This is a work of fiction.
“I’m not feeling well,” Aunt Bev says. We’re sitting at the kitchen table, and I’m eating toast, but she hasn’t touched hers.
“Are you going to call in sick?” I ask. She works at a salon doing people’s nails. Me? I can’t stand the feeling of stuff on my nails. Thank goodness she doesn’t need or want to practice her skills on me.
She gives me a disapproving look, as though calling in sick were a mortal sin. She has dark circles under her eyes. Her skin is paler than usual but she looks well enough to go to work, I guess. Do people want to catch whatever she’s got? Probably not, but her work ethic is such that she won’t stay home. It’s a good thing she doesn’t get sick much.
“When I get home, we can go over that stuff for college. Have you been considering what you’re going to study? I really do hope so.”
I don’t remind her that my high school graduation was only yesterday.
Instead, I say, “What do you think I should study? There’s so much to choose from.”
She gives me a look of utmost seriousness.
“It has to be your decision. If I make it, and you hate it, then you still have to do it, and I don’t want you to hate me.”
“I’d never hate you. You’re the only family I’ve got, so how could I possibly hate you?”
She smiles, but doesn’t budge. She orders me to think about it, kisses me goodbye, grabs her purse, and goes out the back door.
I finish my breakfast, and then go into the living room.
On the coffee table, there’s a printed catalog. Aunt Bev does not trust computers. In her mind, computers are only for school, and only if the work can’t be done another way.
I sit down on the sofa and flip the large book open. It’s printed on thin, glossy paper.
Accounting. Architecture. Art. Biology. Business. Chemisry. Computer science. Economics. Engineering. English.
There are so many fields I could go into, but which one is right for me?
I flip back until I come to computer science. Computers. Forbidden fruit. Oh well, it’s not like I know anything about computers, and I’m sure they expect people to know a lot before they can take those courses. Well, it won’t hurt anybody if I just read this.
Computer science is a rapidly-changing field, and if you embark on the study of computers, you will gain vauable knowledge and graduate with a highly-desirable set of skills. Information technology (IT) people are always in demand, and you will rarely be without work. That said, you may be called upon at all hours of the day and night to help troubleshoot problems and fix critical systems. If you work with medical technology, lives could even be at stake.
Wow, I think. There must be a specialized exam before you can get in.
I keep reading, even though I know I’ll be disappointed.
Our department offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. Degrees offered include Bachelor of Science, Masters, and Doctoral degrees.
At the undergraduate level, we offer a full range of courses to set students on the path to persuing further studies, or to obtaining highly-qualified positions when they enter the job market.
To enter the Masters program, students must take a four-year undergraduate program, or have already completed one from another college.
When are they going to talk about the complicated exam?
I turn the page.
Requirements for admission.
General first-year admission. There are no prerequisites to enter an undergraduate program in our department.
No previous computer knowledge is required. However, if you wish to major in computer science and don’t already have computer skills, please take Skills 1 and 2 before registering for programming courses.
If you have any questions, please call our office and we’d be happy to answer them.
There’s a phone number at the bottom of the page.
There’s a phone on the end table beside me.
Aunt Bev doesn’t like cordless phones and she certainly doesn’t like cell phones, so it has a cord.
I lift the receiver and punch the buttons.
I talk to somebody named Kate and confirm that yes, I am allowed to take computer science as my major. She helps me to register, and then transfers me to the campus store, where I order a Mac, a PC, all the books I’ll need, and then arrange to have everything sent to me.
I put the phone down and go into the kitchen for a glass of water.
What will Aunt Bev say when she gets move? I could never hate her, not in a million years, but will she hate me once she finds out what I’ve just done?