This sums up what was inscribed on the inside cover flap of my chemistry tutor’s textbook. It still makes me laugh one year later every time my friend Laura and I remember him; not so much for how remarkable it would be for him to actually retrieve his book in this manner, without so much as a single reference to himself, but the faith it takes to believe that somehow that book would make it’s way back to him come hell or high water.
It also sums up what I should have written across my forehead in Sharpie purple wide point, in case anyone wants to know what to do with me should I lose my head one day and find myself wandering aimlessly along East Bidwell Avenue in Folsom. I have spent the last year of my life in school preparing for nursing school. For every five unit lab class, I probably spend triple the amount of my time in the library studying with the kids who will hang out with me or on the computer where all the great mysteries of unseen life are solved, if you simply log onto http://www.microbiologyplace.com/
I have learned more in the last year of my life, than I did in four years of undergraduate work as a youngster. So much applies to my real life that I now am petrified to go home where many of my new microbe friends live, play and reproduce exponentially. I wash my hands like an obsessive compulsive person and I’m learning really big words about why I should buy more bleach. My teacher is a cross between a really hilarious Ernie (My Three Sons) and the Cheshire cat of Alice and Wonderland fame. I can’t even make this comparison to my fellow classmates because none of them (well, maybe Laura) has ever heard of the television show “My Three Sons.” When you have a knowledgeable professor in a subject like microbiology, it makes all the difference in the world; like the difference between chamomile tea and 5 shots of espresso. Science courses are fascinating and wonderful when the teacher is passionate about what he/she is teaching. This summer school is no exception. I love it.
I keep thinking about the things I will accomplish after I graduate this winter. Things like laundry and scrubbing. Dusting the ceiling fans is the first thing I will do before I shop for uniforms for school. I can’t shop for uniforms for clinical unless I am accepted into a nursing program. The one I want to attend is an excellent one for grown up people who are still fascinated by learning and passionate about small things they can’t see, like diseases. Helping people feel well again or helping them when they will not recover is a vocation. I am still the oldest person in all my classes, but I continue to find my younger self while I am in school. My classmates who don’t know me probably think I am a freak when I talk too loud or show amazement at the e.coli or other icky stuff I’ve grown on streak plates and in test tubes. I feel like a kid again, learning something new for the first time, except this time, I appreciate it so much more than when I was younger student. A lot of it makes sense now because I’ve been around longer. This ‘going back to college thing’ is something I wish my parents would do. I know my dad would enjoy a history course. My mom would probably like an art class or sculpting class. She is so creative.
In the meantime, JD and the kids cheer me on, my parents put up with my telephone calls when I call them with the latest grade report. I never wanted my parents to know my grades when I was young, now they are forced to endure my boasting and strutting like a little peacock. At the end of this year, provided I get accepted to the nursing program I applied to, I will be leaving Folsom Lake College, not like a lost textbook, but a woman ready to become a nurse, finally. If for some reason though I appear to be lost, return me to Folsom Lake College. I always find my way home from there.
Tammy Maher is a biweekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the web at http://www.familyfare.blogspot.com/