Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

October 14, 2012

There is always room for self-improvement

Here I am, thinking I’m all grown up. Mature, professional, dignified, and maybe even — ever so slightly — classy? I feel fairly confident and assured now that I’m 40 years old, sport matching Vera Bradley bags and natural, muted lip gloss. I’m standing at full height, eye-to-eye with the world, becoming a professional health-care provider, right?

But then.

In the most casual, perhaps clever, way, my university professor — a doctorate-level nurse practitioner, mind you — praised my bubble-gum-bubble-blowing talents. Last time I checked, bubble-gum-bubble-blowing skills are not on the nurses’ test.

Because I typically sit in the very front row under the instructor’s nose so as not to miss one morsel of information — an annoyance in and of itself, no doubt — this ultimate superior had witnessed easily from her perch at the lectern my prolific popping.

So not only was I popping gum in an upper-level university classroom; I also was popping gum, essentially, in my instructor’s face.

When she casually mentioned my, er, talents, I was instantly mortified. Had I really been popping gum? In her class? While she lectured, with all the seriousness required, about goiters, blindness and ear infections?

“How rude of me!” I told her. She sort-of smiled noncommittally and assured me that she, too, liked to blow bubble-gum bubbles.

“But not in a university classroom under the PhD professor’s nose, I bet,” I thought. “Not when you’re working on becoming a professional nurse. Not when you’re the oldest student in the class?”

I had a familiar sensation — conviction, revelation, insight, whatever — that I was about to learn something big if only I embraced it.

Well, I’m embracing it.

My bubble-gum issues are probably some Freudian oral thing. I have been known to blow through several packs a day — chomping one juicy piece after another. My mother did her duty and scolded me about the smacking and popping; I just didn’t listen.

I’ll leave why to the psychologists.

Without slipping into morbid and self-piteous reflection — but reflecting nonetheless — I began to think about my other, similar habits and what they communicate about me and to others. I immediately saw room for great improvement.

There’s the way I dress, my timeliness — or lack thereof — and even the way I sit in class, which is often with my feet up on another chair.

Upon further reflection, then, I saw — obviously — a column topic.

It’s this: We can make some changes. Thankfully, mine might include shopping.

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Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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