When I graduated from high school, I decided I would save my parents some of the cost of a University education by completing my freshman year at a local Community College, then I would transfer to the University of my choice. I was a very good student with an excellent record and this was a pattern than many students followed at the time.
Halfway through my freshman year at the Community College, I arranged an interview with my Counselor to discuss my plans and make sure the courses I had taken and planned to take the second semester were fully transferable. I had already filled out my University application for the following fall, and my parents were supportive.
I walked down the dingy corridor lined with glass-windowed office doors. I found number 325, Mr. Peterson’s office, and knocked on the door.
“Yeah. Come in,” a voice called. As I opened the door, the man behind the desk, old-fashioned phone receiver pressed to his ear, glanced up at me, then pointed to a chair. I sat.
He swiveled his chair around, back to me and continued his conversation. “Yes. I’m sure. Go ahead and send me that information. Yes. Uh huh. I see. You’ll still need to send it to me.” For a few seconds he listened intently to the voice on the other end. “Yes. Yes. Just send it to me. O.K. Bye.”
He banged the receiver down so hard on the phone that it rang in protest.
He took off his heavy rimmed glasses, rubbed his eyes and yawned. His long brown comb-over lay flat across the top of his head, undisturbed.
“Sorry about that. I didn’t get much sleep last night. Frantic students. Now, what can I do for you Miss?”
“I’m planning on transferring to the University next fall and I want to be sure I’m doing all I can to make that go smoothly,” I said.
“You what? Why in the world would you want to transfer?” He pulled a file out of the stack on his desk, opened it and flipped through the papers inside. “Looks like you’re doing well. Your grades are good, so why leave now?”
“I want to be a historian and the University has the best program for that.”
“You’ll be taking the same courses here as you would at the University, but it won’t cost your parents so much. How can you do that to your parents?”
“My parents support the idea.”
He stared at me for a long moment.
“Huh. I know why you’re doing this. You’re looking for an Mrs. degree and you think you’ll attract a guy with better prospects at the University.
It was my turn to stare. “I can’t believe you said that.”
“Look. It’s my job to try to keep successful students here for the whole two-year program. It’s better for the students, their families , the school and the faculty. You’re a good student. We don’t want to lose you.”
“You’re not going to keep students if you insult them. After talking to you, I’m more determined than ever to transfer next fall.” I stood, stomped to the door, flung it open and stalked out.
I did transfer to the University that fall. When I signed up for classes, I found an announcement that Course Historiography 235 was cancelled. This was the course designed to teach the techniques of historical research and writing. I did get a degree in history, but I did not become a historian.
Oh, and I did get married, but not to anyone I met at the University.