Tag Archives: school

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #212 : Motion…

Photo A Day Challenge: Paper…

This is my mother’s penmanship certificate from 1925 when she was in high school.  It measures 11×18 and is a beautiful work of art in itself.



‘for the attainment of excellence in Rapid Muscular Movement Business Writing…’

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Years later in junior high I got a handwriting certificate.  Much, much smaller, no art work, no seal, no frame, and only a stamped signature by the principal.



Relics from past 🙂


Weekly Challenge: Jubilant…

The prompt this week is julilant.  ‘Jubilant, adjective: showing great joy, satisfaction, or triumph; rejoicing; exultant.’


This is the time of year when high school and college graduates are definitely feeling jubilant.



All Other Variables Held Constant

I’ve wanted to wait for a while before talking about what it’s been like for me to go back to school, just in case things aren’t as nice as they seem at the outset (but to follow that logic, I should hold off at least until the first round of midterms!). Here’s my initial impression:

It feels like I’m in the first weeks of a study abroad program–I find myself itching to explore new parts of campus, chase down new experiences, and take full advantage of all that the university has to offer.

Which is pretty weird, right? Considering that I a) was born and b) grew up in Chapel Hill, then c) spent four years here as an undergraduate and d) the better part of a fifth as a post-baccalaureate in Classics. Exact same town, exact same university, exact same small constellation of friends and family, ceteris paribus–it’s been less than two years!–and yet my experience of the university is drastically different.

I’m older, of course, and changed. I’m in entry-level science lectures instead of graduate-level humanities seminars. I’m paying to go to school (with the ample, but finite, amount my parents saved for me) instead of getting to go for free.

But mainly, I have a clarity of vision and steadfastness of purpose that I’ve never felt before, and I’m thankful for it. All through university, I bore the low-grade anxiety of looking around at all that was offered and possible, worrying that I was missing out, that I’d chosen the wrong things to do, and helplessly faced the fact that I wouldn’t be able to do it all, have it all–that’s the dark side of “you can do anything!”. Now, older, I’m calmer: I know what I want, and I have, in hand, some syllabi that tell me exactly what to do in order to get there. I’m bowled over with gratitude and delight to rediscover whole buildings and departments worth of professors, lecturers,  teaching assistants, learning assistants, labs, online homework, instructional videos, tutorial centers, and office hours–there’s so much pedagogical apparatus built up in the sciences, and it exists for one purpose: to teach! Me! Let’s not even start talking about the university more broadly–all the libraries, the events, the research facilities. I don’t think there is a more noble project.

I’m lucky that this return has been possible at all–by living in Virginia, I’d lost my North Carolina residency, which put the cost of school far out of reach. Reapplying for residency was by no means a sure bet–it would have been a long and miserable wait if I’d been rejected.

Something that goes hand-in-hand with this new self-assuredness, I think, is a sense of anonymity. I’m able to be more comfortable with this radical redefinition in part because I’m in classes with 250 freshmen. I stay in the science buildings, and, as a result, no-one I know sees me–and, while this identity as a scientist, a pre-med student is still fresh and un-crystallized, I’m glad to not be recognized, defined, or pinned down.

It’s so different, this second time around, and I’m glad that it is. Here’s to reawakened possibilities.


It is simply gorgeous outside right now. It’s 8 am and already over 60 degrees. The sun is out, the trees have started to bud (pictures of the magnolia tree next to the balcony when it’s in full bloom, I promise.) I slept with the windows open last night and the apartment was a very comfortable in temperature. Of course, this being Kansas in (near) spring the wind has been howling for about the last 24 hours straight. (At least it wasn’t too snowy and there isn’t too much sand blowing around.) It does make me nervous about putting my seedlings outside to harden off for fear I would come out later to find an upturned tray and all my baby plants carried off to the prairie by the wind. If the wind can blow books off my bookshelf in my bedroom, it can sure make off with some tiny plants. (Guess the wind doesn’t like essays?)

Best of all, I retrieved my bike from storage yesterday. It needed a bit of air in the tires and a little dusting off and it was good as new. (I haven’t even had it a year, so technically, it is new.) The rain is supposed to set in this afternoon, I hear, so I am going to take this morning to go out on my first long ride of the season–a ride I hope morphs into a no big deal morning commute. I am going to hop onto the nature trail around the corner and bike to the Washburn, the local university. I have a meeting there tomorrow with the journalism school, which probably means I’ll be going back to school in the fall for a second undergrad degree. Anyhow, I see no reason why I shouldn’t bike there in good weather, it’s only a couple of miles if I take the Shunga (nature trail for non-locals). And I can get a lot of practice over the summer, because Flying Monkey is right across the street, and that’s the only place I’ve done any substantial writing lately.

The onset of spring has me feeling even more optimistic than normal.

Now, to plow through my to-do list so I can get out on that bike!

Enjoy oggling my two newest yarns just for fun

Self-striping sock yarn in Earth and Air.