A transfer student’s paean to Lawrence

Andy Graff

I thought three classes per term would be a piece of cake. I’m a transfer student. Not a high-standing one – freshman studies is interesting, if you get my drift – but I’m a transfer nonetheless. At the other schools where I’ve studied, the common theory on education seemed to be “busywork equals knowledge.” Anyone who’s been there knows that it takes a certain grinding determination to succeed in that environment. If a person can hold on and emerge unscathed from beneath the stacks of handouts and padded papers, he can rest assured he’ll do well. And I did. However, at the end of a year, with tachycardia and terrific grades, it was hard to convince myself that I was being educated. If federal loans are going to corner the next 40 years of my existence in indentured servitude, I’d like my degree to mean something more than graded paper in the recycling bin.
So I looked elsewhere in search of an education, and found Lawrence. Three classes per term, small class size, professors and advisors who actually care – this was all very new to me, and I assumed it meant quality, not quantity. My assumptions were right. The homework here isn’t quite as heavy as at the other schools, but there is a certain factor I overlooked: the homework here is real. This, my friends, has taken me off guard. The professors here actually read what I hand in. And they expect it to mean something too? Apparently, a word-processor thesaurus and an 18-point font won’t cut it anymore. Written assignments, even beautiful masterpieces of fluff and run-on sentences, no longer come back plastered red with praise and gold stars.
Now humbled, with bags under my eyes and coffee stains on my shirt, I am fully aware of just how demanding, and how meaningful, three classes can be. This is going to be a challenge – there’s no way around it. This place is going to exhaust me every day. This is going to be real. Lawrence, thank you.