Oh, I see, the person who did your schedule was new."

Oh. No problem. I am happy to let children learn to hone their craft at the rate of 1000$ per credit hour. Take all the time you need. You'll get it right next time!

Bottom line? I graduate next May.

There was one caveat however.  Heather suggested, "You may want to make an appointment with the Department Chair, Dr. Prescott (name changed to protect the innocent) and make sure that he will accept all these transfer credits. Just to be safe."

And that is a credo I live by, whether it is buying the next bigger size of leggings or two pints of Ben and Jerry's instead of one, because they are so tiny— you know,  just to be safe.

Still, I am a little bit nervous. Me? Meeting with THE DEPARTMENT CHAIR? I'm picturing an elderly gent,  part Earnest Hemingway and part Michael Caine right down to that off-putting accent. And a Dr.? And I imagine having a meeting with him is like being granted a session with the Wizard of Oz, as he sits towering above me telling me in a booming voice, "NO. I CANNOT ACCEPT YOUR AEROBICS DANCE CREDIT FROM 1978!"

But remembering I don't have a moment to waste, that I have already come really late to this party, I email the formidable Dr. Prescott and tell him of my plight. He emails me back, and says he has office hours on Monday, but not THIS particular Monday. He had to cancel his office hours today. And I'm thinking, poor old guy, he probably has a doctor's appointment to have have his heart meds adjusted or maybe he is recuperating from a mini-stroke and is trying to hold on just a few more months til he can retire with full benefits after serving this fine institution for many years. We make an appointment for the following Monday and I hope he will be feeling better so that I can get this stuff done.

Monday, after a long day of classes and my first power point presentation ever, about Jewish Death and the Afterlife, where 14 young fresh faces, all in various stages of REM sleep gave me the very helpful feedback of,  "HUH?," I made my way to Dr. Prescott. And I had a speech all ready for him, something a long the lines of, "It has been such a long road for me to get here and I am so thankful for the opportunity to graduate from such a prestigious college. I appreciate you taking time to help me reach this goal." I said it over to myself a few times as I climbed the four flights to the English Office where Dr. Prescott resides.

I tell LeeLee the receptionist that I am here to see Dr. Prescott and she walks me back to a huge office inside the turret of this old historical building. And she announces me to a man who is NOT Ernest Hemingway and Michael Caine, but more like Gaston and Prince Valiant. He is that guy on the cover of those ridiculous romance novels. He is a clean Captain Jack Sparrow. And if he is even 35, I'd be shocked.

"Hi Amy!" he says, white teeth gleaming. "Come take a seat." I shuffle to his desk, knowing that my backpack is pulling my sleeve down and that my back-fat minimizer bra strap is showing. As I sit down, he asks, "Now, what can I do for you?"

I try to remember the speech I had rehearsed but all that came out was, "Hi. I'm in college. I go here. To college."

"Yes, I know" he says. "Let's pull up your file."

And as he is looking through my years of sporadic classroom activity I am looking at the cool bike he obviously uses to get to his job as Chair of the English Dept and looking for photos of wife and kids.
After a few questions like, "Do you remember what this class was about?" and me saying, "No, it was like 32 years ago," he finally said, "Okay, well I think you're good."

In other words, stop taking up valuable space that young people with bright futures need.

I almost thought he would take a degree out of his drawer and sign it and say "Here you go! Here's your degree. Now be on your way."

As I got up to leave he said, "Feel free to email my anytime with questions, but stay on this course and you will graduate next May!" Of course, he was totally into me. Feel free ANY TIME? To email him with questions?

Kidding. Even in my post-menopause fog I am not that delusional.

So, there is no moral to this blog, no wise final words to leave you with. Just let me say this, I knew that Aerobics Class would come in handy one day.


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