Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Transfer Students

One evening, while talking to my friend, Kathy, she proposed that I accompany her to a class called "Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion". It was an anthropology class on world religions. Interested in the topic at hand, I agreed, and the following day enrolled in the class at my local community college. I had attended Modesto Junior College (MJC) in the 1980's to gain a certification which allowed me to work in public safety for almost ten years. After becoming injured, my career ended, and I was faced with a question as to what else can I do with my life and what interested me.

Kathy and I attended the class and enjoyed our professor, James Todd. He was charismatic and inspirational with his enthusiasm for the topic. I have always loved Anthropology since high school and Professor Todd added to the enjoyment of this field of study. Kathy and I made new friends, who include Dimitri (a fellow geology major), and Trish & Vince (a married couple who have since become part of my immediate family). The class ended, and I found myself (possibly still pumped by the enthusiasm of James Todd) wanting more. I purchased a catalog from the bookstore, and decided to take more classes the following semester.

At times, I questioned my plan. For God's sake I was in my late 40's and seriously wondering what the hell I was doing. Thinking this over and over, the idea of working at our local irrigation district or retail was NOT what I had in mind for myself. I had been a hostage negotiator, and selling housewares did not provide the excitement I craved. I come from a family where no one went to college. My dad, Ernie, is a Korean War veteran (187th Airborne "Rakkasan's") and has a tenth grade education. My mom, Bea had a high school diploma. She was a stay-at-home-mom until we were a in our teens where she then worked part-time at JC Penney and later for Thrifty's Drugs. I was married at 20 and a mother at 21 with a son, Todd to care for. A miscarriage occurred between my son, and the birth of my daughter, Megan in 1986.

Going to a community college now in the 2008 with grown children and grandchildren under my belt appeared as a waste of time to some people in my family. I choose to see education as more valuable and not age-specific. I continued with my education. I became involved in the Astronomy Club, the honors program with Eva Mo (love that woman) and accepted into Alpha Gamma Sigma and Phi Theta Kappa. This ol' gal was not doing so bad.

I took an Earth Science class because it interested me, and it was the only science class with a lab that really stood out to me. Professor Noah Hughes was a young man who had an innate ability to share his enthusiasm for our planet. It did not take a "rocket surgeon" to figure out this guy loved what he did. His craziness spread into my veins. I wanted more. I loved two particular aspects of his Earth Science class which focused on oceanography, weather, astronomy and geology. Those two were astronomy and geology. I decided that I would take some geology courses. My first class was Physical Geology with Professor Garry Hayes.

I remember seeing Professor Hayes for the first time and thinking "this guy is going to be tough". He gave us his spiel on "if you are taking this class because you think it's going to be easy, you might want to reconsider your choice" talk. I was cool with that because I was not here to take some science class that "appeared" to be the easiest. Professor Hayes loved his colored chalk and his black board. He drew us pictures of everything he lectured on. I, being a visual learner, immediately loved his teaching style. I felt myself going to the dark side. I knew that by mid-semester I wanted to be a geologist. I wanted to wear hiking boots, a cool hat, and carry a rock hammer until I grew old.

So, you are thinking what is the point to this blog entry. Well, the point is this. If you are attending school as a return student, seek out those who can guide you to what it is that excites you. Because of the people I came in contact with, (Dimitri, Kathy, Trish, Vince, Professors Mo, Todd, Hughes and Hayes) I have continued on pass community college. I am attending a Tier One university (by the way it is where Professor Hayes got his Masters-but I didn't know that until later) at the age of 53. I plan to get my degree. I want to work for a few years in mining and get a Masters. I hope to one day teach others of the exciting world of Geology.

Thanks to Kathy Rau, Dimitri Hiyood, James Todd, Eva Mo, Noah Hughes and Garry Hayes for everything you have done for me while I was at MJC. Also thank you to Dr. Susan Kerr for her friendship and love. To the MJC Transfer Center (Leticia and her staff) for helping me see beyond the walls of MJC. I plan to do you all proud, and can never repay your devotion, love, friendship and inspiration.

Transfer students - NEVER forget where you come from and those who helped you get to where you are today. Carry On!

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