UMA-All day and into the night

Monday was a big day at UMaine Augusta. The Board of Trustees for all of the UMaine System met there to, among other things, discuss and approve their strategic plan. I sat in on the end of the student representative meeting and felt my same old anxieties surge to the surface again. One student talked about her expectation that she’ll have to do graduate work once she finishes her degree, and that many of her peers feel the same. Then the board president expressed the need for students to choose their majors with an eye to future employment.

I just sank. Lately I’ve been pretty pumped with the anticipation of graduating in May and finding some kind of work related to my degree. And now this. Graduate school? Part of my recent elation (and my husband’s) has to do with no more tuition bills showing up in our mailbox. After putting 3 students through college in 6 years, we’re ready for a break. Choosing my major with an eye to future employment? I’ve already shared my angst about how things might go with my English degree. I walked out of that room feeling a little low, but luckily, it didn’t last long.

I got to spend some time with Deb, the director at URock, and Steve, my fellow nontrad. We were manning the URock table, trying to bring attention to the outlying UMA centers that serve so many students. Deb is an expert networker whereas I’m more of a watcher, so it was fun to see her in action.

I got to meet the President of UMA and she thanked me – thanked me – for what I do here on this blog. Whether it’s in person or online, it’s always good to know someone’s reading this. You gotta love the blog love.

I snuck out early to go to my class, and learned my Jane Eyre paper from 2 weeks ago is floating out there somewhere in the cyber-ether. Quickly remedied: I re-sent and my professor promptly received, and all is well. We’ve completed Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and are now reading Wuthering Heights. Let me say I’m in a class full of Heathcliff lovers/adorers/defenders. This makes for some deeply felt discussions, and for a great class. Next month, UMA is hosting its first English Conference, and we might – we just might – be part of a panel on the Brontës. Time will tell on that one. Alison Bechdel, who wrote and drew the memoir Fun Home, will be the keynote speaker, so I’ll be there even if I chicken out of submitting a paper.

Well, I kept my UMA student hat on into the night. URock, which is a satellite center of UMA, hosted a Monologue Nights, with theater students performing. I rarely get to go to these kinds of after-hours school events, since they don’t often happen on Monday nights. To come over any other night means another overnight stay on the mainland, so I usually miss out. This was fantastic, a real variety of monologues, from Sophocles to Wilde to Allison Moore to original work and more. So glad I got to see this. It’s a reminder: we are surrounded by talented people and don’t even realize it.


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8 Responses to UMA-All day and into the night

  1. Jonathan Potter says:

    Thanks for the positive response to the monologues. I’m glad you had a chance to see them.

  2. Jodi says:

    Hey Colleen, as you know an avid supporter of you and many things UMA, distance ed, etc.. When I was reading your post, I had a thought (or a few but will share this one). As you know I have an English degree while many others pushed me toward a career oriented goal and I said no. And as you also know, I did go on to Grad school, but… but… but… all the ILS students I know demonstrate each graduation and when I hear from them that, it’s not about the degree, it is about the education and what you do with it. An English degree I have learned was my foundation to go far in my life, the skill to communicate with the written word, the ability to analyze and recognize the voice of the narrator and the inherent bias, there is so much (as you know) more that you have learned than just literature. You have likely learned about… but you have also learned to be in a lot of ways, and the challenge next is what you do with your degree. Based on what myself and others have seen “here” and all that you have done as a student… “you will go far my friend, you will go far.” (The period in the quotation mark is for Jill.R.!) :-) I’ll be cheering when you graduate in May!

    • Hi Jodi…thank you sooo much. Between you and Deb, I’ve got a nice ego boost today! I agree with what you’re saying and what your ILS students say. Now I just have to apply that positivity to myself! Thanks for following my blog. Your support means a lot to me!

  3. Deborah Meehan says:

    Colleen – You were clearly the celebrity at our table at the BOT meeting. Your blog has drawn much important and positive attention to distance education and nontrad learners. Students voices are the powerful ones so I hope your blog continues post grad.

    • Deb…stop, you’re making me blush! I keep thinking about what happens to the blog after the blogger graduates. Makes me want to go to grad school just so I can keep it going! Thank you so much for your kind words and continued support. So glad to have you in my corner!

  4. Heather says:

    I know that feeling oh so well Colleen. I’m in a program that is in the health field so yes obviously that is a great field to get into…but cuts in MaineCare and Medicaid payments to OT services have been cut dramatically this past year and it’s making it a scary place to enter if you are an OTA…I’ve been getting so pumped about my Associates degree and graduating in May…yet, I know I will be continuing on- which is scary. I like having a sense of the “end is near”, no matter how much I have thoroughly enjoyed being back in school and learning.

    • Hey Heather, You’ve done a good thing in choosing to go into the health field. It seems like a wide open field, although one of the students yesterday was a nursing student. When she started, there were scads of nursing jobs and now she’s feeling nervous about her prospects. We have an aging population in Maine, and they will need nurses and they will need occupational therapists, so I think you’re set:) Congratulations on your upcoming graduation! It’s very exciting…the end of one chapter and the beginning of another, in a new college. I will miss taking classes, and I won’t rule out taking more in the future, but I’ll be ready for a little break:)

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