Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Back to the Future

I was sitting in one of those stereotypical college counselor-type offices, amidst outdated technology, a telephone that was probably the newest thing after they figured out how to make button phones instead of rotary phones, books from floor to ceiling and photographs of -- presumably -- a man's wife, who, in one photo, wore an actual bonnet. Like Little Bo Beep.

"You put it off until the last minute, hoping it would go away," the counselor remarked about the math class I will be signing up for. "My brother used to eat his peas last, hoping an earthquake or something would come along and he wouldn't have to eat them."

I just laughed. I have put this math class off for about 5 years. The amount of time it has actually been escapes me. I don't remember what year it was when I was supposed to have graduated. I just remember graduating and then thinking I was finished. I moved away to start my new job and new life and then got a nasty-gram from San Jose State in the mail letting me know I wasn't finished, after all. For a while, I was content to be one of those people who has one class left to complete before they receive their degree. One of those people who other people shake their heads in disbelief at. There are people I know who never had the opportunity to go to college because something happened. Life intervened. Children arrived, who knows what. They don't understand me, either.

But here is what I was thinking.

I went to that bloody college for so long and they won't give me my lousy degree? That esteemed institution doesn't think a C-minus in Statistics is good enough for a Journalism major with a minor in Poli Sci? Well they can sit and spin. I'll be damned if I give that godforsaken place another dime so that I can wither in some 1960s era classroom under fluorescent lights while some math prick drones on about quadratic equations and my soul eats itself alive. Yeah, I was a little pissed.

And then something happened. Several school-free years flashed by. My crappy memories of college faded into the background and the better ones rose to the surface. One day, a friend of mine was turned down for a job because she doesn't have a degree. So, I begrudgingly emailed my old counselor at State. She still works there but has been promoted. I was told I still need to take a math class. I found one at San Jose City that qualifies, although it's a bit much, with its lengthy title, something about trigonometry, calculus and algebra. The process of registering for the class ended up being absurdly more easy than I remember it ever being at State, probably fate's way of telling me The Time Has Come To Finish This Shit.

So for about a month this summer, starting Monday, I will be in class four nights a week, for three hours at a time, learning math. I hereby promise to try to not let the jungle drums get to me when the math prick who's droning on in front of the classroom starts talking about stuff I don't get. I promise to try not to be a bitch to my husband when I'm angry that instead of watching "The Bachelorette," I'm learning about isosceles triangles for the 40th time. I promise to try to finally, actually graduate. And if that happens, I promise that there will be a party. Oh yes. There will be. A. Party.


  1. Statistics was my downfall, too. I had to take it twice and took it at a community college in Redding. I, too, took it over summer and found that teachers are more forgiving and more laid back. I can't wait to see you graduate. I missed it the first time around. :)

  2. I find it funny that you conveniently forgot to tell me that a friend of yours actually didn't get a job because there was no degree. You just didn't want more encouragement to finish. I just hope the years of hounding had some positive effect on you.