Karen Casey Fitzjerrell

Author of award-winning Forgiving Effie Beck

Traveling Student

I read in a newspaper recently about a woman who travels twice a week from a town near the Canadian Border to the city where I live in South Central Texas to attend college classes. That’s over 1500 miles and involves a substantial road trip to the airport near where she lives, and then a rented car on the Texas end of her flight. I was dumbfounded. I know people who have to have solid reason – like starvation – to get out of a chair and into a car for a three mile trip to the grocery store.

As it turned out the woman considers her actions a “gift” to herself. At retirement she ended up devoting years to caring for a niece, ill sister, and aging mother. After her sister and mother died she “fought restlessness” and so decided to fulfill a life long dream of getting a doctorate degree.

Since I’m a writer – and other writers will understand this well – the first thought that came to my mind was how in the world could she afford the travel expenses. The article said the woman wasn’t wealthy. But after a little more thought, I realized that I sit here day after day pounding out narratives, stories, snippets that I know will never make it to a printed or e-page. Am I foolish for doing it? I think not. Writing connects me in an unexplainable way to life waves out there. Life waves are invisible pulsing arcs of knowledge sort of like sound waves. You hear sound waves. But you feel life waves. It is that feeling, with no particular expectation attached, that spurs me on.

Imagine what it would be like to spend a day with the Traveling Student, someone who invests in herself in order to turn up the volume of her life waves. I hope she knows I’m here at my computer feeling the spirit of her courage and determination..

5 Comments

  1. Nice story, about the traveling student by the Canadian border. I think she has a good reason to do what she does (but maybe she should consider some modern technology, video conferencing and stuff like that). If you got the drive and motivation to do a PhD, just go for it. If you're 25 or 65 doesn't matter. What you need is real motivation, driven by curiosity, not by career or pay rise. For some jobs it can even be a disadvantage, unless you aim for academia, or industry research. You get over qualified. I could easily do like the traveling student myself, when I retire, get another PhD, just for fun, think maybe I would pick geology, or glaciology next time >:)

  2. My question would be, why did she choose this particular college instead of one closer? This college should include her story in its newsletter or something!

    Helen
    Straight From Hel

  3. The newspaper artical said the school was the only one to offer a particular program in extended care giving or something like that. A second student from Florida was doing the same thing – long commute. I'm betting the school will use both circumstances to promote their program.

    Thanks for commenting!

  4. I can't even imagine what it was costing her to go to college, counting all expenses.

    Helen
    Straight From Hel

  5. Nice story, about the traveling student by the Canadian border. I think she has a good reason to do what she does (but maybe she should consider some modern technology, video conferencing and stuff like that). If you got the drive and motivation to do a PhD, just go for it. If you're 25 or 65 doesn't matter. What you need to is real motivation, driven by curiosity, not by career or pay rise. For some jobs it can even be a disadvantage, unless you aim for academia, or industry research. You get over qualified. I could easily do like the traveling student myself, when I get retire, get another PhD, just for fun, think maybe I would pick geology, or glaciology next time >:)

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