Poem Portal #36: Higher Education

B&C LOGO (teal-purple)In the summer between my high school graduation and my first year at UNBC, I was working on my Alternate Animorph Ending, making mixed music cassettes, expanding my book collection and going on long walks to my favourite bookstore/café (Books & Company) to write. I remember thinking I would have to get every project of real importance done before September: my life as I knew it was about to be over. But my first attempt at novel writing was not quite finished by the time classes started. My head was full of my Animorph Ending, and my first all-original series “Drescopata” was starting to creep up in its wake. I knew writing novels was far from over, but I pretended I could juggle. I took notes mechanically, and reassured myself I’d catch up on comprehension closer to exams. The only class that managed to get my undivided attention was Children’s Literature. Assigned reading was about a dozen children’s novels — only two of which I hadn’t already read (“A Royal Ransom” and “A Cricket in Times Square”). The most major assignment was a choice between writing an essay or a children’s story (why anyone chose essay is beyond me). I think I could have juggled four classes like that, no problem. But of course, my other three were math, anthropology, and introductory teaching. daydream AnimorphI never knew until then that I could be so disconnected from what I had to learn. I had never excelled at math or science, but I’d always kept up with every required course in high school. Keeping up was supposed to be second nature, but now, I felt lost and very intimidated by everyone else’s concentration. I found I also lacked the will power to seek help or try harder. I used to sit with a history major in the same study corner. We’d chatted enough to know she was a dedicated textbook reader and I a distracted fiction writer. Once I sat with her for about five minutes staring at a math worksheet; then I put it away and pulled out my laptop. She smirked at me and said, “you didn’t last long.” And I didn’t. I dropped out of university, and enjoyed my starving artist lifestyle until years later when I discovered ECE. During the months I tried university, I naturally wrote a poem to angst about it:

I have a brain, but it’s not quite the same as what everyone here seems to have.

They’ll study for hours, but I can’t keep pace; I hate it when life is a race.

Sixteen years old, you don’t know how to drive

You’re coffee and cappa deprived

Now you’re eighteen and it’s no wonder you

Want to live like there’s nothing to do.

Let go of the past; childhood’s been abolished

Get back to life when you’re standard and polished

You’ll read, write and highlight ’til you get it done

Only lazy bad slackers have fun.

I’ve always been one who would much rather stay

Smelling the roses until they rot and decay

Than plowing through fields, just the end in sight

Letting every sweet sidetrack pass by in the night

By jcmlott