Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Back to School . . .

I got an opportunity to scratch a long, long festering "itch" today.

I was asked to go to take part of the day to speak with two classes of future/aspiring public relations professionals on the nature and improtance of "pitching" at Wichita State University.

I was once an aspiring academic! Yep. Call me "Prof" or "Doc" because when I started my masters program at GW I seriously intended to go on to pursue a PhD in political science at an Ivy League institution (and I was accepted to go to two of them).

I don't know what about my ego told me that I was smart enough and talented enough to help shape the future (and/or analyze the past) but that was a long, long held "goal" of mine that I first "postponed" and then cancelled altogether once I met and fell in love with Joy (she only ever encouraged me to pursue my goal, for the record).

Anywho - my day with the WuShocks . . . I was truly scared to go and "teach" - I put off, true to my nature, preparing my "lecture" until 5:00 a.m. the morning of my first class and I was not really sure how well I would connect with the 20-somethings that would be staring at me.

I still sometimes see myself as a 500 pound man that is easy to mock, especially to cynical college kids with their "hoodies" and "messenger bags" (smile). I even felt COMPELLED to mention this here blog in my talk and to clarify that I was "still losing weight" (lest they were snickering at the skinnier me).

I guess it was all for naught. No one laughed or rolled their eyes at me and no one mentioned my physical presence at all. I was really, really relieved to get some good interaction and interest and attention in the class, frankly.

I left feeling like the proverbial King of the World.

THEN my second lecture happened . . . oh my. NOTHING against the kids in that class (if they Google me I don't want them to decide TO mock me) but I just could not seem to connect. Same presentation. Same lame jokes. Same relative amount of energy. NOTHING. It was painful - for me and seemingly for them. They were all too happy to clear out the minute it was over.

I stuck around though . . . why? They had those chairs . . . those annoying chairs where the desk is connected to the chair by a stainless steel (and inflexible) pipe. I spent only one semester at Quinnipiac in a phyiscal condition to really "fit" in those gosh darned things. The rest of my time there was a very, very tight fit and my gradutate school experience was largely based on me using the desk/chair NEXT to me as an actual writing surface while my desk/chair was a shelf for my bulky body. Miserable. Hated them. I would actually schedule classes around rooms that had those things, if possible.

I had a moment of "going back" that I could not resist though . . . when I thought no one was looking I walked over and slid in to a desk/chair. Slid right in. No sticking. No huffing. No puffing. No gut lifting. Just me, in a chair, with plenty of room to write and read and doodle/grafitti on the desk in front of me.

I realized that it is hard to teach and that I likely made the right decision to stick with a much more profit-potential-having occupation and to become a "practicioner." I hope to be invited back to speak again and would love to even teach my own classes some day (part time, adjunct, etc.) too but - I take victory at one good class and one easy fit in to the student seating.

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