Monthly Archives: September 2010

Monday Motivator: Be Prepared to Break Out!

My friend Heather had a baby last Friday. Gavin is eight pounds, and so far, a pretty calm baby. He only cries when he’s hungry. Family members have already started the “whose chin (eyes, hair, etc, etc) does he have” routine. To me, babies look like grizzled old souls who have been called from eternity back to duty on Earth.  They don’t really look like other family members until much later.

But if Gavin is calm, there is one area that he has already showed his spunk. He doesn’t particularly like being swaddled. It’s not that he cries or thrashes about angrily. He simply starts working his little arms until suddenly out pops a hand and then another one. Given enough uninterrupted time, he can work that blanket right off his body. It’s funny to watch.

Now Gavin doesn’t particularly care that swaddling is supposed to be a source of comfort for babies. He knows what he likes, and he likes getting free. Perhaps it’s a good lesson for all of us. Sometimes, no matter how many people tell us that we should be happy and grateful to be in the place we are, it is simply not the right place for us.  And sometimes, a prison is still a prison, even if the walls are warm and fuzzy and baby blue.

And we need to break out!


The Library Losers: In Which Our Heroines Stagger to a (Qualified) Victory

The first week of classes requires a great deal of stamina. In the library, students want to

  • check out textbooks
  • find their rooms
  • learn how to log into a course shell
  • print their schedules
  • find a tutor
  • add classes, and/or
  • drop classes

This means that we spend most of the days on our feet walking from the desk to various computers. It’s usually a good week to, at worst, maintain weight, and, at best, to lose a few pounds. The beginning of this semester brought added stress to our losers:

  • Emily and her husband closed on a house.
  • Pam bought a new car after wrecking hers the week before. Then this past weekend, she had a sinus infection.
  • The Jolly Librarian suffered from allergies that kept her coughing and unable to sleep.

Yes, we are a pitiful crew. But, surely, some small victory could be pulled from the jaws of such decrepitude. And it was, almost.

We lost a total of 3.5 pounds. The slacker was once again the Jolly Librarian who gained 2 pounds. I have to admit that when I have a sore throat, I tend  to gravitate towards ice cream and salt, salt in the form of vinegar and salt potato chips. And although I worked out all but one day last week, most were modified worksouts, more walking less running and sometimes a shorter distance.

Still most of the Losers are feeling optimistic, and I saw two of the Featherweights out for a walk yesterday. So we’re proceeding, certainly slowly, if not surely.

Monday Motivator: The Reason We’re Here

If you’re like me, you’ve had people ask you over the years: Why work at a community college? The answer varies depending on my mood, but it can be best summed up by an experience from last week.

A young woman came into the library to make some copies of a textbook chapter since her financial aid had not yet come through. She was with her infant daughter and another woman who was obviously babysitting. She needed some help getting on our course management system in order to print off her syllabus. So Iwent in the lab to help her.

The other woman, holding the baby, nodded towards the younger woman and said, “This is my daughter. And I’m so proud of her for deciding to come to college. Leaning in a little closer to me, she added, “Next semester, I’m coming here too. We’re going to take classes together.”

This mom could not have been prouder if her daughter had just gotten a full ride to a prestigious university. In fact, considering the all the facts, it was probably just as big an accomplishment. But not only was the mom proud, she was also inspired to take similar action. And that is the basic reason I work here because, like me, NSCC, and other community colleges, never stop believing in a person’s right to an education.

If you want to learn, we don’t care if you made some mistakes as a teenager, if you didn’t go to college at the “appropriate” age, or if you didn’t learn English as your first language.

All we care about is making it happen.

The Library Losers: In Which Our Heroines Fall Asleep and Dream They’re On “The Biggest Loser”

The first week of classes has taken its toll on the Losers. After a busy day of chasing down students, we all fell asleep and had the same dream:

The Biggest Loser Comes to Nashville State:

The Weigh In.

Allison asks the green team to prepare to weigh in.  “First is Amy.”

Amy steps up to the scale. Allison asks her how she did.

“I think okay. I’ve continued to work out with a trainer. My pants fit better. I’ve lost inches as well.”

She weighs. “You’ve lost one pound.”

Applause. Bob and Jillian look pleased. They have learned to lower their expectations at NSCC.

“Next up, Pam.”

Pam comes up, but before stepping on the scale, she says, “I just want you to know I feel so much better about my life now that I’m eating better. I’m choosing blueberries and skim milk and all sorts of good foods. I just feel so better about my life. I think I have real goals now. And . . .”

Allison interrupts. “That’s great. But we need to get this show over with.”

Pam steps on the scale. A quick shot to Bob and Jillian. Their eyes are glistening with tears of emotion. Pam has lost 2 pounds. She leaps in the air and runs to hug all her teammates. “Plus,” she yells out, “I’m sure my running bra, spandex pants, and tennis shoes added at least 2 pounds. I bet I’ve lost even more.”

Allison calls up Emily. “You should take off your tshirt.”

Emily shakes her head. “No. And I’m not weighing either. Because I’m a millenial. And we’re cynical. But I will do it if you won’t like me. Because I’m torn between being liked and getting my way.”

Allison shakes her head. “Just get on the scale.”

Emily does and weighs the same. “For any other group,” Allison says, “this would be a disappointment. But we’ve learned to lower expectations for you all.”

Allison looks over the group. “Okay, Faye, it’s your time.”

Faye jumps on the scale. Allison asks her how she thinks she did.


Bob and Jillian look outraged. Allison yells, “Look at those crumbs on her chest. She’s eating cookies while she weighs. Everyone get her.’

The moral to this dream: Don’t bring “The Biggest Loser”  to NSCC. We are the ones that can make Jillian cry.