From Spring To Spring: My work-study experience


It was at the end of the fall semester of 2016 that I applied for a work-study position in the English and Communications Department at my college.

My ENC1102 professor, whose class I had just taken, worked in the office. I thought he was wonderful and we had a good rapport, so I figured he’d put in a good word for me.

As a little something extra, I brought the latest issue of Bella Grace magazine in which my poem had been published.  I wanted to show that I was the real story, the genuine article (puns intended)–that I loved what they loved.

I say, there is something about showing your professor your accomplishment that pertains to their field of expertise that makes you all glowy. It’s sort of like making your parents proud. Maybe the kid inside us never grows up.  Even though I live in my own home, with a husband and child, I still don’t quite feel like a grown-up–I just happen to be mature for my age.


For four semesters, I worked with four awesome people (and met many more awesome people)–people who were there for me during the most difficult times in my life.  In the transient world of restaurant and retail, I felt my work-study family was my first true “work family.”


This spring, I took two math classes so I could stay on one last semester.  (If you are scheduled for less than six credit hours in your major, you are ineligible for the program.) Even though that was totally nuts, leading me to spent eighty-plus hours in the math lab, I completed my greatest accomplishment: I passed both classes with B’s.

For me, that’s just about as good as it gets.


Work-studying in my favorite department (History, Language, and Social Sciences would’ve been my second choice) gave me time to think about just what it was I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

It was my Benjamin Braddock moment–without the complication of a Mrs. Robinson (or, in my case, a Mr. Robinson. I am married, after all).

Though I will likely have to commence my professional career as a medical assistant, it was because I went back to school to major in Health Information Technology that I learned that there is a place for me in the professional writing world, beyond journalism, beyond literature.

There are needs to be filled, and I know where to look for them now.



Poem-a-Day April 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #23. Theme: Action

Action Figure

I come with coffee,
which is a bit of a cheat,
like doping.
But it gets me going,
to get it done–
all those things that
make my eyes glaze,
my brain become dazed,
like problems
(not exercises,
as they are so politically-correctly called)
with numbers.
Finals are almost here,
and then I can toss all my notes
into the bonfire
while drinking my java,
spiked with vodka.

Poem-a-Day April 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #14. Theme: Report

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Starr Reporter

Starr was a crackerjack ink slinger
for The Scoop at Pence State College,
covering events such as the Modern Mime show,
put on by the ASL Lousy Poets Club
(a small group),
archery intramurals on Valentine’s Day,
(where Professor Kewpid was the target),
& The Great Brown-Bagged Fake n’ Bake Swap
from extra credit-hungry culinary students.

She treated her articles like she treated people–
making what the world deemed unimportant feel important,
for she’d been taught that genuine class
was neither in the threads of her clothes
nor in the strands of her DNA,
but in how she treated others.

2018 April PAD Challenge: Day 14

Poem-a-Day April 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #3. Theme: Stop/Don’t Stop


Stopping by the Plasma Center on a Tuesday Afternoon

They were known as “The Plasmatics”—
Paisley, Sage, Rosemary, and Tim—
trading blood money for gas money
every Tuesday and Friday,
after Gender Neutrality class.

From Subway left over from various campus events,
to ramen from the campus food bank—
they kept their bodies operating at a good 80%—
enough to know the difference between zim and whazim.

So they sold their cloudy gold by the pints,
earning bonuses and rewards like lab rats,
until the day Tim went numb in the arm
from an inept phlebotomist,
and went to selling his sperm,
thinking himself a modern-day Father Abraham,
leading where the girls could not follow.

Groused, they did,
at the inequality of his ability to make the deposits,
while they were reduced to being the withdrawers.

That is,
until they realized the upside of membership in such a bank:
They never had to worry about being overdrawn.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #432: Spring


The American Spring of Mrs. Jones

Her life was a brimful,
her family,
a handful.
So many things divided her attention,
commanding it,
and she fought the distractions
as if they were dragons,
slaying them with more commitments—
all because she felt that her time
to make the most of herself was
running out.

She’d seen it all coming—
this season of late nights in the library,
of numerous hours in the tutoring lab,
fighting the mind and memory
that seemed to work against her sometimes.
But she had prepared for it
like a Doomsday prepper,
when something
no one
could have seen coming,
slammed her from behind,
scattering her
like the loose-leaf sheets of her textbooks
that fell out of her broken binders.

She’d been so consumed with being productive—
and trying to figure out a curious sort of arithmetic,
trying to tie the ends together that didn’t quite meet,
that she didn’t,
allow herself to think about anything else.

When that crash happened,
it was as if the universe had made a terrible mistake—
as if what was happening now
wasn’t supposed to happen
until twenty years from now.

And though her life,
as she lived it,
changed little,
her world seemed so sad and strange,
yet she still heard her child’s laugh
in the next room.

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 432

Journalism Conference Notes: My Conclusion

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I returned from the National College Media Convention last night, refreshed and ready to write, with at least forty newspapers from other colleges to examine.  I learned the importance of taking notes, for I would’ve never been able to remember everything.

I had the opportunity not just to learn, but to listen to two keynote speakers:  Hugh Aynesworth–the only person to witness JFK’s assassination, Oswald’s arrest and murder–and Bob Schieffer, of CBS’s “Face the Nation.”  Even though I’m not a news junkie (go figure), I enjoyed their speeches very much.

Bob Schieffer had a few pieces of advice for us (which one could apply to any vocation):

  1. Be on time.  Because I don’t have my own transportation, I’ve chosen to show up to work an hour early, rather than take the chance of being late.  And what do I do for that hour?  I’m writing, studying, and being productive.
  2. Answer the phone.  This is something I need to work on.  I have a cheap cell phone (i.e. the kind you’d find in a dumpster), but I keep the ringer turned off most of the time–especially since it went off in class once.
  3. Don’t be looking at your phone while crossing the street.  I never do this, much less drive while talking on it, but, considering I hate talking on it anyway, it’s not much of a sacrifice.

Schieffer went on to say that journalism is a service.  I’d never thought of journalism quite that way–I’d always seen it as more of a product to be consumed.

He went on to talk about fake news, making sure to include examples from both sides.  He was very charming, and so was his story about why he always wears purple socks.  If you care about the answer, google it (as I didn’t catch every detail and don’t want to be accused of disseminating fake news.)


Mr. Aynesworth’s advice was to always have a pen and paper with you because you never know what’s going to happen.  When he was at the Kennedy assassination, he grabbed a pen from a stranger and used two utility bills in his pocket to take notes.

I just learned that lesson myself recently, when I had to take notes at a Philosophy Club meeting.  I was all the way in the building before I realized I had nothing to write on.  I managed to grab a couple of outdated fliers from the bulletin boards (though I did have a pen or twenty).  Even though I had my laptop, I will always scribble my notes in a notebook first.  Here is a good reason why:

So, I have about twenty pages of scribbles to transcribe (and maybe translate).  One complaint was, at least for one session, was that the speakers left too much time open for questions.  I’m there to listen to the speaker, not to those who ask lame-ass Captain Obvious questions just because they want to talk and be seen.


As glamorous as the hard news is, it will never be me.  When it comes to being in the loop, I’m always a day late and several dollars short, so I’m the go-to girl when it comes to features.  I like having the time to write, edit, and polish my stories, and I don’t like crowds.


So, I brought back an extra dose of self-motivation–not just for writing copy, but also for photography and graphic design.  I sought not just to become better at what I’m already good at, but at those other things that interest me, nonetheless.

What’s more, I realized how grateful I am to belong to a school that invests in their students–not just through scholarships, but through opportunities like these, which have enriched my college experience immensely.



Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #413: Recognition

The Brown-Haired Scholar

She was a brunette Elle Woods,
with her retro, candied apple lipstick
& Eighties crimp,
filling out the vintage colors she wore
a little too snugly.
Through 12 semesters
of caffeine binges,
math lab hours,
writing tutors,
solidifying soft skills,
sharpening hard ones,
& breaking her own records;
through changing her mind
(if no one else’s) &
learning from examples,
as well as her own,
she found herself
inspired by those examples,
& herself more capable
than she had ever allowed herself to be.

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 413