Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Challenge of Change


Omitted Data from Watarrka Sunrise
 Finally, it was returning to the classroom that encouraged me to live a life of my own, that distracted me from concentrating all my attention on an Aussie bloke. Intellectual stimulation as well as a new set of social contacts filled a space once overwhelmed by my jealousy of his busy work life. At the beginning of the new semester, I showed up for my first class in writing, editing, and publishing.

Accepting the offer of The University of Queensland to which I had applied a year previously, I enrolled in a master’s degree program. Energized by this new challenge, I leapt from the teacher's side of the desk, where I had spent the previous forty years, to the student’s side.

The course convener led us to believe that she would be a taskmaster. Her requirements ensured that we pay attention to detail, an expectation worthy of any competent editor. Wouldn’t you know, detail, according to every astrological commentary and personality test I had ever taken was not on my list of accomplishments.

You have no idea; Actually, I had no idea how many details were missed. I arrived in class minus assignments; sometimes I forgot to read my notes from the previous week. E-mail was a new academic tool. When had I ever used the Internet in this way? I had been on the web for over ten years, but I had never submitted an assignment for credit on line. The time had come to pay attention, to follow through.

Suddenly, there were others in the world who were intriguing, whose companionship distracted me from the emptiness of life as a retiree. Returning to the classroom as a graduate student provided an avenue through which I could validate my intellectual resources.