Grad School at a Glance
Ashland University MFA
This crapper of a day should have stayed in the crapper.
Apparently, my body knew it and tried to sleep through it. I'm
not sure what happened, because I didn't know I was running late.
After I dressed, I got my granola bar, fruit and drink and sat
down with my BrailleNote to read. I always check the time first.
It was 9:03 Am. I'm supposed to meet the terps outside at 8:50.
I now had the reading plan for the rest of the week. I still
wasn't prepared because the professor made spontaneous changes.
When she asked if I had read a student's revisions, I stated,
"No, because those are on the list for Friday." This time she
realized I was right and postponed that discussion.
My upper body was in bad, bad shape. All the signing and over-use
of my arms caused a flare-up of trigger point pain. I was having
trouble holding my arms up. Jolts of pain traveled down my neck.
Frankly, it had me scared. I decided to skip craft and the
reading in hopes that rest would calm things down.
I took a long, hot bath. What I like most about this apartment is
the bath tub. It's deep, wide and has ultra-strong water
pressure. I can get all of my sore spots under the water for a
good soak. Then I'll turn on the shower and let the water pound
against my back. This got me through the first week. But the pain
became too intense during the second week.
I took a long nap and woke up feeling no better than before. My
strongest pain pill didn't help, either. Talked about being
screwed. I had a lot of homework to do.
I have officially degraded to the level of an actual college-aged
student. I slurped my apple sauce at breakfast because I didn't
want to have to wash a spoon.
Back to academics... Naturally, my professor wanted to know why I
missed some activities. I had sent her and Dr. Haven an email
about my pain. I guess she didn't get it. I tried telling her in
class, but I still don't think she understood. She asked, "Is
this the first time you've used interpreters."
Of course not, but this was an intensive and pro-longed situation
that needed constant use of interpreters. A body isn't made for
She finally said, "We are all tired."
I could tell that my interpreters absolutely understood. They
tried to do things to make it easier for me, such as signing low
so I wouldn't need to lift my arms. They also encouraged me when
they saw it was getting too hard.
Don't get me wrong, Kathy is an excellent teacher. I'm glad I got
to work with her. I ended up with two of the best professors. But
neither one has ever had a student with my unique needs. We are
learning by trial and error.
Instead of a craft seminar, we had a reading in the afternoon by
graduating students. I felt I needed to be there. I was wishing I
could trade places and instantly become a graduate.
After the reading, we had group pictures. Then I went to the book
store to do some shopping at my new school. This is where I
learned the answers to some important questions.
It seems I left the blue and gold Kent State Golden Flashes to
become part of the purple and gold Ashland Eagles. I guess I have
a thing for big birds.
They had some wonderful shirts in "women's cut." That meant they
were extra tight in the breast. Why do you want tightness where
your body naturally swells? It must be a college thing. I got a
long-sleeve t-shirt and a t-shirt for Joseph.
Dead dog barkin' farkin' pain. I skipped the graduation
celebration. Instead of resting, I had to do homework.
Friday! Friday! Last day of classes!
Pain medication had me feeling out of it this morning. It was
like being under water and trying to focus on the world above. I
made it through the workshop. It helped that we finished 15
I had lunch with a man. Ohhh..... One of the students from
session 1 sat with me. It was nice to socialize for a change.
However, it's hard to eat and use tactile sign language at the
same time. I had to hurry and finish lunch so I wouldn't be late
for more readings by graduating students.
Decision time... I deserved a party and wanted to go to the
reception. On the other hand, I was afraid it would be too much.
I once spent nearly two years in agonizing pain in my upper body
muscles. I wasn't willing to risk it happening again. I did not
go to the party.
I'm going home tomorrow!
The sun'll come out Tomorrow
So ya gotta hang on 'Til tomorrow
Come what may
I love ya Tomorrow!
You're always A day A way!
-- from Annie "Tomorrow"
(Well, I don't know about the sun part. Someone broke Ohio's
weather this summer.)
Here it is... My first MFA poem:
His name is Scott
I like him a lot
His brain will rot
As he sits on the pot
MFA = Major Farking Attitude
Home, sweet, home... Home with my super son and crazy cat. Back
in my own environment, where everything has its place. Back on my
feet (figuratively and literally.) I am home.
The funny thing is now that it's all over, all I can think about
was how great it was. I've already learned so much and have been
exposed to fascinating topics.
Grad School: It might kill me, but I won't let that stop me.
contact me at Angie.C.Orlando@gmail.com