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At Least Her Literature Grades Were Good

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2014-02-11


Because my life is not chaotic enough, I've decided to go to grad school. I'm scared to death, even though more than one person has told me I'm going to love it. Sure I will. I love going into debt. I'm GREAT at it. And that's what I'll have to do, because I'll be dead before I save enough money to pay for school. Because I don't make enough at my three jobs to afford luxuries like getting mammograms, going to the eye doctor, or grad school.

At least this time I'm focused. The first time I went to college, I went because my father wanted me to go, and I had a vague notion that having a college degree would get me a decent job (hahahaha). It did, but it took me about twenty years to figure it out. Of my three jobs, my part-time teaching gig pays the best. No, I don't get paid for prepping; no teacher does. But I look forward to going to class. I like the spark of comprehension I see when I explain something to a student and it clicks. Besides, teachers seem to get a bad rap these days—they're unionized, liberal, and expect students to LEARN. What nerve! Sounds awesome—where do I sign up?

I'm willing, but it's not just a matter of showing up. There's paperwork, letters of recommendation, letters of intent, and GRE scores. I started prepping, and the math has turned out to be as bad as I expected. Basic math—very basic, is about my speed. I got through accounting in college (I started out as a business major, of all things) and algebra (thanks for those multiple choice questions Mr. Eickhoff!) but that was IT. I took two shots at statistics, and couldn't do it. I decided I didn't want that business degree badly enough to get tutoring for the stat class. At the same time, I didn't want to drop out of school with no degree. Because I had a mad crush on one of the English instructors, I ended up taking more literature classes than a business major would have. I wasn't sure what the hell I'd do with an English degree (I sure as hell didn't want to teach, not back then) but I'd have a degree just the same.

So now it's a long time after graduation. A few years ago to satisfy something in me (my ego, for starters) I tried teaching, and really liked it. It's not high school teaching, which I don't think I could do. But in order to have more opportunities, I've got to get a Master's degree. And prepping for the GRE has brought back the horror of story problems. If a train heading east from Cincinnati is going 45 miles per hour and a train leaving Indianapolis is also heading east going 55 miles per hour and they both left at the same time, what time is the conductor on the Indianapolis train going to take a shit? And what color is the Cincinnati conductor's underwear? The answer? Clowns.

It embarrasses me, my stupidity when it comes to math. It seemed like the money questions I could figure out, but the is 5x-24y less or greater than 2/3s questions left me looking at the screen wondering what was wrong with me. Thankfully, a call to someone in the English department of the school I'm planning to attend said the powers that be don't take the math scores into consideration. Thank you Jesus. I guess since writers are known to be alcoholic and/or mentally ill (or both) expecting them to be proficient in math is asking for too much.

So confidence restored, I set about getting transcripts. The next step is to get an application and some money, and apply. I can turn the necessary information in little by little, and I will be informed as to what I need to send in next. So I'm taking baby steps. Sure, the cost is a bummer, but people spend more on luxury vehicles. If I want to have a crack at being lower middle class, I've got to go back to school. If I have to work until I'm 75 or older, I'd rather be teaching.

Which leads me to one more story problem. How many years and how much money will it take for Gloria to finally get her master's? If you take forever times infinity dollars (assuming x=blue and y=because I said so) it should take clowns times trains times drunk conductors taking shits. Don't forget to show your work!

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