So, why the hell do I feel like I still don’t know crap when it comes to putting pen to paper?
A week away from participating in UHV’s Fall 2018 commencement ceremonies in Katy, my final grades finally came trickling in sometime this weekend.
It’s official: I got a perfect 4.00 GPA for every hour taken during my current run at graduate school. All thirty-six hours taken since Jan. 1, 2016, the complete courseload for said degree program, all new courses because the school refused to accept any of my old ones, which included eighteen total graduate hours taken in the mid-1990s.
They apparently don’t count. Still didn’t know Geoffrey Chaucer was still producing new material. Or Lord Byron. Owen Wister…
Nor does it account for the many countless hours spent in business, livestock and ag management courses. Trade courses. Continuing education classes. Not one of the 15 years straight of top journalism awards in every market I’ve ever worked in. No one seems to care in the least, either, that some cantankerous old coot basically feeling his way through the literary markets, blind and totally on his own, somehow managed to land 18 total publications this year, all while holding down a job, taking night school trade classes, launching his own website and building a social media following of several thousand people.
I’d love to see any of them who did the same this year.
No, all those have expiration dates, apparently. I aced those, too, mind you. But why should things start getting simple now? I wouldn’t know what to do if they everything simply fell into place as it should.
I couldn’t even get the proper designation assigned to a class I took labeled “selected topics in literary history,” which somehow got coded “mid-20th century English poets” in spite of that class clearly designating the course focus as “writers,” not simply poets, and far more American writers than from the British Isles. We studied poets, novelists, essayists and playwrights, but as my dean informed me, rather than him changing one word (poets to writers) and adding us Yankee Doodles to the Yankee Doodle lineup of writers.
The dean’s response? “I can’t got around changing class names just because our teachers put their own spin on a class and strayed from the intended subject… Of a class called ‘selected topics,’ mind you.
Still, I am now officially graduated, a master of the fine art of creative writing. The fact that I put in just 54 semester hours toward 36-hour program sue make me feel privileged or something, I guess. Even though I’m likely even less qualified to teach the classes I taught for two years already at the nearby junior college than I was six months ago. The departmental hiring practices strictly prohibit the consideration of MFA degree holders in their positions, I was told last spring. Wouldn’t want poets trying to paddle their way though the finer points of essay writing for the first time, after all, (because everybody knows poets couldn’t write a complete sentence if you paid them, much less prepare those same students to write their own. Sorry, we know you did an exemplary job teaching these courses now. We know your transcripts tell us that you did a lot ore than sit around crafting bad song lyrics for five years, but so sorry, you have the wrong degree.
If someone should look to those transcripts to see what you’ve taken, like they do with any teacher who ever lived, just hang on to a copy of the course syllabus for the rest of your life. That way you’ll have proof of what you did study as proof. We can’t go changing permanent records though (even if we did get them wrong ourselves somehow.
What fun, what fun. This academia thing should be an interesting ol’ ride…
No wonder so many pictures of my parents congratulating me at crowning moments like the one shown above tend to look exactly like this one. They pay good money. Not hard to disappoint when the bar gets set so many damn bats are kept.