Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Living The Dream, Part 1

It’s  been 7 days, 3 hours, and 33 minutes since I drove away from Pine Manor College, leaving behind possibly the 11 best days of my professional/writing life…
No longer a student, I had privy to certain things like faculty dinners outside on the back porch of the Ferry building, a stretchy bracelet that held the key to the office, and an extra long clipboard that held important and shall remain nameless documents. Additionally, I spent mornings (instead of in workshop), at Starbucks writing (typing out hand-written notes for this blog mainly) or in the office copying, collating, and assisting in the extinguishing of any “issues”. This “no longer a student” status suited me well. Meg and Tanya were amazing to work for–no micro-managing. They trusted me, and this gave me confidence.  And as the days passed like the kind of dream you long to remain in, I slept fitfully in my new reality.
 The last task I had as a graduate assistant occurred as I stood (awkwardly) in the Moncrief room watching the grads receive their instructions from Meg. Although I was technically “done” (save for a faculty photo), I saw out of the corner of my eye our commencement speaker holding a flash drive. I heard, above the din, “I just need to print this.” Many a last minute request (a bottle of water, an escort to the dining hall, copies for a class) had been made that week. Requests that I don’t know how Meg or Tanya could physically fulfill each and every time they were made. Early on, I realized part of my job as an assistant would be to make sure I was around for such last minute requests. How does one do that when one is running around campus doing a million other things (sitting in on every grad lecture, taking photos, composing this blog)? I don’t know. I just did it–so much (or so well, hopefully) so that Meg and Tanya, throughout the week, said to me You just seem to appear…right when we need you.
So I’m sure it didn’t really surprise Tanya when I “appeared” next to her and Cornelius. “Let me run up to the office and do that,” I said gently, plucking the flash drive from his hands.
It was surreal and awesome to run upstairs right before graduation and print what would be the most inspiring commencement speech I had ever heard. I will admit; I read it while I waited, savoring my last task as GA.  
After my final assignment, when I stood next to the great Laure-Anne Bosselaar to take the faculty photo, it finally hit me that I had crossed over again:
No longer a student and now no longer a staff member.
After the photo and before commencement began, a slow creeping emerging began inside of my body, and as I threaded through the crowd of people to the bathroom, I identified the feeling.
I was waking up.



First night before it all begins. Nerves are frayed (mine). Had dinner at a noisy, wood paneled restaurant while in a lovely foreshadow of the week to come, The Cure, plays. It’s the B sides, songs I haven’t heard since high school. We discuss important matters like why I carry a plastic bag of potatoes in my car.

By the end of the meal, my pre-residency anxiety manifests in a killer stomachache cured only by the tums Meg offers once we arrive back on campus at the office. We visit a soda machine I never knew about as a student. Perks of being on the other side...

The following morning, Thursday. I complete tasks I haven’t done since being a magazine intern in college. Collating and folder-making, schlepping supplies and books. I sweat. I work. It feels good.

The afternoon is spent checking classrooms. T carries an extra long clip board. I eye it enviously. After lunch-on-the-go in containers, T hands me the clip board so I can start the first official responsibility of the GA: Check in students. I hold the clipboard like a newborn. It’s the beginning of a slightly unhealthy bond to an inanimate object…

Later I have dinner with Colleen at Cheesecake…I have a moment where my missing of Kimberly and Kathleen (my buddies when I was a student) is so intense, I have to excuse myself to the bathroom and collect myself. What will it be like without them?

Later, I am a student briefly when I hang in the dorm with Rick, Jacqueline, Colleen, and Seth…The first of what will be MANY pilgrimages to the Met bar…I tell them all, I can’t drink. Gotta work in the a.m…Famous last words.

Stay tuned all this week as I post notes from each day of the residency.  

Don't forget part 1part 2part 3part 4, or part 5.



Lisa Griffith said...

Coming home from that "I've been to the mountaintop" experience is rough! Been there, done that. It's so exhilarating making that transition from student to authority figure and seeing things from the other side. Then, the realities of everyday life return (SSDD), and it takes a while to adjust. But, I remind myself of all those new brain cells I hope I've acquired (is it possible to gain new brain cells at my advanced age? I fervently hope so! Something has to replace the ones that leak out of my ears on a daily basis.)
It makes me happy to read about your joy. Thank you for letting the rest of us live vicariously through you!

Rick Carr said...

I absolutely love your blog!

Joanne Carnevale said...

I echo what Lisa & Rick said. To that I can only add a loud & joyous . . . Sigh!