Subtitled; Moments for this Nontraditional Student to Remember
13) Taking an English 102 class 20 years after my English 101 class and not only passing my portfolio judging final, but being urged by the judges to enter the campus essay contest, and actually winning first place in in the 102 category for my portfolio submission titled “Beyond Duality; Exploring two-spirit identities within North American Indian culture and their ongoing struggle for acceptance in contemporary Western society”. Talk about blowing your mind. I remember reading academic essays and thinking I can never write those because the language was too inaccessible. Imagine my surprise when I wrote this essay in my own style, using what I considered accessible language, and had professors at the awards ceremony voice disappointment when they found out that I was not an English major.
12) The moment I made the decision to let go of the determination to be practical in my choice of degree, a choice was leaving me in completely lost as to what path I wanted to take, and to go with my heart. Theatre was always a great love for me, in fact I have never been able to go to a performance and not find myself wishing I was backstage with the crew.
11) Continuing on from # 12, getting to do deck sound and run crew for the big mainstage musical, No No Nanette. It was a lot of work, and long hours, but I hadn’t realized how much I missed working theater until then. I was tired, at times frustrated, but I was incredibly happy.
10) The moment I realized that through working as an activist as well as a senator within the campus government I really could make a difference. I admit if the previous student government body hadn’t pissed me off I never would’ve run for office in the first place, but I did because I wanted to see things change. I still would never say things like parliamentary procedure comes easy for me, but I found through researching the issues and sharing my own passion I really could change minds.
09) Also connected to #10 was the opportunity I had to sponsor a gender inclusive housing legislature that was presented and passed through our student government. I was not only honored to be asked to sponsor this, and to speak on it, but thrilled to see that the legislature passed unanimously with in our rather diversely political senate body.
08) Surviving my stint as assistant director for this year’s Vagina Monologues, including some minor controversy the director I had to deal with because of our decision to include my eight-year-old daughter in the production. We made this choice because girls even younger than her are facing horrible atrocities and abuse on a global scale, so it seemed only appropriate to us that she represent their voice. In the end, though the audience seemed surprised to see a young girl have even a limited appearance in the production, after they got over their initial shock everybody seemed very pleased and enthusiastically cheered her every time she came on stage.
07) Being voted in as treasurer of the American Indian Student Association. Not only was it a reminder of a level of acceptance I had not before experienced within my Intertribal community, but it forced me to challenge my own ideas around my abilities, or lack thereof, in math. Partially due to the issues in #4 I will not be able to continue as treasurer, however I still plan to make as much time as I can spare to be active within the AISA.
06) Getting an A- in my natural sciences class. My first semester I took a science class based on plants, because I figured if I have to take natural sciences I might as well take one based on something I have some knowledge about. I do herbal medicine and gardening, including retained knowledge about organic gardening techniques. In the past science has been one of my least favorite subjects, not necessarily because I don’t like it because I rarely understand the content. Getting the A- and knowing I had worked very hard for that grade, was a great feeling.
05) The revelation of knowing not only could I do career in theater, but that there was someplace that my special skills fit perfectly into. You see I totally geek out when it comes to crafts arts, especially around textiles and recycled projects. Nothing to me is more fun than taking something and turning it into something else completely unrecognizable and beautiful. I found out this semester I can do that for a living. It’s called being a properties artisan. I was like, “You mean I can do all this stuff I do for fun anyway and actually get paid for it? Is that legal?” Heh.
04) Related to #5, being accepted into the theater department’s BFA in technical production, specifically in the specialty of properties production. It will be a lot of work, a lot of hours, and I can’t imagine being happier doing anything else except maybe for my writing. The BFA time demands will likely limit my writing time at least until graduation, but with some effective time management and the cooperation of my muse, I’ll manage.
03) As continued for #10, being reelected for a second term as the Senate representative for the Peck school of the Arts. When my fellow senators approached me to run for a second term, I was surprised. As I said before I am an activist so I’m not always easy on folks when I think they have said or done something out of order, or when I am feeling very passionate about a particular subject that affects the student body in some way. By being asked to serve another term, I figured they just hadn’t gotten enough abuse from me and wanted more. Apparently the student body who voted agreed with this assessment.
02) Being approached by the campus newspaper to be interviewed about my work within the SA (Student Association) as well as my work as an author. Wow. Here’s a link to the article (/peckschoolnews.uwm.edu/news/2011/04/th
01) Surviving two years of college after two decades away, and coming away from the experience feeling stronger and more confident as woman, as an activist, and as an artist. I don’t know how much the people around me notice the changes in me, but I can see them and feel them. There are times I am still scared and wonder if my voice will be heard, but there are far more times than there used to be that I step beyond the fear and speak out. I’ve experiences to share, lessons to teach as well as to learn, and determination to make a change in myself and the world around me. I have a couple more years ahead of me in school, and I look forward to what those years hold and what I will become when I reach the other side.
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