K. Quinlan - UAB English Professor
it's 2:30 p.m. and i'm in my last class of the day. creative writing. a blank piece of paper in front of me and pen in my hand. it is my first writing assignment. the instructions are to write a one page autobiography using as many literary elements as possible. my autobiography. i'm going to need a much larger sheet of paper. i pick up my pen and write:
"my name is nadia wilder. i am blooming late."
today marked my triumphant return to a college campus as a full time student. okay, triumphant is probably not the appropriate adjective. but still. i returned to college today for the first time in nearly a decade, and when you reflect on all the moments that led me to this one and combine it with the fact i have a part time job and two small children, well, triumphant may be appropriate after all.
surprisingly, there wasn't an enormous amount of fear or apprehension in me as i commuted downtown this morning. having watched chloe march so bravely off into the doors of kindergarten and into a new phase of her life last week without trepidation was very inspiring. if i can aspire to have the childlike faith in God, then certainly i can aspire for the childlike bravery of a new beginning.
oh, i had some superficial concerns. you know, like, if would i look obviously older than all of my classmates or if would i be the only "kid" on campus - or in class - without a net book. but the deeper concern - the one under girding it all - was will i remain consistent in trusting the Lord in the path He has directed or would i, even in this first day, allow the seeds of worry and self-doubt to creep in? .
it has only been a few short weeks since God shifted the direction of my studies, directing my path back towards the pursuit of my first major, English and of my first real love, writing. i had trusted Him wholeheartedly and was consequently, walking by faith. i felt peaceful contentment, assurance in Him and not in myself as i made my way towards my first class and to the front row. i prayed a quick prayer as i sat in silence. "i have no idea what i'm doing here. i have no idea what i'm doing, period. but i trust in you and while i don't have an urgent need to know your plans for me, Lord, i do have a rather urgent need to know i am following them. confirm your plans in me."
in each of my four classes, certain words and phrases spoken by my professors began to ring loudly in my head, composing a sweet song of confirmation in my heart. words like: rationalities and ideologies. phrases like: central theoretical approaches and logical argumentation; figurative, metaphorical and emotive language. while there were a few non-English majors in my midst who were likely moved to tears by boredom, i found myself moved to tears by sheer elation. this is it. i had trusted, stepped out in faith and was now in the midst of pursuing a degree in a subject that, literally, makes my heart leap with joy.
English. the word - as a major - conjures up negative and misconstrued connotations. it evokes elementary and junior high memories of grammar and language and punctuation. but English, as a major, is so all-encompassing. so multifaceted. close reading. writing. critical thinking. it is the heart of an arts & humanities major and after a near decade-long "break" from college and years spent meandering through all of my core curriculum classes, its unfathomable to me how i walked through nearly three years of college courses and thirty three years of life without realizing - or rather, remembering - how absolutely in love i am with English and writing.
"There are some future dimensions of life which cannot be planned out or figured out until we are living through them". ~ K. Quinlan, Professor of English
i am so grateful for the opportunity to return to college. so grateful for the gift of being able to study and pursue something that i truly love. despite the affinity i have developed in recent years for all things fitness related, i can't help but think of the tears of boredom that would have been brimming in my eyes and self-doubt that would've been brimming in my heart had i been sitting through physiology and algebra classes today.
instead, i end the first day back to school doing something i love - and have always loved - i'm writing. my autobiography - in synopsis form. i give a snapshot of my life so far, glossing over irrelevant details, hitting the highs and the lows and God's redemptive hand in all of it. i'm writing fervently. furiously, even. my pen is racing to the end of the sheet of paper. i have only a tiny space to finish:
"every moment in my life has led me to this moment, to this day, when i would return to college at the age of thirty three. seeds have been planted throughout my life, the Lord has fertilized the soil of my heart. this flowing fountain of knowledge will rain down on me and i... i am ready to bloom!".
it is my prayer that i bloom for the glory of Christ.
"Whatever you do,
work at it with all your heart,
as working for the Lord,
not for men."