Saturday, February 4, 2012

Trunk Show

I’ve been feeling guilty because I haven’t posted anything in almost two weeks.  The truth of the matter is that I’ve been up to no good – I’ve been reading books.  Now that that’s out of my system, I can return to writing.  Why can’t I do both at the same time?  Well, there just aren’t enough hours in the day!  And, um, sometimes my brain can’t handle all the words. 

Now, it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room. 

He's got junk in his trunk!

It’s not just any elephant, see, it’s the Graduate Study Elephant.  It’s my Graduate Study Elephant.  What the heck’s a Graduate Study Elephant?  Stick around and I’ll tell you.

Way back at the beginning of grad school – at orientation, actually – they gave us a big packet of important papers.  You know the kind – a map of the campus, the course catalog, information about parking permits, instructions on how to use the copiers in the library, the school fight song, and a sheet of phone numbers for mental health professionals to contact when the rigors of grad school pushed you over the edge.  Tucked amongst all those important papers was the Graduate Study Elephant.  You were supposed to color it in as you finished each course – coloring in grad school one block at a time.

Now, I don’t know how many of my classmates actually colored in the Graduate Study Elephant but, me?  I ignored all the rest of the information in the packet and focused on that elephant.  Sure, I didn’t know how to operate the copiers in the library and I couldn’t find the financial aid building for a year and half but who cared about that?  I had my Graduate Study Elephant!

At the beginning of each semester, I wrote in the classes that I was taking in each of the little blocks.  1 semester = 3 classes = 3 blocks.  Except for that semester that I took four classes.  And the summer session that I took two classes. 
Looking at my Graduate Study Elephant now is like taking a walk down Graduate School Memory Lane.  There are the course codes that used to roll off my tongue like the alphabet.  There’s the Information Access class in which, upon meeting a girl named Laurel, I said, “Your name’s Laurel and I live in Laurel!”  Introductions are not my strong suit.  Luckily, she didn’t think I was crazy and we’re still friends today. For the record, I still live in Laurel and her name is still, well, Laurel.  Then's there's the Information Structure class – um, the catalog class – that I hated with a passion and for which I almost needed the phone numbers of those mental health professionals (and which now, I’m pretty sure is an example of irony at its best.)  And I can’t forget the management class in which I learned that giving small tokens – such as pens – to staff improves morale (and doesn’t that explain a lot!)  Sorry, I could go on and on…

Anyway, at the end of the semester, as soon as my grades were posted and I knew that I had passed, I diligently colored in the blocks.  After completing three semesters and a summer session, after jumping through the hoops that needed to be jumped through, my Graduate Study Elephant was completely colored in.  And I was an official Master of Library Science (but remember, don’t call me a librarian!)

But what happens when there are no more hoops to jump through?  What happens when there are no more blocks to color in? 

Sure, you end up with a feeling of accomplishment.  Not to mention a colorful elephant. 

Then what? 

I think I need to find something else to color in.    


  1. Firstly I have to tell you that I hopped over from Emily's blog because I was so taken with your guest post. You write so beautifully!

    Just as we gain weight over time, so should the elephant. Make him fatter with room for more blocks. ;)

  2. Thank you so much for visiting Liz! I was excited to take part in Emily's Scenes from Life series.

    I like your take on the elephant!!