Monday, September 18, 2006

Following is a personal narrative I composed for my College Comp class. It got an A. Hurrah!


A Prayer and a Print Job

"What am I going to do?" I asked the girls at my table during breakfast Friday morning. My journal for Mrs. Blakes Comp I class was due at ten o’clock. I had it all typed up and saved to a disk, but the computer lab wouldn’t open until eight. To complicate matters even further, I had classes every hour. Ten minutes between classes wouldn’t give me enough time to run over to the lab and print it off.

"I have a printer, but I’m getting my computer outfitted for internet right now," Julianne apologized.

"That’s okay, Julianne. I’m sure I can figure something out," I said.

"The lounge in my dorm has a printer," Mallory suggested. "It’s ten cents a page."

"Yeah," I said. "But what time does the lounge open? Probably not until eight, either. That doesn’t help me."

Technology is supposed to simplify our lives, right? I thought having a laptop computer would simplify my life at college. Two weeks before I left home, I ordered one. I’m not sorry. It’s a nice little machine. I like the mobility it affords me, with one caveat: getting online is more difficult than I’d hoped without a wireless connection on campus. That aside, I can take my computer to breakfast with me if I want to work on homework instead of socializing. Or if I want to do some reflective writing, I might head down to Lookout Point. A few of my friends even take their laptops to class to take notes. I like that idea; I think I’ll try it one of these days.

While a laptop seemed a necessity, a printer seemed excessive. I skipped adding one when I ordered the computer. I thought it would be a simple matter to hook up to a printer in the lab whenever I needed to. Maybe it would be a simple matter, if I could somehow finish my assignments in plenty of time to get to the lab during normal hours.

It isn’t that I procrastinate. Never that! Writing the journal entry wasn’t the challenge; not re-writing it was. Mrs. Blake told us to turn off the analytical, left sides of our brains, and not worry too much about spelling and grammar.

"Just write 500 words about some significant events in your life," she said. She made it sound so easy. The trouble is, I’m a perfectionist, and writing 500 words without re-writing to refine my thoughts is difficult, if not impossible. I thought my writing style might relax if I got comfortable, so I put on my pajamas, and settled into bed with my laptop. (You might be wondering why I didn’t simply write my journal entry by hand on notebook paper. It goes back to my being a perfectionist. I’m addicted to the ‘delete’ key.) Yet, once I overcame yet another case of writer’s block, it was difficult to cut off the flow at 500 words. The best I could do was 510. That was late Thursday night.

After breakfast Friday morning, I left the cafeteria, and headed over to the Gittenger Music building for my Exploration of Theater class with Mr. Young. I didn’t know how or when I was going to get my journal printed in time for my Composition class. I didn’t even have time to worry about the problem. All I could think of to do was to pray about it.

"Lord," I prayed. "It is going to be a while before I figure out a routine at school. I know You care about the smallest details. I need Your help. Will You give me an opportunity to print off my journal before my Comp class at ten? Thank You in advance, Lord Jesus. Amen."
Professor Young gave us a short quiz over the first chapter of The Theater Experience, and a brief demonstration about the performer/audience dynamic. I thought he was just warming up.

"No one will object if I dismiss the class early, will you?" Mr. Young surprised us by asking at 8:20.

The theater class had been enjoyable already, and this was just the first week. Another morning, I would have been disappointed to have the class cut short, but this morning? Not a bit. Thankfully, no one else objected to an early dismissal. We were free until our next class.

My closest printing option was The Center for Writing and Thinking (CWT), so I dashed over to the Jones building. When I reached the second floor, the sign on the door of the CWT said "Closed for Class - 8 to 8:50 AM."

"Oh, great," I muttered, as I turned away. "Now I will have to run over the Plaster lab after all."
I shouldered my book bag and marched off across campus toward the Plaster building, dodging the sprinklers on the Chapel lawn and cutting across the Chapel parking lot.

"Will the Plaster computer lab even be open? What if it is closed for class, too?" I worried. "Stop it, silly. You prayed, remember?"

I climbed the stairs and made my way back to the lab. The door was open.

"Thank God," I panted.

The room was dark, but, I noticed with relief, the computers were on. My prayer was answered. I could print off my paper in plenty of time.

It was, I’ll admit, a mundane prayer. However, that didn’t keep God from answering. The need was real, and He met it. Undoubtedly, college and life will pose greater challenges than the one I faced in trying to find a way to print an assignment. But if God doesn’t consider such an insignificant request beneath Him, I know He will be faithful when there is more at stake.

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