The Sixteenth Year

Today was the beginning of my 16th year of school (also known as my senior year of college). This wasn't my last first day though. I will probably go back to school again, either as a graduate student or a teacher of some sort. How do I know that? Because I'm one of those weird people who like school.

Anyways, this day was pretty good, although I'm pretty heckin' tired. 

WPP 394 - Writing Proficiency Seminar

It started with a lovely 8 am class. The Writing Proficiency Seminar. I'd complain about taking the class, but it's my fault. I purposely slept through the test because I forgot about it and didn't prepare. It started off with some talking and then introductions. "Hi, I'm Audrey Bowers, senior creative writing major. Is that all I need to say?" I said, probably too energetically. Fake it til you make it ya'll. 

"If you have something else, go for it" my instructor said. 

"I'm really pumped about writing!"

The other 9 classmates didn't share my enthusiasm; I don't think the instructor did either. But of course, I was the only English major in the room. 

The rest of the class period sucked all of the joy from my body, but I'm not dropping the class. I need to graduate. 

SP 201 - Intermediate Spanish 

It started with me complaining in the hallway about forgetting every single thing I learned over summer. 

"I can't even remember how to say I'm tired" I complained. 

"Really? It's estoy consada." A blonde haired freshman said.

I laughed and explained how I took the last two classes online and thought, of course this freshman knows more Spanish than I do, she's been taking it for the last four years. She seems like the type of person who wouldn't be my friend for whatever reason and I'm surprised when she asked to sit by me.  I asked her what she's studying and she told me English Ed. I told her that I was too, but switched to creative writing last semester. She told me that me writing is her passion, but that it's not as "practical" as education.

In the two minutes before the professor came in, I told her that she could do so much with the writing degree, that so many companies need writers. I offered some ways for her to write on campus, told her about English Ed, told her about Stars to Steer By,  urged her to talk to her professors and build connections, and told her that I'd be willing to answer any of her questions. As we left, she got my contact info and I gave her directions to Pruis Hall. At first glance, I assumed we had nothing in common, but we were/are awfully similar (or it seems so thus far). I hope something I said was helpful. I think Freshman Audrey could've benefitted from a similar talk. 

ENG 489 - Practicum in Literary Editing and Publishing 

I'm so excited about this class! I'll be working with 14 other students to produce an issue of The Broken Plate, Ball State's literary journal. 

The only awkward moment was almost calling myself a sophomore instead of a senior during introductions. The rest of it seemed pretty self explanatory and really cool. It wasn't much more than going through the syllabus. 

After that class, I wondered through the hallway that stretches from Robert Bell to AJ and back. I needed a good spot to sit and work. The whole day had been overwhelming, so the steps didn't hurt. Halfway through my Venti iced coffee, I knew I was drinking too much, but I couldn't waste it! Eventually I sat down at that one table on the second floor of Robert Bell and felt less anxious. I finished my homework for Wednesday and felt less unprepared, even though I had/have a bunch of non-school things to work on. 

ENG 308 - Poetry 

At this point I was super tired from waking up at 6am, but I kept myself awake and mentally engaged at the very least. It was the same as the other class, syllabus stuff and getting to know your classmates. I used my I studied abroad in Ireland icebreaker for the second time that day. At the end of class, we looked at a painting and two pictures. By Wednesday, I'll have to read 16 more poems and I'm actually a bit hyped. I don't read enough poetry, but I think that's about to change. I haven't liked homework this well for awhile to be honest. 

The rest of the day was pretty boring, so I'll spare the details. 

New Year. New-ish Major. Improved Audrey.

I just can't believe how much I've changed in the last year. A year ago I was excited, but so nervous about everything. I was uneasy most days and other people noticed. This year, I feel like a beam of light. I'm so happy. I almost cried 5 times today because being a senior creative writing major feels unreal. Working on The Broken Plate and sitting in my poetry class felt unreal. It still does. I'm so lucky to get to learn and write so much and feel an authentic sense of "hey this is just what I do. I belong here. I'm a writer." 

If I were still an education major right now, I would maybe get to take one creative writing class this semester and the Broken Plate wouldn't be an option due to student teaching. For about two days after back to school stuff started, I thought about double majoring, but realized that student teaching and taking the hardest Spanish class wasn't a great idea and besides, I deserved to focus on improving my craft. I think this idea might've been self sabotage, fear, envy of my peers doing teacher stuff, guilt, or even pride. Those reasons simply weren't/aren't good enough.

It's difficult at times, but I'm still following my gut even when my head and heart are begging me to reconsider. This year is going to be rad. 


Audrey Bowers