Tuesday, January 5, 2016

If You Can't Be A Good Example, Might As Well Serve As A Terrible Warning!

I went back to school today. Yep. This 57 year old gal is a college coed again. Wheee!

Many of you celebrated with me when after 30 years as a professional broadcast journalist, and several more years as an author and speaker,I headed back to the classroom a few years ago and earned my A.A. degree from Pensacola State College. (See: Taking A Walk.) You read this blog, The Someday Shelf,  where I described how I left college when I landed my first television reporting job (TV news was a lot more fun than algebra!) telling myself that I would go back to school “someday.” When that “someday” came, you laughed with me as I chronicled my comical journey through those hateful math classes, where I discovered that I like my x’s and y’s in sentences instead of equations! (See: Ode to Archimedes) I graduated in May 2012,  determined to march onward my B.A.

But once again, life got in the way.

Recently, life got out of the way. And today, I landed in a student parking lot at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, FL. My major: Communication Arts. My minor: Creative Writing. Go figure, right?

This term I will be taught how to write critical reviews (of books, music, art, restaurants, plays, etc.) I will study rhetorical criticism and conflict management. I will also tackle a writing style that’s new to me… fiction writing. Right out of the gate, the class was assigned the task of writing the worst story each of us could write.


I thought it was all about writing the best story you could write. But, I followed instructions. My opening lines? “Sometimes you don’t know where to start. So, you don’t.” The instructor liked it. I’m wondering…

...is that a good thing?

All of that to say this. After one of my classes, a young woman came up to me and told me she was impressed with what I had to say in my classroom participation. “Are you a teacher?” she asked. I wanted to say “yes.” In my speaking and consulting business, I teach people all day every day about one thing or another. I’ve taught reporters how to report, producers how to produce, managers how to manage. But, I knew what she was really asking, so I told her “no.” Then, I told her my story and encouraged her to STAY IN SCHOOL and get her degree! She hugged me and told me I’m a good example. Maybe. Then again, maybe I’m that ‘terrible warning.’  

You know, the one about letting life get in the way,

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