I sat in the library at Jones County Junior College awaiting a counselor to set a class schedule. To kill time, I took out the twenty-six year old college transcript from The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.
The coffee became very heavy as an empty gut wrenched, knotted, twisted, and turned; my face flushed. It's 2013: the year of no excuses. Yet, looking at semester after semester of poor academic performances, excuses were the only things coming to mind.
To say I was sheltered as the youngest of five children and the only daughter would be an understatement of epic proportion. I was. Those years made the caring, sharing, loving person the writes before you. It also, once high school graduation commenced and ended, gave me the feeling that much had been missed -- and I was determined to learn what that was.
I enrolled in college and late-night (or rather, early morning) life where much consumption of beverages of the alcoholic sort and socializing were the norm. Eight o'clock classes were seldom met and certainly not the boring ones. I'd graduated sixth out of a class of 63 in high school. Chemistry 101 was held in an auditorium with 250+ students. Why go? I wouldn't be missed.
Daddy and I had began butting heads continuously after the first grades came in. He began to hinder party mobility by not allowing use of the family car. I viewed his restrictions as a way to bridle a new, free spirit; to suppress ideology not in accord with his own... I didn't like him very much at all.
Kicking and screaming, I returned to boring Greene County to teach piano lessons and help work the farm. Daddy and I came to a sort of cease fire of hostilities and worked shoulder to shoulder under a hot March sun laying corn by and staking tomatoes in a splendid early garden one fine Saturday.
He died of a heart attack in his sleep that night.
You'd think I would have buckled down harder than ever, returning to college, to attend class, study, and make him proud of me.
Thrown, nay, hurled into a sorrow and depression not understood, roll playing games, committing the entire dialogue from Rocky Horror Picture Show, and drinking as much apple schnapps and beer as possible became a life for which thought was unnecessary.
Am I making excuses? Not at all. I'm letting y'all know I was ignorant of the blessings of my youth. Gratitude for an incredible environment of loving, living, and learning meant nothing. Denial and self-indulgence were once a way of life for this (now) middle-aged Southern gurl. I'm reminded that "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more."
I'm fessing up to a couple of years of hard living (some college friends are amazed to find me still alive). I'm not proud of them, but they, also, have shaped a person more determined than ever to use a talented mind to do something.
I have no clue what the last word of the graphic is supposed to be.
You'll have to ask Dr. Williams.
There are no excuses. It is what it is; or what it was, a feeble dismissal of events and a weak excuse in itself. A past was exposed today. And the truth has set me free. I'm a Bobcat now. Just ask Dr. Williams...
Watch out, folks. I'm running with knives. Stick around and
learn with me!
Thank you, Dr. Williams, for taking on this non-traditional student with scheduling; for listening; for knowing; for leading Jones County Junior College in the state and nation with non-traditional student services. Your encouragement and patience were invaluable in keeping emotions from running high and helping to keep an addled mind focused. I can't thank you enough and look forward, not only to your tutelage, but friendship as well.