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JB O'Connor: The Rapid Ascension of a Community College Scholar

By Jann M. Contento and Jeffrey Ross

JB had just left the Student Success Center [housed in the Teaching Learn-ed Center] at Copperfield Community College Main.

He had completed a battery of academic placement, career guidance, political party proclivity, gender awareness, cultural diversity, student government group and organization interest inventories, and a TB test....

He had spent about 11 minutes with Counselor Elena Vasquez [d--- she's hot!] making course selections-- and was now walking over to the Business Center Complex to pay his registration fees. [Strangely, a quacking white duck with a collar-- and dragging a leash-- followed him for awhile.]

JB had come to this venerable institution of higher learning for various reasons. [But mostly because his dad told him to go back to school or else....] About two days ago, he quit his job at the Sticky Mart and thought he might like to lounge around the house for awhile. That same afternoon, while he was home watching the flat screen TV and drinking an ice cold beer, his dad, John, strode into the house and told the ambitious young man he had to get another job, or join the military, or go to college, or get out of the (*&^%!@ house.

Basically lazy and not suited for menial labor-or work of any kind-JB had been out of high school for five years now, and had never really thought about going on to school. But, none of the armed services wanted him because of his inability to read....so college seemed like a good possibility.

Soon after, during a family council, once the shouting and screaming ebbed, his dad encouraged young JB to attend CCC and find himself. "JB, you can get the easy courses out of the way, and we can save some money in case you want to go to a college someday. I know that CCC is far cheaper than a regular college; -- I think they charge $350 a semester compared to Northeastern New Mexico East U's $2600. Look, if you'll enroll in four classes, I'll pay the costs and you can stay at home. Then someday, when you decide to go to a real college, we might be able to afford it."

Despite JB's documented reading problems [and his poor showing on the math placement test], Counselor Vasquez [d--- she's hot!] had urged him to enroll in Art History, History of World Civilizations, Calculus, and Anatomy and Physiology. [She knew these classes needed immediate enrollment or they might be cancelled-leading to faculty complaints about her advising practices and ability]. "You can do it, JB," she said, shaking her pretty fist in the air above her head. We'll MAP out an ASS [Academic Support System] for you and make sure you get free tutoring as often as possible from our peer, para, online, embedded, and virtual tutors....You will love it here at CCC. Chiclet?

His dad had given him the $350 he needed for tuition. With receipt in hand, only three hours later, JB was enrolled. He went to the bookstore to pick up the four text books he needed for his classes. JB was a College Man just like that. [He considered buying a CCC t-shirt but knew they weren't considered cool in Hamilton City.]

After walking past stand after stand of cinnamon tea blends, vampire novels, coffee cups, key chains, rulers, stuffed horses, sunglasses, movie DVDs, flash drives, candy bars, paper thin one use graduation gowns, CCC logo shirts, get well cards, and Go-Go Green Posters, he found the 10 foot by 10 foot section reserved for academic text books at Copperfield Community College.

After scrutinizing titles and course section codes, he picked up the books, checked the prices, and called his dad.

"Hey Dad, I'm down here at the book store. Yep, things are going great. The counselor is HOT. Yep, you were right-the tuition was $350. But I'm gonna need some more money-I had to buy four textbooks- they've got CD ROMs and stuff-and the total bill is $846.71[that includes tax!] for the books. Dad? Dad? Are you still there?"

(--An excerpt from the Seeking-to-be Published [STBP] Comic Marxist-Capitalist Novel, Wheat Germ: A Harvest of Middle Class Dreams-- )

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