College on a Magic School Bus

For the past seven years returning to college has been anything but easy for me. Every quarter there is at least one new challenge––not including the class work––especially when you’re a senior citizen with a septuagenarian brain, like me. Well, Wednesday Western Washington University’s fall quarter began and was certainly no exception.

To make it even more knotty, last night I watched Dancing with the Stars, then wrote and researched on the computer, then read a book instead of going to bed early. When the alarm went off next morning I was stuporous. I wanted only to go back to sleep.

Instead, I brewed a strong cup of Bellingham’s own “Wakey Wakey” tea then tried to turn on my computer to see if there were any relevant school messages. But my wireless mouse was near death’s door, (poor thing), so I gave it two double AAs (batteries, not Aspirin) and logged in. The clock was ticking and by the time I finished checking my email (no urgent messages) and my bank account (no more money in it than the day before), it was 8 a.m. I was running late. Zilla needed to be fed and walked. I needed to be fed, hop in my Magic School Bus and make the half-hour drive to campus.

Naturally, when I tried to shut down my computer it wouldn’t turn off. I resorted to “force quit,” (sounds so violent) and the screen turned black JUST as I remembered I was supposed to check my wait list status on WEB4U to see if I’d actually made it into the class I was planning to attend in an hour––Editing and Publishing.

I re-booted the computer and couldn’t log in. Now my password wasn’t working.

What next, I thought? These little snafus were getting to me. I could call the student help desk but I was seriously late so I quickly fed and walked Zilla, made myself a protein shake and together the shake and I hopped into my Magic School Bus. I could drink it on the way.

My plan, if you could call it that, was to quickly stop by registration and check to see if I’d made it into the class. I stopped… I didn’t.

I was still wait listed, so I went to the classroom and “showed up,” as the professor had earlier advised.

The classroom––in the basement of a cement building–––was a small, windowless bunker, (great for possible nuclear events), with three rows of desks, a roll-up movie screen and a whiteboard. Every chair was occupied, but one very polite, younger, (of course) male student gave me his chair. I sat down.

The course description said the class was open to 20 students only on a priority scale as follows: declared Creative Writing majors (I wasn’t one), declared English Department majors (I wasn’t one), seniors (I wasn’t one), and juniors. (I was one).

I spoke to the professor, and her worrying comment was that at least 10 others were wait-listed, (totally discouraging). People were still walking in the door and taking seats on the floor. The professor called roll and 20 enrolled students answered. Then she called wait list names, and every wait list student was present, too. At this point the professor explained she would be teaching the class next spring, and suggested it might be easier to get in then. (Because of the economy and so many people out of work, this is a phenomenon in almost every community college and university today as people return to college to “re-career.”)

I was sick with apprehension.

The professor studied the list and appeared to make some calculations. Absolutely certain I wouldn’t make it, I was trying to steel myself so I could “graciously” handle not getting in the class. She called one girl’s name and told her she was in. Then she looked at me and said quickly “Carol, I’ll put you in, too.”

I almost fell off my chair. I was so happy I wanted to jump up and down (I waited until I got home to do that.) Whew! Another challenge overcome.

The moral of the story? Sometimes all you need to do is show up and the universe takes care of the rest, because you never know what will happen when you’re on a Magic School Bus.

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5 thoughts on “College on a Magic School Bus

  1. It is so entertaining to read your stories. Usually all these little details just fade away as we run through our day, tackling each challenge. But remembering them,collecting them, and presenting them for us to enjoy lets us experience your emotions with you. Knowing you and watching you overcome your daily speed bumps keeps me going. You are an inspiration through all your knowledge, experiences, perseverance and dedication. You go, Carol.
    Kim

  2. Really enjoy your blog. I can relate to everything you write about. How about something about how great your high school class is and how much we still enjoy each others company?

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