Sorry this is so late. Writing this is getting harder. It’s easy to write the parts I don’t remember. But going back to school… It’s the parts I remember that hurt the most.
Going back to school was… strange. I’d been gone for at least three months, and the students around me were so normal. They were totally, blissfully unaware of everything that had changed.
I still had a ridiculous amount of make-up work to complete. In addition to my regular classwork, I did make-up. I was basically doing twice as much work as the other students, and it took me twice as long to do the assignments. I turned in my last make-up assignment on the day before the school year ended.
The experience became a litmus test of my teachers. My Senior Journalism teacher, Ron Clemons, was sadly familiar with tragic accidents – an encounter with a drunk driver had killed his first wife many years before. He knew my work, and he gave me an A for my missed assignments without requiring me to do anything. My elective British Literature teacher, Alan Hunter, was also familiar with my work. He’d been impressed by an essay on Othello that I’d turned in the year before. He, too, gave me an A without requiring me to do anything.
My college physics 101 professor, Dr. Jennifer Snyder, went out of her way to ensure I would succeed. I had a LOT of make-up work for that class, but she tutored me privately (and at no cost) after school, one or two days per week. It took the remainder of the school year to complete all the make-up work, alongside the current work, but I did. I think Dr. Snyder wanted me to succeed as much or more than I did. I’ve never forgotten that.
The good teachers made the year tolerable. I couldn’t have gotten through it without them.
Other teachers, though, were a nightmare. My College Prep English teacher made me re-write a particular essay five times, each time saying I wasn’t following the directions but not explaining what I’d done wrong. In hindsight, I’m pretty sure she was convinced that I should have been forced to drop her class. I later learned that my mother had contacted Ms. Alvested, explained the situation, and she had intervened on my behalf.
The one class I wound up dropping was college calculus 101. My calculus professor was good, and very supportive of my efforts to finish the class, but he didn’t reach out as much as the physics professor. I don’t fault him for that. After a month or so, I realized that I was in over my head. I visited Ms. Alvested and was given a “withdraw/pass” grade for that class.
The end of my senior year is still a blur. I was working so hard, constantly tired, studying almost every moment that I was awake. I even quit wearing contact lenses just so I could sleep a few extra minutes!
Graduation was such a relief. I know graduation is a big deal for every senior, as it should be, but for me – it was just more. Not only had I graduated, I had finished all but one of my honors classes and completed 11 out of 16 college-credit hours. I had defied statistics. I cannot even begin to express my relief.