Friday, March 6, 2009

School is a tater tot

The other day I covered a job fair at a community college in Des Moines. Immediately, the scent of delicious, succulent tators tots assaulted my senses. That one smell alone brought me back. Back to the days of elementary school when I'd be lucky enough to get a hot lunch with tator tots and salty ketchup. To the days of writing in cursive, the thick cut of scissors through construction paper, pink eraser dust. I loved the way lead scraped on lined paper. The smell of those crispy potatoes reminded me of how much I loved school, and miss it.

I never thought I liked school when I was actually in it. I'd dread going to classes, raising my hand, writing tedious long papers about subjects I didn't care about. In college I skipped astronomy almost every day and still got an "A". I just wanted to learn on my own time, not in a crowded lecture hall with 300 students. The classes I thoroughly enjoyed in college were Spanish, and electronic media, but even then I wanted it all to be done, so I could be a "big girl" and go out into the world.

Now that its been 6 years since I graduated college, I realize how truly inspiring it was. I loved walking in the cold across campus through towering oaks and willow trees, my backpack pulling my shoulders. I liked the sharp, inquisitive minds of young students all around me. I really enjoyed being exposed to new things, being on the radio for the first time, editing my first television package. Everything was fresh, and exciting.

In the past 6 years, when someone asked "Do you ever think of getting your Masters?" I always answered with a heartfelt and resounding, "NO WAY!." But now, I'm not so sure. Maybe it would be fun to once again learn something new. Perhaps psychology, my other profession of choice. Then I think of a tuition tab in the thousands of dollars, the tedious reading, being forced to write pages and pages of papers.

Maybe I'd be better off checking out a few psych books from the library, and some tater tots from Trader Joe's. I can bring back that newness of learning, it's up to me.


Lisa said...

Hey, if you get Mexi-Fries from Taco Time, you can satisfy your Spanish cravings AND have delicious potato treats at the same time!

Travis said...

I second the Mexi-Fries...and then just stop in at half price books and get like 10 books for 10 can make your OWN school :)

Dan-Eric Slocum said...



- A - C - said...

amazing how tastes and smells imprint into our memory for later evoking.
Teaching now at university still brings the refreshing sensation of that hunger for knowledge I used to experience in my own time. I should thank all my students for it.

Paula said...

True enough, I think in college or "pre adult world" we have more control over our time - more goof-off time, more learning-new-things-time - before we get into a more rigid routine as an adult, which often involves being too tired to do much else. I think we miss this. Also when you are 20, Tater Tots don't cause immediate 50 lb. rear end weight gain, LOL. I totally agree that unless you want to make a new career, you can lose yourself in learning via books. Books are my weakness. And my parents, two very bright non-college-educated folks are almost entirely self educated with books (and the school of the real world, and TV news shows). And do go have some Tater Tots. (I didn't even know Trader Joe's had them.) Never had Mexi Fries! But Belgian Fries at the Green Dragon (PDX) - may as well have died and gone to heaven.

Paula said...

PS - Actually, to correct my post, my dad had an A.A. degree from city college, and mom was accepted to a prestigious LA art college, where she attended before dropping out to get married and have us kids. (Back then, you couldn't do both.) And she did continue to do art as time permitted.