I Wish I Could Go Back To College (The Conclusion)

Happy Monday!  If you are new to this blog, welcome!  This is the conclusion of this story after 21 blogisodes.  To start this story at the beginning go here.  To read a short post that was popular, go here.  Don’t forget to subscribe, or “like” my facebook page, or follow me on twitter for direct updates every time I post.

Take this portion, cut in half.  Cut it in half again.  Add some cookie crumbs.  My current snack.

Take this portion, cut in half. Cut it in half again. Add some cookie crumbs. My current snack.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s finish this story!  I’m in it to win it with this blogisode, so everybody get your snacks, we’re going long.  Speaking of, I don’t have any snacks.  I’ll be right back.  Okay!  I’m back!  As you may remember, I am on Weight Watcher’s right now, so my snacks aren’t the “slab of fudge” kind of goodness I was enjoying while finishing up DFWT Pancreas New York edition (A slab of fudge?  Seriously NO IDEA why I need Weight Watcher’s now).  For tonight’s blogging pleasure I am enjoying a teeny portion of my favorite food on the planet–Haagen Daaz Chocolate Sorbet, topped with a 100 calorie pack of Keebler fudge stripe cookies.  I have 8 points left for the day, and this is 5 points, so I still have 3 points left for a savory snack in a bit.  Oh no.  I just fell asleep out of total boredom from all this diet talk.  WAKE UP.  We’ve got a story to finish.  It’s 9:45 pm.  Let’s see how fast I can do this.  Reaaaaady, GO!

 

Okay.  We left off with me needing fifty bajillion credit hours to get my degree from CCM.  I was taking every class possible at Pace University to do it, including chaining myself to the couch for a month to do my online “I heart Jane Austen” class (official name, it’s actually in the class roster, I might be lying).  (Snack update–my 2 bites of sorbet and sprinkle of cookies are already over.  Moving on to tea–0 points–pretending it’s a slab of fudge).  I had an email campaign going with every administrator on the University of Cincinnati campus, to approve all my credit transfers.  The word from Aubrey Berg was that I needed to do a song with a dance step while putting on makeup in order to finish up the classes I could not get from Pace.  In front of all the current CCM students.

Can I tell you, just TELL YOU how much I didn’t want to do it?  The phrase “I’d rather eat glass” comes to mind.

Bryan Batt singing "Put a Little More Mascara On" Singing. Dancing. Makeup.

Bryan Batt singing "Put a Little More Mascara On" Singing. Dancing. Makeup.

Many of my friends went absolutely ballistic at how ridiculous it seemed and said I should dig my heels in and refuse to do it because he was just trying to humiliate me.  Which I understood, and was advice I would dish out if it was happening to a friend of mine.  But–the thing to remember here is–I wanted that degree.  Period.  I hadn’t come so far and won so many gift cards just to see it slip away over some mascara and a time step.  And, another thing to keep in mind–I had already asked everyone to do me numerous giant favors in the completion of this degree.  If I had to do it, I’d do it.  I told Aubrey I’d come to Cincinnati over my spring break from Pace.

In the meantime, I was still taking classes, including a 6 credit hour New York City History class (3 credits of lit, 3 credits of history), which was co-taught by my favorite academic person (besides Rob and my sister wife Amy), Dr. Barbara Blumberg from FDR fame.  Yes, I pretty much went through the syllabus and found the next class she was teaching and signed up for it.  Stalker much, Sharon?  But, she asked for it because she was so complimentary to me (she allegedly said I was one of the best history students she’s ever had.  It was either “best” or “oldest” I can’t remember) and as an actress I gravitate to compliments like a moth to flame.  It’s just part of my DNA.

Charlotte and I on the Ellis Island tripHere is my one paragraph review of that class.  Ready?  I thought it was NYC history from when it was settled by the Dutch or whoever it was, including all the revolutionary war stuff and the Statue of Liberty being erected and all that jazz.  I knew it was a lit class, too, so I was picturing a little Edith Warton’s Age of Innocence (a book I’ve always wanted to read but never had the discipline to read without someone telling me I had to).  As it turns out, it is actually a two semester class, and the spring semester focused on post 1897.  We covered immigration (which was great) and then went into the depression.  Which I’d just learned about.  In fact, one of the papers was on Waiting For Lefty. Crud.  I was so excited to learn new things yet I found myself in FDR the re-mix.  That said, a highlight was several field trips (always on a Sunday morning–ugh–BUT, Charlotte came with me.)  We went to the Tenement Museum, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, we did a walking tour of Greenwich Village and of Harlem, and we had to visit a museum and a place of historical significance (I chose The Cloisters Museum out of sheer laziness, it is about 5 minutes from my apartment–but is also very cool, and the Roosevelt Mansion upstate).  We read several books, a novella, some plays, gobs of historical writings and we had about 10 text books (I’m not kidding).  Here’s the word.  This class was a ton of work.  Everything I just listed required writing a paper.  This class was no joke.  One of the critical essays required 14 different sources.  Look.  I know Pace is no Yale University.  But I’m here to tell you that Barbara Blumberg will give you a work out.  You want to learn a lot?  Take her class.  But be prepared to work.

So yes, when you come to New York, I can give you a fabulous and informative  tour.

One especially cool thing about the class was learning about 9-11.  All of the students in class were just kids when it happened (about nine years old on average), so they were learning a lot of the details for the first time.  That said, many of the kids were also native New Yorkers, so they had been directly impacted.  One girl started to cry and said her Dad worked for The Port Authority and while he’d survived the attack, he’d lost so many people he’d never been the same.

I’d also like to do a short commercial for the Ken Burns New York City documentary, which was watched some sections of in class.  It’s really excellent and has the best 9-11 information I’ve ever seen.

One of the downsides (or upsides, depending on how you look at it) of this tough class and my busy schedule in the Spring semester, is that I couldn’t find the time (or money) to get back to Cincinnati for Aubrey’s requirement.  I sent him an e-mail and explained and he said I could upload it to youtube or send him a DVD.  Rob and I planned to do it the week Pace classes ended, and then he went in the hospital and our lives turned upside down.  I sent him another e-mail explaining that I was overwhelmed by life and planning for our summer and still hadn’t gotten around to making the DVD.  Meanwhile, I’d missed the deadline to get my stuff in for graduation and everything got delayed.

Headaches all over the place.

I’d managed to get my Pace classes completed, but the CCM stuff was still a mess.

Aubrey wrote me and said he’d decided to take a trip to Vermont in the summer to see me in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum and I could perform the requirements for him live and in person in Vermont.

Okay.  That’s pretty nice of him, don’t you think? I planned it out and decided doing something fun for Aubrey after the show in the Act IV Cabaret would be just the ticket to my degree.  The summer rolled along–no Aubrey–no email–no nothing.  I finally heard from another kid in the show who was a current CCM student that Aubrey had written him and said he couldn’t come.  I did get an e-mail from one of the admins at UC telling me my credits did not transfer and I was short for graduation and I just–I don’t know–I just gave up.  I’d spent a year trying to get this done and it wasn’t working.  I’d applied to one graduate school (Yale) on a total whim and didn’t get in despite the most kick ass, fancy letters of recommendation a person could possibly generate.  After all this, it seemed like acadamia and I just were not meant to ever, ever get along.  I threw myself a giant pity party while simultaneously throwing in the towel.

The whole thing about going back to college as an adult–the whole promise of changing myself as an adult, the old dog new tricks deal was a bust.  I’m not kidding.  The good news–and this is really excellent news–is that as an adult student I learned some very valuable things.  (Pause.  Too much tea.  I’ll be right back.  I never had this problem with fudge.)

Here’s my “The Best Things I Learned In College As An Adult” list for educators:

1)  If a kid is taking notes on a laptop in class, they are probably on Facebook.  At best, they are Googling what are saying while you are saying it,  and reading Wikipedia.  My apologies to any students offended by this, but nine times out of ten, I’m right.

2)  Don’t bother to tell people not to wait until the last minute, they will anyway.

3)  The more enthusiasm you have for your subject, the more your students will have.

4) Quizzes in college are stupid.  They either read it or they didn’t and if they flunk the final that’s their problem.  Offer cash incentives instead.

Here’s my “The Best Things I Learned In College As An Adult” list for students:

1)  Do well in school because you can earn cash and gift cards.

2) Read above.

3) Read above.

4) Read above.

The moral of the story is: after all this, not knowing what to do with all this free time after so much intense homework, I decided to start this blog (which often feels a lot like an online course), which gives me an excellent outlet for all the mumbo jumbo in my brain (no MLA format needed).  I know–for a fact–that I would not have ever started this blog if I hadn’t had a year of intense writing for college credit to prime me.  I’m used to long hours, I was a college student.  I’m used to not getting paid for it, I’m a college student.  All that said, I do expect gift cards and cash because college taught me you can get those things if you work really hard.

Oh, but before I sign off, I do have a quick addendum to all of this.  After I wrote blogisode five of “I Wish I Could Go Back To College”, I got a package in the mail.  It was this:

MY DEGREE!

THIS IS MY DEGREE! NO CAP, NO GOWN, NO HOOPLA, IT JUST CAME IN THE MAIL!

 

Can you BELIEVE it?  AUBREY BERG CAME THROUGH FOR ME!  He’s the hero of the story!

As Rob said, I can’t make this shit up.  This is really honestly, I swear to you–the way it all went down.  This blog was going to end with….nothing.  No degree.  Just me having a good time learning and then starting this blog, the end.  But Aubrey changed all of that, and NOT because I was writing this, this was in the works way before I started this story, I just never knew it.  ISN’T THAT GENIUS?

I, Sharon Wheatley, am a college graduate.  And I’m so glad I went back to college.

Thank you to  Aubrey Berg, Terrell Finney, Amy Rogers, Rob Meffe, Dr. Blumberg, my kids, and everyone who put up with me last year on my BFA quest.  Look at that.  The story is over, I have my degree, it’s 1:28am, and I’m not even going to eat those last three points.  It’s a “win” all around.

I’ll see you tomorrow for a Daily Dose, and Wednesday we’ll start our next story, “One Day More” about the traveling to Singapore with the Les Miserables tour and living there for three months.  A It’s a lot more than a “show” story, so be sure to tune in!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Sharon Wheatley

Mother of Charlotte and Beatrix. Sometimes an actress. Sometimes a writer. I'm glad you're here.
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4 Responses to I Wish I Could Go Back To College (The Conclusion)

  1. Georga says:

    YAY!!!!! And they all lived happily ever after!

    I am SO hooked on your Blog! Looking forward to the next series.

  2. Barb Winfield says:

    I do love me a happy ending, and this was the best! Congratulations!

  3. Chris Fettig says:

    I've been directing a show in Syracuse for the last month, and got way too busy to keep up with reading your blog. Tonight, I'm catching up. I'm so happy for you!! So awesome that you got that degree after all! It always seemed "beside the point" to get the degree at CCM as well. It wasn't about the degree; It was about the work, the learning and self-improvement, the growth as a singing and dancing actor, etc. I absolutely love reading your stuff and missed doing so over the past month. Thank you (and Rob) for making the huge investment to type these stories out rather than all of the other things you probably feel guilty about not doing instead! ;-)

  4. Pace Student says:

    "more than just a show story"??? Sharon, we want ALL your show stories.

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