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  • KC Pruitt

What did I learn this summer?

My take away from my first summer in grad school is how much things have changed in the forty plus years since I was in a classroom situation. When I started to college, man had not walked on the moon. Neil Armstrong performed that feat on July 20, 1969. It was my father’s forty-seventh birthday. I had finished my sophomore year and was on active duty. When I was an undergrad almost all of our papers were hand written and citations were not required. The personal computer had not been invented. Neither for that matter had cell phones, or hand-held calculators. We used a slide rule in chemical calculations. Research was in the library.

I struggled to keep up and was never quite sure if what I was doing was correct or not. I am finishing fourteen hours of intense coursework. The most difficult was the online course. Since I was in the studio or in a grad seminar during the day, the online took away my evenings and weekends. The research course involved many unfamiliar aspects of writing. I had never written anything that required citations. Since the professor requires the Chicago Style, I spent a lot of time looking at the manual. The first time I ever heard about citing was while working as a substitute teacher in 2011. A student mentioned MLA format and I had no idea what she was talking about.

Anyone that knows me understands that my head is full of a lot of trivial information. Things that I know, most of which I cannot tell you why, how or when I read, heard or saw it. I just know it. My memories go back to the early 1950s, before I started to school. I do know that I associate times and dates with other things that occurred simultaneously to remember events.

I put myself through college. I had no scholarships or student loans. I worked multiple jobs to pay my way. In the spring semester of my sophomore year, I enlisted in the Air National Guard. There was a war going on in southeast Asia. When I returned to school, I worked two jobs during school and added life guard during the summer. As my last year began, I still needed forty-five hours to graduate. That year, I worked a full time and two-part time jobs and went to classes. In the spring, I carried eighteen hours and only went to bed on Saturday and Sunday nights. I often fell asleep during two art history courses when the light was turned off. My full-time job as a security guard started at midnight and I got off at 8:00 am Tuesday thru Saturday. I also had drill with the Air National Guard one weekend each month. I graduated with a BA in Art six and one-half years after I began.

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