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How do you end your college career? Especially your college career as an English Teaching Major? And more importantly how do you punctuate the end of your English Teaching Major Undergrad Education?

  • I think predominantly, the last semester produced a sort of fizzle effect, a pathetic wheeze into the finish line that is best characterized “grammistically” (made it up, whatcha gonna do about it?) by a “…”
  • At times throughout my college career, and this semester especially there was a lot of indecision and uncertainty, which as we all know looks a lot like this “?” Unless it looks more like this “!?” or even this “!?” when you are having a panic attack about all the choices you have to make (Man, I could really use an interrobang right now).
  • Once I walked out of that last final this morning, all I really wanted to do was click my heels with a giant “!”
  • But even though I am immensely relieved, finally breathing again, proud of myself, enormously grateful for all the support, and tremendously excited for my future, I can’t help but pause and recognize that another one of life’s major milestones has come and gone. And the only real way to punctuate that moment of bittersweet solemnity with a note of resonant finality is one giant .”

I’m done. I’m done with college. 


This is My Cork.

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I wish I could bottle moments, memories. Not like putting them in a Pensieve. This is different. Because if you get to bottle the moment, rather than put it in a shallow basin, you get to give that cork a satisfying yank for the release of the bottle’s content. You get to let the moment you bottled wash over you like a caffeine fix when you open up a Dr. Pepper. You get to put your bottled moment on the shelf, and it looks pretty. I wish I could bottle this moment, so I can have it for always. As a novice writer, and non-bottle beverage drinker, this post will be my cork. 

Very recently, I was having a moment–a different kind of moment, an italicized moment. Not the kind of moment that you bottle up. You’ve had them too, so please don’t judge. Just a moment where Finals week because a grim, impossible reality, and life becomes too insurmountable to do it all. And even if you have a very good track record of pulling it all off in the clutch, in these italicized moments there seems very little possibility of it happening this time. And every time I realize that I can’t possibly do it all, a little bit of self-hatred creeps into my soul.  For the Type A, medium-smart but very driven girl, not being a prodigy has been something that has been very hard for me to cope with. My whole life.

So I stumbled to Jeremy, shame-faced, because I’ve had one or two of these little meltdowns this week (IT’S FINALS, OK?!). And I cried. I just cried because I really don’t think that I can possibly do it all. And even though Jeremy has heard it all before (in the last 24 hours), he didn’t sigh. He didn’t get frustrated. He didn’t tell me “Yes! Yes you can, Sierra.”–which I would have hated during the moment so I am glad he didn’t. 

He said,

“I love you whether you can do it or not. I love you the same if you get a C or an A. I wish you loved yourself that much.”

I heard it, but I didn’t really hear it. “I know, I know you love me. But I just… Why can’t I be a prodigy?”

And Jeremy looked at me. I watched his expression–I watched his eyebrows sink into soul-reading concern. I felt his thumb slip beneath my eyes and snatch my tears. Quietly, ever so quietly, he said, 

“Sierra, don’t you get it? You’re a prodigy to me.” 

So I must cork these words up and keep them close to my heart, not just on my shelf where they look nice. Because for the first time in my life, I felt capable of being what he saw in me.  And for tonight, and for tomorrow, and for whenever I uncork my bottle: It doesn’t matter one hoot if I am a prodigy to Professors Johnson or West. Because I’m not and I will never be. 

But it doesn’t matter. I am a prodigy to him, as he’s always been to me. 

Here’s a Slice of Senioritis

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I legitimately have a list of things to do that is taller than me, and before you insert a short joke here, consider how daunting 5’3″ tall To Do list would look, even if it was written in a big font.

I have A LOT to do. So I scripted my To Do list, which was enjoyably stressful, as always, and I planned on going to the store to start our crock pot dinner, and then start the crock pot dinner and then get started on my 27,000 list of things to do. I was feeling as optimistic as a bright young cherry might if a cherry knew how to feel. I was planning on conquering the world tonight. I saved myself a Dr. Pepper, which I try to only drink now when the world needs conquering.

It looks worse in person, if you’ll believe it.

But you see, I got derailed. First, I had to find out who went home on The Bachelor, and now I think Ben is an idiot. So I had to mourn for a minute about who went home on The Bachelor. And then I thought I should get started on my homework, but instead, I took a nap, watched this Ellen video about fifteen times, got hungry, ate instant soup, tried to start my homework, showed my husband the Ellen clip, took another nap, cuddled with my husband, and then made a Lean Cuisine (which, I don’t even like, and didn’t really eat). This whole procrastination process took six hours. I have become a procrastination expert. 

I am choosing to blame Super-Senioritis, which is what happens to you when you were supposed to graduate a year ago, but then you had to stay even longer, and your brain is so addled that if you ever have to read another poem or critical essay again, you might decide to intentionally run over a trashcan with your car just because you’re horribly fried, and for some reason, that sounds like a good idea, and also use run on sentences because that also sounds like a good idea. That’s what Super-Senioritis does to all your thoughts and sentences that used to be neatly organized inside your brain and out.

I don’t remember having Senioritis this badly before. Certainly not senior year of high school, although admittedly my senior high school teachers were quite obliging; you’d get an A for participation if you said “Bless You” when the teacher sneezed. But in college, I still have 16 grueling credits, all of which would be totally awesome if I had taken them any semester except for this one.

And here’s the thing. My To Do list is still 5’3″ and this blog did little to help (though I think I will count it as a Slice of Life to make myself feel better).  I think it might actually be time to start on my homework.

After I watch that hilarious Ellen video one more time. 

Brace yourselves. It’s world-conquering time.
My poor untouched backpack, casually flung
 and disregarded on the floor


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Say it with me now: Selectric. Se-lec-tric. Say it aloud! Isn’t it a beautiful word? If it wasn’t only the celebrities that named their children after inanimate objects like Apple and Blanket, I might consider naming my firstborn son Selectric.
To me, there has always been something mysteriously romantic about typewriters. After spending an afternoon rifling through my grandfather’s belongings, I emerged the proud inheritor of his 1970’s typewriter. If it didn’t weigh more than me, I would cuddle with it in bed at night. I love it that much.
Which is why I knew instantly that I was going to love Tuesday night British Literature History with Dr. Steven Walker. In order to add the class, Dr. Walker had to give me a special code that allowed me entrance into his class, even though it was technically at max capacity. He told me that I would find an envelope containing the code outside his office door with my name on it.
My name was typewritten on the front of the envelope.
For those of you who don’t understand the significance of this simple gesture, allow me to paint a character sketch of Dr. Walker for you.
He is an old man. I mean this earnestly. He walks in a slightly crooked, jovial sort of gait. Sometimes, when his eyebrows betray any sort of emotion—delight, surprise, dismay, you name it—the wrinkles caused by his eyebrows remain for several minutes long after his eyebrows have said their peace. Yet, Dr. Walker is still as quick as a fiddle. He memorized the entire class roster before ever having met his students. He can still tell you the exact dates that William Blake went to art school. He could probably recite from memory the novel, Great Expectations, from start to finish if you asked him.
Dr. Walker displays all of the wisdom of age with none of the arrogance. With all of his brilliance, he has probably been to the edge of the universe and back. He has written novels, and discourses, and lectures.
And yet, his wrinkly, experienced hands of wisdom humbly took an envelope, wove it through (I imagine) the classiest of IBM Selectrics, and punched out my name on the front of an envelope.