Thursday, March 12, 2009

one long-winded epiphany

Do you ever have one of those epiphany moments? Where an idea pops into your head and suddenly everything makes sense?

Just to give you some back story, I earned a degree I am barely using. My English classes were stimulating and challenging. I started tutoring and absolutely loved it. I wanted to be an Advanced Placement English teacher like my two favorites in high school. No offense, but my education classes made me feel like I was back in elementary school again. The professors spoke to us like we were three years old. So I dropped the education part of my degree after discovering that I could get a master’s degree and take tests for alternative certification. (And it meant I didn’t have to take Shakespeare class!)

Then, my last semester of college, the English department hired a new professor straight from grad school. She’d come from Rice, one of the most prestigious programs in the region, and had very different methods than the professors who’d earned their doctorates twenty years ago. I didn’t like this side of grad school, this emphasis on literary theory and criticism. While I loved the who, what, where, when, and especially the how aspect of literature, I loathed asking why when these dead authors weren’t around to answer the hidden social, psychological, and contextual implications that motivated their works.

As na├»ve as it sounds, I felt like I was betraying literature, that I appreciated art for art’s sake and didn’t like the direction literary study was heading one bit. And if that made me less intellectual, I didn’t care. It didn’t help matters that the semester before, I experienced what I believed to be a shift in learning style: where I’d always believed myself to be right-brained, I was now exhibiting left-brained tendencies.

And thus, I graduated from college pledged to three academic honor societies and even delivered the commencement address to my classmates and professors: I did everything right, but had no clue what I was going to do with my life or what my degree would amount to.

I went back to school to study science, but only learned one thing. As I sat in the hallway outside the science classrooms, drinking a smoothie I’d exchanged for tutoring a pre-med student on chemistry formulas, I realized I had a gift for teaching, but still felt that somehow I wasn’t called to it full-time. Equations, body parts, formulas, and scientific concepts were only comprehended as I was teaching them to others.

One thing led to another, and I landed a job I loved once I got the hang of it. My degree is beneficial in this line of work because it sharpened my attention to detail and equipped me with discernment and interpretation skills that translate to people, news slants, and story pitches. I love being a book publicist, making clients happy, and knowing this business inside and out.

A few weeks ago, my epiphany happened. In January, one of our close family friends, an 18-year-old boy, collided with a tree after hitting an ice patch skiing, and was comatose for three weeks. After brain swelling, increased brain pressure, and bleeding, he has experienced a miraculous recovery with little neurological implications, yet his promising college football hopes are probably over because he has lost most of the sight in one eye. (We are still praying for this one!)

I had lunch with his mom when she and her son got back from Colorado, where he was staying at one of the top head trauma units in the country. She expressed that one of the first things Colton said when he awakened from his coma was how worried he was about his English grade. He has missed about two months of school, just weeks before his projected high school graduation. Since he goes to a small school, the faculty are working together to develop a program for him as soon as he is ready for school.

No sooner were the words out of her mouth that I immediately volunteered to supplement their help and felt so strongly about it. I’ve been helping my brother a little with his English assignments, and his grade has improved, so why couldn’t I help Colton? His mom expressed her appreciation to me, and I felt so blessed and excited by this prospect.

I am having delusions of grandeur: maybe God intended my college education for this specific reason. But realistically, I know it’s going to be tough, and only God’s intervention will give him the understanding we both need to make this information click. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers over the next few weeks because the second Colton is ready, we will start working on English: writing smooth papers, interpreting literature, improving vocabulary and spelling – whatever he needs the most, I am praying that I can approach him in such a way that not only helps him graduate, but equips him with the knowledge and skill set he needs to achieve at the college level in a few months.

Currently Listening to: Brooke Fraser Pandora station, recommended by Andrea
Currently Watching: Anne Burrell’s “Secrets of a Restaurant Chef” (LOVE HER!)
Currently Reading: (re-reading) Harry Potter 6
Currently Cooking: tomato basil garlic shrimp with white wine orzo and steamed asparagus

1 comment:

  1. cool beans, girlfriend!

    are you liking the bf pandora? or too much colbie on there for you? ;)

    ReplyDelete

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