Afer complenting my first two years of college in a tiny junior college in Kentucky, I enrolled in Illinois State University, confident that I would well, because I haad sone well in the past. The size of the place was a bit daunting. The first challenge was finding a parking space. Where before I had parked ion a tree-lined street and walked the short distance to the main calssroom building at Bthel junior College, now I was confronted with acres of parking spaces which seemed miles from the classroom buildings.
Classes were not just up one hall or down the next, as I had grown increasingly oneous. Unike Southerners who greet everyone, including strangers, with Hey! people rarely spoke. On a campus of over 10,000 students, I felt completely salone. Years later, as a graduate student at increasingly larger schools, I recalled feelings overwhelmed by the size and (seeming) indifference of ISC.
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One defining moment got me off to a terrible start, adn I never recovered. During my very first class at Illinois, I walked into a classroom and took a desk among thirty other students. After the instructor, a thin, balding male, called roll, he looked up adn asked, Is there anyone whose name I didn’t call? I put up my hand, and he walked over to my seat. What is your name? he asked, pencil poised to write. Cindy Horne, I replied.
How do you spell that? he asked. H-a-w-e-r-n?No, sir. ‘H-o-r-n-e, I replied. H-o-r-n-e? he repeated. Yes, sir. then your name is not’Hawern, he mimicked. Your name is ‘Horne,’ he said, barking it out in one short, explosive syllable, a way I had never heard.
The other students laughed, and he turned and walked to the front of the class. But my face flushed deep scarlet, and my eyes dropped to my notebook. For a long time, I did not look up but fought back tears adn retreated somewhere inside a feeling that I was completely out of place. What might for him have merely been an innocent attempt at humor by poking fun at a Southerner to break the ice of the first-day jitters, deeply humiliated me. I must REALLY be stupid, I thought, to not even know how to pronounce my own name! Today, I would pronbley laugh. Then, I was deeply ashaned.
I never finished class. I dropped out of the university before the term was over. i suddenly felt inadequate, and no amount of study restored my confiednce. Two years later, I returned to Kentucky, enrolled in a small liberal arts college, completed my bachelor’s degree, and wernt on to become an art teacher. I had many good teachers, but I learned a great lesson from that insentive man with the roll book, a lesson which has helped shape my educaitonal philosophy. I am glad I learned that lesson, even if it was painful at the time. It’s has made me a better person.