As I plow my way through boxes, file cabinet drawers, and closets I am dancing down memory lane. I first met Professor Anderson when I was thirty-six.
But I need to go back in time and set the stage. My twenties were a blur of diapers, laundry, cooking, medical challenges, several moves, and all the emotions of marriage and raising three young children. My husband and I were busy.
By the time I reached thirty I experienced feelings of being left behind. I hadn’t finished college and did not have a clear goal to do so. I began taking evening classes at the local JC and a new world started to open up for me.
Although we are close in age, my sisters followed more linear paths. By the time I was thirty-six, Sister #1 had a bachelor degree and teaching credential. She worked, was raising two children, and may have been studying for her master’s degree. Sister #2 had a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and she worked in the field of social work and was clocking in hours for her license. My sisters, women achievers who have influenced my life, inspired me. But my journey, a zig-zag and spiraling path, had been different from theirs.
Then I met Professor Anderson and discovered art history. Wow, my mind was on fire absorbing the visual information like a sponge. I followed up on just about every suggestion Dr. Anderson gave to “find out more”: A magazine article, a book, a movie, a museum. I couldn’t get enough. Maybe this is what passion (or addiction) is all about. She taught two art survey courses, Art 25 (Ancient to Gothic) and Art 26 (Renaissance to Modern), and an Art Tours travel class. I took all three. This interactive learning style opened up doors in my mind that I had never experienced before. In fact, as a student I had struggled in the past with a critical self-image that only saw average ability.
Then, Professor Anderson surprised me by inviting me to take an Honors Humanities class that she was to team teach with another teacher. HONORS by Invitation Only, I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t an honors student, BUT she invited me. She believed in me! SHE BELIEVED IN ME!
Well, I went on to take the Honors Humanities A and B courses with Dr. Anderson and took other courses in the Honors program. I was forty-one when I finally received my AA Degree from the junior college and my diploma has a gold seal on it for the extra Honors work I did. During those years I earned self-respect. I discovered self-motivation and how to make the most of my differences. I learned to give myself a chance in the academic arena and I made education a hands-on learning experience which allowed me to thrive. I have no regrets. College opened my mind and spirit and creative self to higher possibilities.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed
by the things that you didn’t do than by the one’s you did do…
Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain