I Wish I Could Go Back To College (Blogisode Five)

If you are new to Sharon Wheatley’s blog, welcome!  I write stories in “blogisodes”, and to start at the beginning of this story, go here:  http://wp.me/p1zRyr-j6

Mother/daughter bloggers.

Good Morning, blog friends.  It’s Wednesday here in the Big Apple.  As I write this, Beatrix is working on her Barbie Computer.  She’s probably found a way to hitch that pink computer to some pre-school wi-fi and she’s secretly blogging about how her mother exploits her and her potty habits.  Which would be fair.  I do do that.  (I said do do.  And I was talking about potty training.)

Here’s the score for the day.

Potty training accidents:  None

Followers on Twitter: 35

Bad analogies: One (It’s not a camel or a cactus, it’s a bladder made of steel…thanks, Peg).

Number of people who couldn’t listen to my interview with Seth Rudetsky from Monday’s blogisode three:  A Lot.

I just heard that there was trouble opening the link, and here’s the deal-io.  I think you have to have an iTunes account to open it.  So if you are on your work computer, you might need to try it on your iPhone (if you have one) or your home computer, or your kids computer.  Or just invite me over and I’ll sing for you for free, circa 1985 before we all had to know how to do all of this stuff.  I remember once I auditioned for a show over the phone–literally–I sang a song over the phone.  Guess what?  I didn’t get the job.  Shocking, I know.

Okay, I can’t horse around too much today, I have to keep this blog post short, short, short

Right, right, right goose. Wrong, wrong, wrong Charlotte.

because I am tired, tired, tired.  Remember the goose in the book Charlotte’s Web that says everything three times, three times, three times?  Speaking of Charlottes (not webs), here’s a fun fact: Despite rumors to the contrary, Charlotte Meffe was not named after that pregnant spider, she was named after Charlotte Bronte.  Beatrix Jane Meffe (who was very nearly named Polly Jane) is named after Beatrix Potter and Jane Orans the owner of Quisisana.  That will absolutely, positively be on the quiz, so you should highlight it in your notebook.

Oh, I love a good highlighter.  But not blue, it’s too dark.  I think I prefer pink.  Yellow is too 1970’s and any other color is just a marker.  That’s a good question, actually, when is a highlighter just a marker?

MOVING ON.  Stop bringing up school supplies!

Moving on.  Let’s talk about (going back to school and getting) school supplies.

Oh wait–I have to apologize for spending so much of yesterday talking about urine.  But speaking of urine, today Rob went into Beatrix’s room and all I heard him say was, “Oh DISGUSTING” with no explanation.  A not-as-lazy person might investigate, but all I really

The potty. Please note if you are purchasing: Lid color masks contents.

knew was that he would eventually tell me, and if I went in there, I’d have to help clean up whatever the disgusting thing was.  Which was….(I should do a cliffhanger here, but I won’t) it was one of Beatrix’s potty seats full of pee.  From who-knows-when.  It maybe has been sitting full of pee for days (it has a lid).  I know what you are thinking, Sharon, that is so disgusting!  WHAT?  You think I’m happy about it?  My point is, I’m sorry that I keep talking about this pee stuff.  I’ll try to stop.  This just in–my lawyer advises that I not make promises I may or may not be able to keep.

Let’s go back to college.  We left off with me discovering that while university hiring committees like the look of my professional resume and might e-mail me right away (I’m looking at you, University of Southern Oregon), the reality is….academic types like academic types.  They are not, I discovered, big fans of the wing and prayer person with sparkly professional credits and no college degree.  But I tried anyway.

Dear nice college that is hiring,

Wouldn’t you like this four time Broadway actress and published author to teach Musical Theater Something Or Other at your school?  Regarding your qualification for a degree….Ummm…I did Cats….Does that count?

Sincerely,

Wing and a prayer Wheatley

Guess what?  Colleges who are hiring actually need things like transcripts and do not

This nice plaque does NOT count as a degree

accept a picture of a plexiglass “Young Alumnae Award” plaque as proof.  Rats.  And, by the way, what’s a “terminal degree” and why is it required?

Shit, crap, damn.  I had no choice, I was going to have to get that stupid degree.  MY MOTHER WAS RIGHT.  I sent an e-mail to my alma mater that I knew would cause every recipient to immediately bury their head in their hands while cursing my name.  I started out reeeeal friendly-like, with information about me and my kids and career stuff, “I know it’s been a long time!!” and then I dropped the bomb.  “I am pursuing a teaching career and it turns out I need to finish my degree and maybe get a Master’s.  Can you believe it??? Any chance you could help me out so I can finish my degree?  It’s probably not much, just a few classes!”

The responses ran the gamut from “Good for you!” to “Are you sure you need it?” to “Baby, you’ve got a long, long way to go.”  Then, I was passed around a lot.  “You’ll probably need to contact so and so in the academic office.”,  “You’re going to need committee permission to do this…”,  “That professor retired.”, “We might not have records back that far”.  Overall, most people were incredibly helpful and I just kept sending e-mail after e-mail after e-mail until I got everyone responding.

Considering that I made the decision to go back to school in  August, and intended to start

A rendering of me in college.

school in September, I had no time to lose.  It took not one, not two, but probably 200 e-mails to get the ball rolling, figure out what I needed and to start conversations about what—if anything—could translate from my professional career to college credit.  As we looked at my 20-year-old college transcript, it turns out, I didn’t just sleep through Western Civilization; I’d slept through dance classes, English classes, History of theater classes, stage crew classes; the list goes on and on.  And that wasn’t just what I’d outright missed, I also had a few classes that had an “Incomplete” which had turned to an “F”.  In every case I had finished the work, I just had never made the walk over to the academic office to actually turn in the signed form (see above when I didn’t walk to Beatrix’s room.  Same person, 20 years later).

What my transcript looked like

I remember the moment I chose not to finish anything—I was 21, sick of school, sick of Cincinnati, sick of debt and I just wanted to pack my bags, climb on a bus to anywhere and get a paycheck for singing in a habit.  Finding  my transcript was like coming back to a messy apartment after a long vacation.  I had a lot of dirty dishes to clean up.  This was going to involve more than a couple of night classes; this was going to take a miracle.  And the real question was, could I finish it in New York, or was I going to need to go to school in Cincinnati to fix this mess?

(To read the next blogisode of this series, please go here: http://wp.me/p1zRyr-lb

Can’t wait to read more?  Read one of the completed stories.  Go here to start: http://wp.me/p1zRyr-1W

About Sharon Wheatley

Mother of Charlotte and Beatrix. Sometimes an actress. Sometimes a writer. I'm glad you're here.
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