If you attend a public university in the state of New York — most have an undergraduate population that rivals the city of Beijing — it is possible to go four years without any faculty or staff interaction.
Except for the cafeteria ladies. They patrol the lunch lines to make sure no one takes more than a single serving of ketchup. I never understood this conservation of ketchup. It was the 80s. The Reagan years. Ketchup was classified as a vegetable. Who ever heard of restricting students from consuming plant-based substances other than cannabis?
Anyway, without any oversight — not even from a computer — it came to pass that it was mid-term of the spring semester of my senior year when I discovered that I would fall one credit short of the magic number required for graduation.
Fortunately, the school had something called the “Quarter Course”. These classes ran only half a semester but required twice the regular instructional hours to earn the standard course credit. I raced to the Registrar’s Office to find a class that would enable me to graduate in May.
Unfortunately, the only one credit course with available seats that fit my ongoing work and school schedule was Beginning Bowling. At 7 am. Four times a week.
Though it was not what I had in mind for my final days of college, I trudged to the Student Center every Monday through Thursday at the crack of dawn to join the other slackers at the alley.
Our teacher, a short rotund woman with a thunderous voice, choreographed our movements like she was the director of some twisted version of A Chorus Line. But instead of “Five, Six, Seven, EIGHT” she would boom “Step, Step, Step, GLIDE!”
The weather improved each week but my scores did not. Blame it on the late nights or the early mornings or on my as yet undiagnosed Raynaud’s or arthritis. It doesn’t matter. At semester’s end, my average was just 43 (out of 300).
Despite my dismal performance, the instructor passed me, allowing me to graduate sunna cum maius. To celebrate, my friends took me bowling.
© 2013 Jaclyn Schrier. All rights reserved.