Things were much better for me financially at school that year. I had the position back in my freshman dorm as the RA (resident assistant) even on the same floor, Third South. The Second South RA and I developed a wonderful friendship - we would stand on the steps between our two floors, long after the girls had been "checked in" and talk - we called each other "roommates." That was the first year of the experiment - requiring freshman girls to be in their rooms from 8-10 p.m. for "study hours." Now, the guys didn't have to be in, but the theory was that if the girls were in, the boys would be, too. HA!! It essentially ruined my social life, because I was in the dorm at 8:00 as well, with no time to be "circulating." But I sure got good grades! Then from 10-11, they were free to roam, do their night-time rituals, with lights out at 11:00. Oh, my goodness, what a challenge it was to get them to settle back down after that hour of "freedom."
Besides that position, which again covered my room and half board (which meant meals), I was able to obtain a spot in the Registrar's Office. I really enjoyed working there. What a civilized job that was. It was there I discovered that my freshman boyfriend, who had since dropped out, had 31 hours of F on his transcript. I could never have stayed with anyone who cared that little about his grades! I still wonder whatever happened to him - he went into the service and probably ended up in Viet Nam, but nobody knows where he landed. If he survived.
That summer when I went home, it was to a place where I had never lived before. My folks had taken a new church and moved from Nebraska to Colorado. I had visited at Spring Break, but never spent much time in the "new house." I was short a few credits to be able to graduate the next year, so I took 3 English classes at Colorado State University, little dreaming that someday it would become my place of employment. I was totally intimidated by the huge campus, compared to my small intimate Christian school. I was also horrified by some of the class discussions, after my wonderful Christian professors. But it was a good eye-opening experience, and I spent every non-working moment reading, because all of the courses were literature. I landed a job at a grocery store down the street from our house. It wasn't a great job, by any means, but it brought in a bit of money, and was workable around the school schedule. Believe it or not, we had to wear pink uniforms to check out groceries in those days. And - we had to memorize the produce prices every day.
There was another young guy working there that summer, and he and I became friends. I actually went on one date with him. Years later, I worked in the school where his kids attended - oh, my goodness, he had changed drastically - and NOT for the better. I was very happy that one date didn't go any further! (As a matter of fact, as I look back, I had 3 guys I was interested in at one time or another who all grew to immense proportions as they aged - I am blessed to have a husband who takes such good care of himself!)
During my senior year I was really unable to carry a job - my class load was large and very full of time-intensive projects as an elementary ed. major. Second semester I went into student teaching, which extended into the summer. I was chosen for an honor, which didn't turn out so well for me after all. There were 30 of us from the state of Oklahoma (3 from my school) who were put into an experimental program called CUTE (Cooperative Urban Teacher Education). We spent quite a bit of time in sessions with psychologists, sociologists, and other "experts" who were to help us learn to work in the inner city with economically and educationally disadvantaged children. We had to present lessons in front of a camera, to critique ourselves and attempt to improve. Not fun!
Unfortunately, I was assigned to a young teacher who had somehow managed to have 3 student teachers by her second year of teaching - not only unwise, but against the rules. I don't know how she managed it, but she didn't have to spend much time teaching. Consequently, she did not do a good job of supervising or teaching me. I was so frustrated that I changed placements with only 5 weeks left of school. This teacher was very old and ready for retirement. She was not about to turn over her classroom to a novice for the last few days of school!
Besides teaching in these run down buildings, working with kids who had great needs, we had to volunteer at their youth centers in the evenings. We never had time to have a decent dinner, had to eat lunch with them in the school cafeteria, and were generally run ragged and exhausted. On top of it all, it extended into the summer, so I graduated on a Sunday and had to go back to teaching the next day while everyone else packed up and went home.
The miracles that came about in my life during that last year of school are the stuff of family legends. I found a scrapbook recently which had my school bill from sophomore year glued in. The note below says, "The financial situation is alleviated! By the time I left school, the school owed me $.19!" This was accomplished by lots of hard work, some scholarships, the National Student Defense Loan (which was given to those preparing to teach - one year was forgiven for each year you taught, up to 5 years, so you only had to pay back half), and some grants.
My entire college experience was one of depending on the Lord for day to day needs. Mom and Dad couldn't help us - as much as they could they'd get us needed supplies when we were home on breaks. But we were on our own - with the Lord's help. And that was what we needed! The daily needs were met by babysitting, which I mentioned before I did not like. Those jobs were announced over the P.A. system in the dorm - if you were free that evening and wanted the job, you'd answer the phone call and get the job. One night, the guy brought me back to the dorm in a less than sober condition - I was scared to death. I would get a somewhat regular job, and if I couldn't do it one night I'd send my sister instead. I never got the job back, because she was a really good babysitter - she liked playing with the kids, while I wanted them to go to bed so I could study or read a good book!
I also typed assignments for people - mostly guys. I had a portable, elite font, Smith Corona manual typewriter. One of the guys I typed for would loan me his portable electric, pica font typewriter sometimes. The pica was larger, so their papers looked longer when typed on this machine. I developed the reputation for being able to "stretch" their papers! I would help the preacher boys in their writing by correcting some of their errors and editing a bit, but their English papers were left as they wrote them - good, bad, or indifferent. I made lots of good friends that way! And a bit of spending money. One guy became a pastor here in Colorado and I'd see him and his wife often for years. One night he brought me his paper in bits and pieces all night long - in fact, I had to go over to the upper class dorm, which was connected to our freshman dorm, to get his "pieces" - the last pages were turned over to me at 6:30 or so, out the back door, to be ready for a 7:30 class. A few days later, he met me on campus with a big grin on his face and said, "We got a B!" He still tells people that I typed his papers in college because his girlfriend (who became his wife and a good friend of mine), wouldn't do it for him! Hilarious.
That one typing class I took my sophomore year in high school was probably the most valuable class I ever took, in terms of how much it has helped me get through life. More on that to come.
NEXT UP: BEYOND GRADUATION