Beginnings #10: School

Those first days of college are filled with hope, aren’t they? The course catalog thick and heavy in my hands, a tome of endless, limitless knowledge. The classes in those pages could lead me on an infinite number of paths. With a sharp pencil and clean, white sheet of paper I could lay out the next four years of my in neat little boxes. Leaning back in my chair, the pencil now a stub, I knew my future. I needed no soothsayer. A biology lab on Maine wetlands? Sign me up. Geopolitics on environmental activism, a seminar on Joyce (save that for senior year), history of the blues, studies in art and architecture. Sociology, psychology, anthropology. Any more -ologies? No telling what would deeply whet my appetite and entice me into a major. Only later would I learn about the asterisk and that powerful word prerequisite. Only later would I meet professors that had been with the school for twenty years and had a steady gaze that did not falter. Juniors only, they said. Second year standing required. Prereq this, take that first. I was mired in classes that asked little beyond note-taking and a modicum of interesting reading. How did I get here? But let us think back to that first day.

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