Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Suddenly Feel Very Overhwlemed

Today was registration for classes next semester.

Well, qualification, today was the day that I registered for classes next semester. Unfortunately, due to several complications having to do with transfer credits (namely, that I haven't done anything with them yet), I'm a bit behind most of my friends. So, while everyone else has been gleefully celebrating their schedules for the past two days, I've had to wait until this morning to register.

Naturally, this has led to complications with scheduling the final semester of my college career. But that's not what I'm planning to talk about today. Sorry for the diversion.

Instead, I have exciting news!

But first, a picture:

This is the poster for the upcoming mainstage show here at Truman State University. Why do I mention this? Because it's the first mainstage show that my girlfriend will be stage managing. She's done a lot of stage management over the past four years, but this is the first one that's involved the entire department. It's been a tremendous honor, as well as a consistent source of stress for her, so we're both excited to see the performance drawing closer with every day.

So, yeah...that. Back to what I was going to say, I guess. Sorry for being so scatterbrained today.

Exciting news!

I'm helping Adam Davis teach the Fiction Writing Workshop next semester!




...yeah, like I said, I'm a bit overwhelmed...let me tell a story.

As I was looking at the course selection for next semester, trying to get my schedule together, I decided I wanted to take Creative Writing again.

Now, I took Creative Writing my first semester at Truman under Jamie D'Agostino, who was a great teacher to have as my first experience of college life, but doesn't really offer much critical evaluation. Because of this (as well as my meandering away from the English major during my sophomore year), I find myself feeling somewhat less informed about the basics of Creative Writing, particularly when it comes to poetry.

Enter Adam Davis.

I took my JINS course with Davis last Fall. (JINS = Junior Interdisciplinary Seminar; kind of a special category of classes here at Truman. Every Truman student is required to take at least one.) His teaching was brilliant. I learned so much in that class that I've probably forgotten more than I remember.

Don't worry, I'm not going to rhapsodize or anything. I just want you all to know that I was impressed.

So, when I saw that Davis was teaching a section of Creative Writing next semester, I thought to myself: "Self, that would be the perfect professor for you to take a remedial class with."

Of course, it isn't usual practice for educational institutions to reward you for passing (or even acing) a particular class multiple times. I wasn't sure if I would get any credit at all, or if I would simply be required to sit in on the class on my free time.

I decided to go talk to Davis himself and see what he thought before solving my problems through the administration.

I'm glad I did.

After talking for a while, he suggested that I help him with the class as a sort of teacher's assistant, that way I would get credit under the heading of "Individual Undergraduate Study," or something like that.

Excited by this opportunity (Help teach creative writing...for credit! That's basically what I do on my own already!) I filled out the necessary paperwork and started thinking about all the things I would have to relearn and double-check before the Spring semester starts.

Fast-forward to today.

Registration was...inconclusive. As usual. But, again, that's not what I'm here to talk about. I mention it simply so that you understand my nearly obsessive-compulsive attitude toward checking my school email throughout the day.

About halfway through the day, I received an e-mail that basically said this:

"Adam Davis will be teaching a newly-opened section of Writing Workshop: Fiction in the Spring."

I looked at this email and thought to myself: "Self. That's awesome!"

(Please note, we haven't reached the end of the story yet. This is simply the first plot twist. My ignorance is displayed above. More so below.)

Once again, I have already taken the Fiction Writing Workshop with Joe Benevento. It was good. But I was lazy, and young. So it wasn't as useful for me as I would have liked.

Thus, once again, I thought to myself: "Self, I wonder if I could take that class again!"

(This was a slightly more realistic consideration, as I had heard from someone somewhere that you could take multiple instances of the Writing Workshops.)

Seeing as my schedule still needed to be filled anyway, I looked at the course list to find out when the class would be offered.

If you guessed: "At the same time as Davis' Creative Writing class." You win!

Confusion sets in.

I looked at the class time. I looked at my notes. I looked at the class time again.

Huh. That's odd.

So I scrolled up to see if, maybe, the time for the Creative Writing class had been changed.

It hadn't. The teacher had been replaced. Now it was being taught by someone not-Davis.

This was a problem.

Confusion mounted.

What to do? What to do? Was I now helping someone else, someone not-Davis to teach creative writing?

So confused!


I contacted Davis. The power of email expressed my concern.

"Dr. Davis,

"What is happening?

"I am going mad.


"Joshua Kehe"

(Okay, so it wasn't quite like that, but that's how I felt.)

A short while later, Davis emailed me back to say, more or less: "Joshua. We're teaching the upper-level writing workshop now. No worries."


Fiction! I can do fiction! I RULE fiction!

...well, in theory, at least.

Then I started to worry.


Wait...fiction? Upper level? Workshop? But...but that means...these people are going to KNOW stuff...


I might be outclassed. I might not be the smartest person there (aside from Davis, of course).

Intimidated. That is what I am. Overwhelmed, even. This isn't going to be a collection of Freshman or Sophomore Creative Writing neophytes. This'll be...experienced folk.


Then I realized something. And so I thought to myself: "Self, pull yourself together. These students are going to be excited and passionate about their work -- work that you yourself are exited and passionate about. Many of them will probably be hoping to publish their work at some point, maybe even make a career out of this thing. Don't you think that's something you're even better equipped to help with?"

And, in response, I thought to myself: "Self. I guess you're right. I hope."

...and that's how I found myself feeling suddenly overwhelmed...because I'm helping to teach an upper-level fiction class.

Condolences, advice, and reassurances are welcome below.

Until next time...
-josh k.


  1. You'll be wonderful! You always manage to both inspire me and give me a one-way ticket on the train to productivity. Don't worry about it. There's nothing else I can say without being cheesy.

  2. Josh, that's great news. Obviously, Dr. Davis sees you as being a valuable help in this class, or he wouldn't have asked you to assist. What a great opportunity to help others on their journey, just as you've been helped along on yours. Way to step up. I'm proud of you! Dad

  3. YAY! :)
    I am also proud of you (besides being enormously pleased that you mentioned WAMM). You and Davis will be a great combination. And who knows, you might learn something while you're there.

  4. Oh, I'll definitely learn something while I'm there. I'm really looking forward to it. :)

    Thanks, everyone, for all your encouragement. It's nice to know that I have people standing behind me, pushing me forward into the future. (Even when I'm silently kicking and screaming on the inside.)