The Misadventures of BPG: Non Traditional College Student #4

   My first week back to school from Christmas break: I've been SO pumped to get back to school. The scheduling. The classes. Pencils, paper, heavy books, and new reading material. Deep breath through the nostrils.....aaaaaand let it out. Yes. College has become my drug of choice. My cocaine, if you will. I'm kind of in love with it.
   After my first semester back this past fall, I not only conquered my 12 year fear of college, but I conquered 18 year old toddlers, made some friends, and made the Dean's List. It was a great start to my new journey.
   This semester, I signed up for 5 classes; count them: Algebra (finally), English 1102, aka: Literature (porn, for lack of a better word, for an English nerd), Communications (speech class...hide me), Theatre Appreciation (RIP Troy Beasley), and Music Appreciation (why in hades did I do that one?). When I tell people I have 5 classes, their mouths gape in horror. However, it's not a heavy load. My classes are all on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; I have Monday and Friday free and I even get a lunch break between classes. It's kind of the ultimate schedule. I still have no idea how I scored this awesome schedule.
   I arrived my first morning of school to my first class: Communications. For those who know me, thank you for your prayers. My hands are already clammy and I dizzy at the thought of standing in front of people to, EEK, talk to them. For those of you who don't know me, this is how giving a speech works for me: it doesn't. I cannot, for the life of me, speak in public. It's beyond impossible. I shake. I forget things. I tend to be too descriptive, which works out very well when writing, but not when speaking. I, therefore, lose my train of thought and stand before the audience of my peers, or 12 angry men--however you want to look at it--and inevitably ask them, "What was I saying?" Then I stand, petrified and dumbstruck, like a deer caught in an angry SUV's headlights, just waiting to be struck by a chrome bumper on Dawnville Road. Oh, the humanity. However, according to my classmates and my amazingly hilarious teacher, Mr. Drye (pronounced the opposite of wet), I will be fine. The class is to help me become comfortable with public speaking, teach me how to give a speech, and help me overcome that pesky chrome bumper in the night.
   It's funny how I can sing in front of thousands, I can write all day long, and I can tell funny stories to a group of people, but I can't seem to speak to them. Apparently, to me at least, there is a big difference. Mr. Drye on the other hand, is one hysterical human being. He is currently acquiring his PhD in humor; it's something to do with coupling humor and teaching which somehow engages students more than normal teaching methods, thus allowing their brains to retain more of what they're taught. I have to agree; with my short term memory block from the MS, it's hard for me to remember small but very important details. However, being a stand up comedian, Mr. Drye, or Uncle Jerry as we sometimes call him, has helped me to remember almost every detail of his class as well as his syllabus.
   Upon taking roll that Tuesday morning, a young man came quietly into the classroom and sat down in the only seat available which was to the left of me. Mr. Drye called his name: CULLEN. I almost flipped. What a coincidence! No, he looked nothing like our beloved Edward, however, every Twi-hard within earshot swooned with delight. Poor kid.
   I finally made it to English next. My teacher, Dr. Kerri Allen, flitted into the room. Yes, flitted.....since she is the size of Tinker Bell. My Lit book is bigger than she. However, she packs a mean punch that demands respect. As she read the syllabus and gave us her expectations of us, she smiled in between her tardy death threats. Shortly after she pulled out her crossbow she informed us of how Fs were handed out to those who did not finish their research paper: like a stake through the heart. The woman is amazing. She takes her job seriously, but seems to still know how to have fun. She's engaging and charismatic enough to keep the class' attention. I can't wait to really dig my heels into all she has to teach. I am the only English major in her class; it should be interesting. As of today, she doesn't even call my name during roll call; instead she says, "Brandi's here" and moves on. I feel kind of special.
   My Theatre class is after my lunch break. Mrs. Jackie Daniels is my teacher....who reminds me of every high school drama teacher depicted in the very plays, books, and movies she directs. She's eclectic, but not over the top, and she knows her stuff. When she lectures, I feel like she's talking directly to me. The new DSC drama department is putting on a performance of Arabian Nights and for extra credit, I'm auditioning......for makeup. No stage work for this Thespian; I'm ready for makeup action. Now, if they bring on The Sound of Music, that sucker is mine.
   Tuesday night Jordan and I have our Algebra class together. (So sweet! Okay, enough cornstalk.) Not only are we partners in crime, we have a whole Algebra gang. We swindled Tyler Jones, our adopted 21 year old son (this is only what we call him, not what he really is) into taking this class with us.
   Here's the back story to Tyler: I've known Tyler since he was a fetus, which speaks volumes about my age, even though I'm only 9 years his senior. As he got older he'd say "hey" when he saw me at church, but I think he was a little scared of that "big singing gal." One night Jo and I discovered he could play guitar and the rest is history. He hangs out with us from time to time, and we treat him to Little Rome every now and then, (or he treats us) as well as a meal prepared by moi. His parents, Tony and Allison, are gems-they seem appreciative of our taking Tyler under our wings. I guess one could say, and some people do, that we "mentor" him....whatever that is. We love the kid to pieces and call him our own, so mentoring doesn't seem a strong enough word. He accompanies us when we do praise and worship and we trust him with the music the three of us make, as well as with our kid. Lilli kind of adores him and begs for his attention when he's around. There might be a slight crush on him; he calls her "Willie," which only makes her little heart pitter even faster for him. Like most teens, he had some trouble adjusting to college; just like Jo and I, he went off, and he came home. We've personally made it our mission to help him get back into the educational groove, even if it's one class at a time.
   Along with Tyler came Ben Black from last semester's English class. But little did I know that Skynrd would also be joining us. We have our own little corner of the classroom which may make for mayhem if we're not careful.
   Jordan had taken the same Algebra class before: Dr. Geoff Poor walked into the room Tuesday night and I was floored. He was soft spoken and dry witted, wearing grey khaki pants with orthopedic shoes, an untucked and unbuttoned polo shirt, and his thinning, long, white hair was thrown into a low ponytail down his back. I suddenly felt the need to go home and change into a tie-dyed shirt and some Birkenstock's, and grab the Ben and Jerry's. For in the flesh there stood Mr. Garcia himself. For the remainder of the evening my brain repeated Touch of Grey.
   Throughout the next Algebra class Jordan would lightly pinch or tickle my leg, right above my knee. Remember in high school when a boy liked you and all you could think about was HIM while he stared at you all through class? Then you wondered why you failed the test? I'm going to kill Jordan Griffin if he messes with my thigh in class again. I lose all focus.
   Wednesday was my Music Appreciation class. Nice. I picked a class that I already know all of the ins and outs of. Dr. Carver seems nice enough though, and he gained a very large amount of respect from me when he referenced Tchaikovsky and Darth Vader's Theme all in one breath. Maybe he'll take a break one day and just ask me to teach rhythms. Anything to make me feel like I'm moving forward in there; as of right now, I feel like the attendance policy is the only reason I show up.
   I've been back and forth to the Stupid Center several times; I get breaks, like I said, so I take that time to do homework, read, Pin, Facebook, email, and of course, BLOG.
   While there, I inevitably hear all that goes on at the table to my left: the MAGIC kids' table. Oh, yes. I've found myself a new form of entertainment. These kids are hysterical....not literally. But it's clear they don't watch Harry Potter or they'd know that if chocolate frogs don't come with trading cards, it just isn't worth it.
   This morning I gave my first speech in communications. We were to stand and talk about a given topic for exactly 60 seconds. Mr. Drye gave a news related topic and a pop culture topic. 90%  of the class ran with the pop topic. Those who tried to suck up and stick with the real world topic failed miserably.
  My two topics were as follows: Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity or My Favorite Cereal. I'm a chunky gal and I'm on a diet. Of course, I picked cereal. I would need to conjure up 1 minute worth of bull hockey that centered around cereal, completely off the cuff. he gave us our topics the moment befoe we stood to give out speeches. Our assignment was to stand in front of the class and give a speech on said soon as we picked the topic.
   Crap. How'm I gonna do this? I knew this speech was coming. I woke up with a knot in my stomach and one side of my face numb. I really psyched myself out for this thing. But I stood, moved to the front of the class and said, "I'll take the fat girl topic, please."
   It went a little like this, although this is not totally verbatim, but mostly: GO! "My favorite cereal is Crunch Berries, not to be confused with the plain yellow Captain Crunch. If it doesn't have the berries, it's not the real thing. And who are the bozoes that added new colored berries anyway? I personally like the old school pink. There is a certain way to eat Crunch Berries. You must first eat the yellow bars, leaving behind the berries. Next you must strategically separate the berries by color: blue, teal-not to be confused with the color green, boys-and finally pink. You're to eat the pink last. Then wash your bowl for your momma; don't leave a mess! And always wash your spoon because no one wants to deal with your leftover crusty Cap'n Crunch spoon. I am obviously not a public speaker. I'm shaking like a leaf and I feel like I'm about to vomit. Thank God I didn't have Crunch Berries for breakfast." TIME!
   The class, and Mr. Drye, were howling in laughter, I got a round of applause and, hopefully, a good grade. For my next speech I've got to tell a joke to the class. Again, worst joke teller EVER.
  For now, I'm sitting in the Stupid Center listening to rednecks on one side of me and Magic kids on the other. Both are cussing up a storm and both have their nerdy little roadie girlfriends sitting in their laps. I feel a mom chaperoning a kindergarten field trip where the monkeys decide to get frisky. They laugh like monkeys. They scream like monkeys. They scratch like monkeys. They smell like monkeys. My tax dollars are hard at work as I listen to their very limited vocabulary of four lettered words, their lame dirty jokes, and their mate calls.
   I love college.



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