As we approach the middle of the semester, I find myself slipping into zombie mode. My attentiveness has slipped into a blank faced student sitting in class, praying my professor does not call on me to answer a question because somehow everything I read last night fell out of my brain on the walk to class.
I sat in my Honors Colloquium class in my dazed state trying to give Dr. Jon Tuttle all the attention my mid-semester brain could muster. Class was typical. We were discussing a play we read for homework. As the class continued, Dr. Tuttle said that he had the playwright’s number, and he was going to give him a call.
In this class, we are learning about the Vietnam War, which is what the play was also about. Our class discussion was about to turn into an interview with the playwright. Needless to say, my glazed look quickly disappeared.
Dr. Tuttle called Amlin Gray, the writer of “How I Got That Story.” He spoke with the class about his play. Gray answered the questions about the play that my classmates asked. Not only was it interesting to get to speak with and listen to an accomplished playwright, it was also a bit of an eye opener.
For the past five weeks we have been learning about the Vietnam War, the draft, the protests and the terrible things that happened during the war. We have watched movies based on the war. We have read plays, excerpts from war stories and accounts from people who were in Vietnam. Even though we have been exposing ourselves to a multitude of resources that give accounts of the war, nothing was like hearing Gray speak to make it seem real. Hearing a first-hand account of the war made everything we read and everything we have seen real. Of course, I knew it was real. I knew what I have been reading about actually happened. However, I think there was still some disconnect, and hearing Gray speak made everything snap into place.
We, as students, read textbooks every day. We listen to lectures that our professors put together. We study theories and learn equations. We do all of these things, and if you ask us why, the typical answer is to get our degree. However, there should be more than that. We should not settle for just memorizing facts and doing well on exams and papers. I think there is a deeper meaning that we should strive for.
We forget that the things we read and the things we learn about were actual occurrences. They were events that people had to live through, and sometimes these events were unimaginable. We forget that it’s more than just facts.
Hearing Gray talk about flying into Vietnam and the world seemingly blurring into nothing but green made something clear to me. I do not need to fall into a mid-semester slump that will follow me through the rest of the semester. Yes, there are going to be quizzes, tests and papers that are going to take up my time and brain power, but I must not stop paying close attention to the things I am learning. These things are important. I have to keep in mind that everything I am being exposed to in college is more than just facts.