Raising hell

Kim Dunlap

I have kept that “Registrar” story from the previous issue of The Lawrentian on my desk for motivational purposes these past few weeks. I even circled the last line, which says something about how the Registrar tries its very best to help students graduate, with pink pen and a very sarcastic (and bright pink) “HA” next to it.You see, I have a confession to make. If you didn’t already know, I was the student who was referred to at the beginning of that article. I was the student who would not graduate this June due to a “miscommunication” about Environmental Studies 150. And I kept that article – that infuriating article (because, at the time it went to press, I still did not know whether I was graduating as my petition to do so was, to my knowledge, still pending) – on my desk so that I would look at it every day and be reminded of how much I disliked this institution and all of the bureaucracy that came with it and so that I, English major, would fight back by shooting off a few angry words on a black-and-white editorials page. Sure, I’d ultimately be raising my white flag, but not without burning a few bridges first.

Well, as unhappy as I am to confess that the student in question was me, I am happy to report that it was me. It was me – and I have no angry words left.

For all of the frustration that I went through this past term about potentially not graduating because of the said “miscommunication,” for all the times I swore that the initial “love at first site” feeling regarding Lawrence that I had held so dearly these past four years had vanished with the frustration and consequence and bureaucracy, and for all the times I complained to professors, friends, and alumni, I cannot complain anymore. I have no reason to. Because there is this thing called “the Lawrence Difference” – and I think I finally realized what it meant to me.

As hard as I thought everyone and everything at this school was working against me, there were a few people who were working at least ten times as hard for me. One thing that I have realized throughout this experience is the value of a Lawrence education. There are still a few things that happened during the process with which I am still dissatisfied, but all of those pale in comparison with the final resolution. There were people on my side, people committed to helping me in any way that they could.

When Dean Hemwall heard about my situation, a resolution was in sight within a week. Professor Rence, who did not know me from any other student, was quick to devise a tutorial that I could take with him until the end of the term in order to satisfy my remaining requirement. Professor Hoffmann and Professor Purkey did all that they could to help me from the outset of the problem. I’ve always cherished my time at Lawrence because of the faculty – but, until I was placed in this situation, I guess I never had the opportunity to see how they really do go the extra mile for students whenever they can. I cannot thank them enough. I hope that each student gets a chance to appreciate this component of their Lawrence education (but in much better circumstances, of course, than my own).

So, as an outgoing editor of this publication, I’d like to make a final correction to the previous issue. That student who would not graduate this year due to a miscommunication about an Environmental Studies course will graduate – and I really don’t think that there will be another student who will be more grateful to receive her degree on June 13th.