I met with my advisor for my graduate program today and walked around my new campus and I could not shake this feeling that this is an incredible privilege.
And I had this imagined exchange with my father, about everything that was happening, imagining if I could tell him about all of it later. He would be so tickled by this, his daughter on a grand campus working on her master’s degree. He so envied the college thing and he was unbelievably proud when I’d gotten my psychology bachelors.
Papason! Hey. How are you?
I’m good.. good. What’s new bugaloo?
I went to my campus again today and it’s just all really happening. You wouldn’t believe it. I met my advisor and it went so well we HUGGED. Hugged.
(chuckle). Man. Now that’s a good meeting.
I know! I went and got my student ID too. It’s a terrible picture, of course, but I held on to it for a while afterward, not wanting to put it away. I’m official!
You ARE official. Oh Hollz. You are a graduate student. I’m so proud.
I am too, Dad. I just can’t believe this. I kept having this feeling today of what a great thing this is, not just great like ‘feels good’ but great, like it is not a small thing. What a privilege to get to walk on this beautiful campus, to hear the snippets of conversation on the quad, students talking about projects and ideas. What a thing to get to be an academic. Oh! And the libraries! You would not believe it.
I bet I wouldn’t! They have pretty great libraries, huh?
They do. They really do. I’m not sure how many there are either. There is like a library system. They have this big one that looks like it was build in the 1800’s with this ornate exterior and marble stairs to the wide doors set with panel upon panel of brassed glass. It looks like a European Art Museum it’s so beautiful, and that’s ONE of the buildings. You’d love it!
I can’t wait to see it Hollz.
Oh man. It’s gonna be great when you come. We’ll get coffee and cruise the libraries and sit under the cherry trees and talk about Walt Whitman or something. Oh! And there are full art galleries here. We should hit those. They have paintings and glass and ceramics and film and paper arts and just.. all kinds of things. The university bookstore has maybe the best selection of art supplies I’ve seen in a long time. They have great deals on books too. You’ll love it.
I bet. Maybe I’ll get a couple of college books too, learn a little something.
That’s a cool idea. You totally can. Warning though. Textbooks are insane. I had one that is like almost 200 bucks.. and that’s USED.
Whew! 200 bucks for a book? Is it an illuminated manuscript?
You’d think so. But seriously I can’t wait to show you the campus.
Does it have a lot of pretty girls?
I’m just joshing there Hollz.
Mhmm. They have all these good restaurants around there too. I don’t know if any are cheap enough that I’ll get to go to them much, but they look pretty good. We could get some kind of food we never had maybe, something African I bet.
My heart aches a little that he won’t ever see it.. His daughter.. the boy from the projects.. his daughter would be a grad student at a major university. He would have loved it. He would have been so tickled that his daughter was a grad student. He would have loved hearing about all the architecture and the library amenities and the cultural events and the planetarium. He would have taken a hundred pictures of the cherry trees. He would have done a little comedy about the cost of textbooks and he would have bought something silly at the bookstore with the school colors and he would have embarrassed and pleased me at the restaurant by telling the waitress that he was visiting his daughter who was a student on campus. I am the first in my line to have any degree at all and the first to attend graduate school.
It was a good day, and it was good my father had been so present in my mind and my travels. I smiled a lot, thinking about how he would have reacted.
I was missing Traveler too, and thinking about texting him, even though I knew he couldn’t respond. I just missed him so much. We’ve been texting and stuff but it’s been a few days since we’ve seen each other. I was feeling a pang for him when he called, further brightening my day. I felt such pleasure at him talking about missing me. It’s wonderful to be nuts about someone and pining for them and to have them call you to say they’re pining for you.
I got to tell him about all the events of my day and my excitement about it all and to commiserate that he’d be working late. I’m feeling like a student finally and though it’s a little scary it is exciting too and it was good to share it with him and enjoy the warmth of his voice and to share a little love. It was good to send him some loves too for the long night he’d have. I wish he would have met my father.