I took a class last year that inspired me. No, not just inspired me, excited me – encouraged me. On young adult literature and its merits for library patrons, the class let us explore different novels and analyze their various themes and messages. We read an assortment of books and articles, and each one I devoured quickly. I’d share them with whoever I could afterward.
Samir joked that I had become a teacher’s pet within the process, and it was partially true, if only because the professor was fantastic. Knowledgable and interesting, she brought new ideas to mind. I discussed her articles with him; I quoted her in papers. After looking at her career, I realized that, essentially, I wanted to follow in her path. It was then, also, that I decided that I wanted to become a youth librarian (although I really knew that part from the beginning – the class solidified the decision).
I found out a few weeks ago that I was invited to speak at a library conference. Overjoyed, I looked at who else was presenting. My teacher was listed. Not only was I going to be able to hear her presentation, I was also going to finally meet her in person (as my classes are online). I was excited, nervous. I started to prepare for the conference.
Yesterday at the conference, in between psychotically checking to ensure I had my presentation notes and drinking copious amounts of water, I checked name tags to see who was around me, looking for others from my area and for, of course, my professor. I met some great people, but didn’t actually see her until she was up to speak.
The speech was good, but not necessarily applicable to my studies. Still, I listened eagerly. Halfway through, however, she made a comment about 20-somethings. And then another. And then another, essentially stating how we say we know more than we actually do. She was (although politely) dissing my generation.
I was floored. Aghast. And the worst part was I was to go on after her.
As I nervously approached the podium, I looked out at the faces around me, wondering if they thought that too. Why was I even there? What did I know that those smiling at me didn’t.
I survived my speech, rushing through it with cheeks turning different shades of red. I got a few nods and questions and overall I suppose they enjoyed it. It wasn’t the best first conference to speak at, to say the least. However, I appreciated the opportunity.
Before going, I wanted to at least meet my professor, say hi, give her the benefit of the doubt. She was in conversation with another attendee, so I stood on the side, in her line of sight, for around five minutes waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Nothing.
I turned around and left, hoping the rest of my day was a bit more fulfilling. I guess that’s the thing with heroes – in the end, they’re just people.