No Ivory Tower Here

Positively No Negativity Challenge

Day 67 of 84

A couple of days ago I found myself sitting in the office of the Dean of Science at Aaron’s university. Was I intimidated? Strangely, no.

The last time I was in a Dean’s office was back in 1971 when I was a student myself. I was called up before the Dean of Women at St FXU to be reprimanded for playing a silly prank in residence. The prank? Hanging an alarm clock out the window to ring at an ungodly hour, disturbing the wrong person in the dorm room below mine. I left her office feeling like a failure and ashamed of myself.

She had asked me, “What would your brother think of this?”

My brother was a model student, had even won the Meech Award the year before, for being the most outstanding male first year student. So I guessed he wouldn’t be impressed with my prank.

I was thinking about that as I sat in the Dean of Science’s office this week. I was trying to negotiate the rest of Aaron’s school year after his concussion. He would not be able to finish the year but might be able to salvage a few credits with a couple of courses. We had been to see the Rose, the Guidance Counselor earlier and had learned about withdrawing from university. Then we went to see Rachael, in charge of student aid to find out what would happen to Aaron’s student loan after the withdrawal.

The next appointment on our list was with the Doctor, a specialist in concussions and sports medicine. He was very helpful, and gave us a note outlining Aaron’s condition and capabilities to bring to the Dean’s office the next day.

Now my mental image of a Dean, especially a Dean of Science was of an older man, grey hair and a long beard, long robe, sitting in his Ivory Tower emitting decrees and ordinances for the peons down below.


So it was initially with a little fear and trepidation that I went into this meeting. All the week’s appointments were preparing us for it; the Dean would decide what could or could not be salvaged out of Aaron’s year. I had to make myself understand that this man was my equal, not my superior. I had no reason to be intimidated.

I believe that the past 66 days of this Positively No Negativity Challenge helped me to bring confidence to that meeting. This person wasn’t someone with a grandiose title. He was Robert. And his office was on the first floor, not in an ivory tower. So I went in smiling, shook Robert’s hand and we sat down, the four of us, to discuss the rest of Aaron’s year.

Right now I am so happy that we are dealing with a small, family oriented institution that takes care of it’s own. All the week’s meetings were incredibly helpful and the people so very supportive. They all had my son’s interest at heart and were willing to do whatever it would take to accommodate him.

We left the Dean’s office feeling pretty good about the decisions made, and then Dave and I headed back home to the Valley.

Today my son will attend his first class in exactly two months.

Today I am grateful:

1. For a great university community

2. For healing

3. For a quiet day to unwind

4. For a good night’s sleep

5. For this challenge

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