It’s not the 1992 on that paper that makes me feel old.
It’s the fact that I was in college at a time when it was acceptable to turn in hand-written papers.
I don’t think it was a major paper, but still.
A few weeks ago, I found myself going through a file cabinet searching for a dramatic piece that I hadn’t seen in years . . . but had committed to performing that evening.
Yes, I have over-confidence in my Finding Abilities sometimes.
Anyway, as I searched through this file cabinet I found a bunch of old college papers.
I realized that if I was looking through them anyway, I might as well go ahead and trash ones that I immediately knew weren’t worth keeping.
But it’s hard. When they’re your words. And you’re kind of a wanna-be writer and all.
Some were interesting and gave me glimpses into my 20 year old soul. Some were obviously written at 4 a.m. on the day they were due.
I finally decided that I couldn’t possibly read them all but I also didn’t want to go through all of them and NOT pitch any into the trash.
So I got rid of any papers that were for a class I didn’t remember taking. Or that I remembered hating.
Still, it hurt a little.
Do you still have old papers you wrote in school?
I have nearly everything. Last year I bought an all in one printer scanner fax that does duplex scanning. I was so tired of lugging boxes of notebooks around, so I spent many evenings scanning all my stuff and then I shredded all the hard copies. One of my proudest moments! I’m always afraid of losing the files, though!
[email protected] says
I totally do! Mine are all typed. I started college in 1992. They are all in my impressive attic. If I ever move to a home without an attic I am going to be in so much trouble!
This is a hard one for me because I’m a student now, and I’m homeschooling a middle schooler, so I’m holding on to every little thing that may help him in the upcoming years.
I did at least develop a somewhat organized place for it all, but if my classes this year are any indication, I’m going to need a bigger storage area!
Victoria–of all the things I miss about my last home, the huge attic is top of the list! SO much easier to stick it in the attic instead of making the stay/go decisions!! Kicks your tail on moving day though!!
So, so, so HARD!
Unfortunately, I did not get returned many of my compositions from teachers & profs; otherwise I’d have kept a small representative sample of my work over time, as I think they are a mirror of one’s life, & progress. But just like all my other academic work, or other tangible creativity, I would have kept a very slim, & selective handful. However, I have kept intact — & referred to rather frequently as examples, many complete semesters (years) of homework assignments & as many tests as were returned to me, for all my math & science (mostly chem) classes. I’ve been taking/studying, & teaching those subjects, since 1968 – when I was still in h.s. myself & called upon to tutor others. Must confess that neither of those subjects were ever easy for me, but loved them anyway. Music & foreign languages were easy for me, but I only loved music; I viewed languages as merely practical tools to function along the way, as I seemed to be thrown into situations where it was necessary to know what was going on & be able to communicate. While having studied Latin for more than 2 years was extremely dull by itself, it certainly helped in most of my science courses, as well as to better understand all the medical “experiences” that would be part of my life & that of my loved ones. My students over the decades began to appreciate the 3-ring notebooks of daily, tedious assignments of my own that I showed to them, that indeed it was the baby steps & struggles that would lead them to eventual completion & accomplishment. It also showed them that I was NOT a straight-A student in the very subjects that I’d later make one of several varied careers, and that eventually one can master a difficult challenge, master it, & become that “A student in daily life”, where & when it really counts – not necessarily on a report card. I was a very slow learner most of my life. But once I understood something – truly & thoroughly got it – I not only retained it, but could then explain it well to almost anyone thereafter, because I’d wrestled it to the ground myself. Further, I was a better teacher for it because I knew where & what my students were struggling, & had worked out systems to share that made sense to most other struggling students over the past 4+ decades. I personally was not impressed with the smartest of my own teachers who were brilliant in their own right, but could not impart that knowledge beyond their own brains. Indeed, some of my own profs of education in college could not teach their way out of a paper bag. I learned how NOT to teach from them.
Christina Street says
Just as bad (or worse), I think I still have the computer disks that I wrote my papers on, even though I wouldn’t be able to find a computer that would accept them!
[email protected] says
I have discs of all sorts too–the huge floppies and the little ones, and no idea where they are even. But I know they’re still there! Then there’s the boxes of notes and xeroxes from grad school. I’ve actually pitched a whole box, but the rest are still out there in mom’s garage, with books and every other kind of junk. I keep promising myself that I’ll get to it, but they’re not in my apartment anymore so I never do, mea culpa!
Danielle B says
I have the memorable ones. I have a typed paper from 1989/90 on the Challenger Disaster. (hey, I got a 100% on it!) Other junk… trashed long ago.
I’ve kept a couple, in particular the one where the prof’s comment was ‘this is the most concise & clearest in class written assignment I’ve read in several years’. (or something very similar to that). I think that one will come to the grave with me.
Yes! I’d definitely keep that! (and maybe frame it!)
oh, I feel your pain. When I was in HS / College, computers were still expensive for the average person, and I had one of those things that typed documents but wasn’t a type-writer and not a computer… word processor maybe? I forget what it’s called. Anyway, everything was stored on multiple floppys disks and I still have them… as well as the word processor because when I went to college, I was able to recycle, fix, and add to some of my old research papers, but the language wasn’t compatible, so only the word processor could read it! The “language” barrier is still an issue, and it drives my husban (who is in IT and is all about NEW Technology,) makes me hide it and would prefer I retype and save stuff in Google Docs. It also drives him nuts that I won’t let him attempt to covert it to our computer, for fear of losing all the info.
I just went through my college notes and such. It was REALLY hard, the most difficult decluttering I have done, because it makes me look at the hopes and expectations I had and compare it to what have I done for the past 19 years. *yikes*
I threw out all my college stuff right after college. I’ve never missed it. If you’d want to keep it you could always scan everything and keep it on the computer? If it takes too much time then pay your kids to do it, hehe!
Cassie Lee says
I go through purges of old journals and notebooks. I love the feel of breaking in a brand new notebook when I get a thrilling idea. But, since my mother started saving my stories when I was in kindergarten, by the time I was 16 I had boxes and boxes of half-filled notebooks. I realized it was time to throw some out.
I wish I could keep them all… Or read them all, but it would be such a waste of days. So I do an almost annual purge of my old stories. If I really like an idea/storyline I’ll plop a small write up of it into a computer folder I like to call “possible stories”.
Just don’t ask me how many files I have in that digital folder. I have never purged it.