I know you.
I see you from where I’m standing, at the front of the classroom. You think I don’t know when you’re checking your phone, or you’re zoning out into space, but I do. I didn’t have a phone to check during college (back in the dark ages, when mastodons walked the earth), but I zoned out with the best of them. Oh, I got a college degree, and somehow ended up with a decent transcript, but I wasn’t there for the classes. I was there to Learn Journalism, and then get the hell outta Dodge and be a Journalist, capital J. The rest was just a waste of my time — or so I thought.
That list of things-that-wasted-my-time grew with my indifference to classwork. Communication law? Waste. Why memorize case law when there’s just another lawsuit coming down the pike to change what I just memorized? Photography? Waste. I’m a writer, not a photographer. Unless I stayed too long the night before at the campus newspaper office, I warmed the benches of those and other classes, learned just enough to be dangerous on the tests, and left secure in the knowledge that none of this mattered.
I was an idiot, maybe the Prime Idiot, so I see what you’re doing there, and if you remember nothing else from this semester, remember this: It matters. All of it. Those cases I refused to memorize? If they’ve been overturned, they still form the foundation of communication law, even 100 years later. Photography? Many’s the night I’ve kicked myself for not paying attention, because writing journalists became photographers/videographers/all of it. Who knew that would happen? Well, one of my professors at j-school, but I ignored him, too. “One day, class, the world will read its news off a television screen.” He said that in class one day and I believe (arrogance of youth) I snorted out loud. Why would any one read a television when they have their newspapers right outside, in the bushes or on the porch roof?
He was talking about the internet. He told us there’d be no newspapers in 30 years (right about 2011) and I remember telling him that I was a newspaperwoman, and I would ride that pterodactyl into the ground — which I mostly did.
So go ahead and keep your head down, and ignore my hectoring. And 30 years from now, when I’m long gone, remember what Prof. Campbell said: You’re going to need this, and not just for the final. I promise.