Archives of Our Lives

{a narrow and broad look into the lives of people I love}

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Freshman Year in Review: Timing and Perspective

I had good grades in high school. Good enough to land myself a full-ride [+ some] scholarship to Arizona State University. I had good grades there, too.


...I took CIS 180 (Computer Information Systems or some blather). It was basically an introduction to computers. I tried to work through it on a PC, even though it was written for both PCs and Macs, and I was raised Mac.

"PCs are taking over the world," I reasoned archaically, "so I might as well jump on the bandwagon." [I have since learned the errors of my ways. Tenfold. I will never again turn away from the glory that is Mac--at least as long as Steve Jobs is alive and out of federal penitentiary.]

But besides that, my life was nevertheless askew. I was going through a very...shall we say...defining time. In other words, I was totally out of it. My life, that is. I was dating a guy who I knew was all wrong for me. I should say, though, that despite my life in limbo, I still made some wonderful memories that semester. Like skydiving. And wing nights at Native New Yorker. And playing Make Me Laugh for hours on end.

But I digress.

I took a class learning on different computers than I was used to, during the stupidest time in my life. Needless to say, I failed CIS 180--failed so badly they didn't even give me an "F." I got an "E" for whatever "E" stood for [it slips my mind]. I lost my scholarship. Lost it, and lost it good. I was going to quit college altogether. I loathed ASU, I'd distanced myself from my parents, and I really needed to gain perspective.

Someday I'll delve deeper into the perspective I eventually found. For now, I want to show you what I did do in my CIS 180 class, (when I decided to show up) since I clearly was determined not to learn anything:

Inspired by the girl doodling next to me, I took it upon myself to fill in the entire back cover of my steno notebook completely...with tiny circles. You have no idea how long and tedious a process this actually is; in time, my quest morphed into something different...something much more profound. Instead of filling in the entire back cover, I let my eyes glaze over, my mind wander off, and my hand toil away. Class after class I drew tiny circles, and before long I'd created the form of a being--a being that has been a cause of deep introspection in years since.

My steno person took on a life of its own. Soon, I jotted down a few choice words to spice up the doodle: "laugh," "golf," "becaSUE." Whether because I heard those words during class lectures, I thought they would add meaning to my creation, or I just figured they would be fun to write, I cannot recall.

Some more details:

I gave my creature eyes, but no mouth--maybe it was my outward depiction of how I was taking a spectator's stance on my own life (i.e. observing, but never speaking my mind). Or maybe I just liked the squiggle the "h" served for said purpose.

Why did I spell "because" incorrectly? Did I secretly wish I'd been named "Sue?" Was it merely an oversight? Is it actually an anagram for something else? Some secret code I've since forgotten? I might never know.

Whatever the reason for it and its nuances, I've come to view this doodle as a sort of abstract version of myself--my unreserved, "let-it-all-hang-out" self. I have long since tossed away the accompanying notes from CIS 180 [what sparse notes I took]. That class meant nothing to me. But I cannot bring myself to discard this doodle.

What should I do with it?

*p.s. I retook CIS 180 few semesters later, and scored a 99%, receiving the highest grade on the final exam out of the entire class. It was all a matter of timing, I suppose. Timing and perspective.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


How very interesting...I never ever knew this about you. Thanks for sharing...

March 18, 2008 at 11:46 PM  
Blogger Loralee Choate said...


Of course, I had to take it when they still studies DOS, which was enough to make me stick eleventyhundred forks in my eye.

Some days I got so dang frustrated I would just type "Tree" because it would make my computer at least do SOMETHING IN THAT FRIGGING PROGRAM.

I failed it. Took it again? Got an A. Yay.

March 19, 2008 at 12:11 AM  
Blogger Raygon said...

mmmm...wing night at Native New Yorker. I could not even pay attention to the rest of the post because I was thinking of those yummy wings.

March 19, 2008 at 7:19 AM  
Blogger Cristin said...

It's always those stupid classes that get you, because you know how stupid it is, you don't even want to work at it.

I got a D in Basic Stage Lighting at NAU. BASIC STAGE LIGHTING - which really was, as my parents said, turning a switch on and off.

March 19, 2008 at 7:58 AM  
Blogger A Letter To Kayleen said...

i always find great release in throwing/giving things away. just ask my family. i throw everything away. my journals, my art work when i was younger, clothing i've made, even pictures of family. i'm not sure what compulsion i'm serving when i do it. but i do know that immediately after i've tossed it out, everything seems to be put back into perspective and a sense of calm follows. i guess i don't want to feel like i'm letting something tangible define who i am. because in the end, anything you can physically hold on to probably won't be worth the effort. (except for people of course...some people, not all.)

set her free, camille. set her free.


March 19, 2008 at 8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i draw weird stuff like that occasionally as well. i find it fun to put secret messages in my artwork that no one could understand, but define how i feel. if you want to let the memory of the class go, throw it away. if you like remembering what you were thinking, and think that it could help you later on, keep it.

March 19, 2008 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Joel said...

Very interesting post. I also took this class-of-the-devil. I had the wife of the guy who REALLY taught it as the teacher of my section. She would go over the tests BEFORE we took it. I never really thought this fair to the people in the other three or four sections of the class that had the real teacher because I really doubt he was giving answers out. But whatever. The homework was THE STUPIDEST WASTE OF MY TIME. EVER. At any rate, it was the easiest A I ever got. Sorry that the dumbest class in the history of man jumped up and bit you in the buttocks.

March 19, 2008 at 5:11 PM  
Blogger Joel said...

And we have planted our plants inside in pots because we aren't allowed to put them outside until the end of April. Based on our relative planting schedules, I'd say you are a month from springlike weather...

So look into starting your seeds or whatever inside. You'll get more production out of them that way.

March 19, 2008 at 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

keep it.till you're done with it.

wonderful, thought inspiring post, thank you.

March 20, 2008 at 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No new blog???

March 20, 2008 at 11:23 PM  

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