Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Just a Suggestion

I teach at a community college, and many of my students want to transfer. Some of them even want to be English majors, God bless 'em. Every spring, I teach British Literature, and in that class I have students who end up transferring to all kinds of places--local CSUs, small colleges, Berkeley, UCLA, Dartmouth--all kinds of places.

A couple of months ago, one of my students said that she wanted to transfer to a school somewhere back East that had a good English program as well as a good program in another specific interest area. Well, as I'm sure you realize, that's quite a broad request. At first, I told her that there were lots of strong English programs and that I didn't know about the other. I mean, really, it reminded me of when I worked at a used bookstore, and people would ask me to recommend a book. Where to begin?!

But then I happened to think of a school that I went to for one of my graduate programs. And I realized that I could totally see this student at that school. It's not a top tier school, but it's very good, and, historically, they have had a very strong English program. I did some research and found out that they have a rather extensive program in her other special interest area. So I told her about the school (which she'd probably never heard of) and gave her some links to check out.

The result? Over the past four weeks or so, she has applied, been accepted, and plans to begin in January. As far as I know, she's never even been to that part of the country. She is very excited, and I'm really excited for her, and I think it will be a good fit. But I'm also a little freaked out about how much my suggestion has just changed the course of her life. What if she hates it or if things turn out badly?


feMOMhist said...

that is such a fabulous moment for you!

The Thirty-Something Bride said...

Dude. She's going to love it.

Gaga said...

Maybe a little culture shock?

Good Enough Woman said...

feMOMhist, It does feel good in some ways, but I'm also a little bit like, "OMG, what have I done?"

T30SB, I hope so. She's going to my second school. You know, the one in the South.

Gaga, Yes, probably. But she's very eager for something different, and I don't think she'll feel as out of place in the Bible Belt as other students would (or as I did!). But still! What have I done?!

Jan said...

It sounds like you've sent her in the right direction which is a good thing.

C. Troubadour said...

Wow! Rarely do we ever get to see the ripple effect of our suggestions travel so far, so quickly. That is terrific news.

I'd be a little freaked out too with the "responsibility" I'd feel for the change in this student's life, but she's ultimately in charge of what happens at the other end and she did make the decision to apply. I can only imagine that a school that has both a good English program AND a strong program in her other area of interest would have many more merits in her eye than an alternative where both of her passions wouldn't necessarily get as much attention (either staying where she is now or finding a different school than the one she'll be attending). Hoping for a good outcome for her :)

feMOMhist said...

you helped her achieve something she originally sought for herself. I assume you didn't paint all rainbows and unicorns and she sounds ambitious

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

Wow. That's pretty amazing. You helped to start a great adventure. It's going to be wonderful.

Good Enough Woman said...

Jan, I hope so!

CT, Yes, and she's also applying for their Honors College and Study Abroad--lots of great opportunities for her. She's a very upbeat student, and I'm guessing she will make the most of it.

feMOMhist, I tried not to do rainbows and unicorns. Really, the first thing I did was just send her the link to direct her to their info, and then she showed up the next day saying, "I love it! I want to apply!"

Fie, I'm definitely excited for her, and I'm sure she will keep me posted! Recently, another former student e-mailed me that he is spending a year at Oxford! I love when I hear about their great adventures.