Defending my Thesis; Graduating with Honors–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–May 1995, Part 2

Possibly on May 13 or a later date, Cugan and I took our new favorite movie, Much Ado About Nothing with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson, to Laura’s house and showed it to the boarders there.

I had never been to Laura’s house before.  She lived outside of V–, a small town in M– County.  Her boarders were her boyfriend Bob, Shannon, Dan, Helena, and Helena’s two-year-old daughter, Ellie.  All of them were in the SCA.

Laura tended to pick up strays, both human and animal.

She lived in a moderate-sized, unfinished, red house on a moderate-sized farm.  The living room had no carpet, and it and the bathroom still seemed to be only half-done.  The living room was packed with stuff.

I don’t think Laura raised crops, but she did have a horse or two, and rabbits in the barn.  Cats and a large black puppy named Nala wandered around.

Soon, two cute, tiny puppies joined the group, Shannon’s puppies.  When he got older, the male tried to hump Nala, even though he was a toy breed and Nala was one of the largest breeds.  Eventually, unfortunately, Nala ate the female.  🙁

Ellie was as curious and mischievous as a two-year-old usually is, but the others didn’t childproof the house.  When she found the flour and covered the house with it before everyone woke up, they probably shouldn’t have been surprised, since the cupboard wasn’t locked.

Bob had a bad temper, which Laura didn’t put up with for long.  After all, she’d already been in a bad marriage, and left when the guy pointed a gun at her.  I sensed she was going to break up with him when I saw how annoyed she acted with Bob.  Cugan saw nothing.

Dan must have been lazy or a bad boyfriend, because one day he was thrown out of the house, and Shannon ended up marrying another guy.


The defense of my thesis was actually the last of my finals, since seniors took finals earlier than the other classes did.

On Monday, May 15, I defended my thesis in front of the panel of teachers I selected.  I forget who was in the panel.  I know Dr. Nelson and his wife were, and I suspect Thea, Todd and Christina also were.

The defense was set for ten a.m.; it lasted twenty minutes, and the teachers asked me questions.  Then I went outside the room, one of the conference rooms in Jubilee, and waited in the hall as they talked about my thesis behind the closed door.

Then Nelson came out and said they were impressed with my extensive reading (more than some of the teachers on the panel had done) and the quality of the work, and would give me an A-.  

Not only that, but Nelson put my thesis in the Roanoke library, along with past theses which were so honored, as an example for future students of a good thesis paper.  

Such an end to all the anxieties I held about this paper for three and a half years!  And at first I wasn’t even going to write one: I was going to drop out of the Honors Core program and take Senior Studies instead!

Now, I needed to re-type the thesis, and give it to Nelson.

Not only that, but the school informed me I would graduate cum laude and with honors.  Though I can’t find my final grades, my total GPA was between 3.5 and 3.59.

I got to wear a gold, braided cord for the ceremony, exactly the same as and worn exactly the same as the one given to NHS members in my high school graduation.

As I wrote in the Journal,

One more page of my thesis to type!! That’s the last of my homework. Wow. I can’t believe it. It still hasn’t hit me.

Last Wednesday as I sat in Chaucer, I thought, this is my last class. And I won’t be going to Chaucer or any other class, except for Brit Lit final.

–Such a thought! It made me sad, especially since I’ll miss Chaucer. That was a fun class. I’d recommend it, but Christina wouldn’t be teaching it next year. I’ll also miss Pearl’s CD’s. 🙂

I’m so happy to say I got an A- on that thesis!


On a Wednesday just before graduation, a guy came up to me at the information desk in the library.  He was pleasant-looking, and chatted with me for a bit, finding out my name and such.

I wasn’t deliberately flirting with him, but suspected he was interested.  Apparently my instincts on these things improved greatly over the years, because while I was on a date with Cugan, this guy called the apartment and asked for me.

Tara or Pearl answered, and told him I was away.  Somehow she ended up telling him I was at SCA dance practice with my boyfriend and dressed in medieval clothes, which he said sounded “so cool.”  Afterwards, Tara or Pearl chatted and one said to the other, “How does she do it?”

How do I do it?  They once asked this same question about Cindy, who despite having only one sort-of boyfriend before college, kept attracting guys at college.

I had such bad luck with men that I often felt like an ugly duckling–until the second half of senior year.  And now my friends were asking of me, “How does she do it?”  What a difference!

Later on, this guy called me and talked for a bit.  He asked me to dinner, but I said I wasn’t comfortable with that.  I didn’t know him all that well, and I had an exclusive boyfriend.

He seemed okay with that, and asked if he could get to know me as a friend, because he recently divorced and was looking for friends.  I said okay, but I didn’t see him in the library or hear from him again.

Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound
January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD
February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995: