I applied to a local university in hopes of taking a few classes. Their correspondence with me has been to "BrieAnn Lund." It looks so short without the Johnson. The first letter I got from them said they needed 2 transcripts. Whenever I see the name of one of the colleges on the list, my heart starts beating faster. Let's go back about a decade in the life of BrieAnn Lund Johnson, back when I was BrieAnn Lund without the Johnson. 

I was all set to go to the University of Arizona and in the process of switching my major from English to Creative Writing (yes, I was changing my declared major before school even started), but there were two minor* things standing in my way.
1. My car, Lou (the most amazing lovely, super rad first car ever, a light blue 1988 Buick LeSabre with plush navy velvet seats), whom I had grown to love very much, was on blocks in my driveway, and she wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.  AKA: I was car-less.
 2. I was broke. Super broke. And jobless. 
The jobless/car-less thing was a vicious cycle. I needed a car, but I didn't have a job. I needed a job, but I didn't have a car to get there. So, right before school was going to start, I called UA and let them know I was out (I'd already met my dorm mate and everything). I had a super free ride to Central Arizona College, which happened to be right down the road from my parent's house. And I had some community scholarships to pay for books.

And then I decided to move to California with my aunt and uncle. I quickly transferred everything to on-line courses and that was that. Except that on-line courses ended up being a nightmare with lots of random technical difficulties.

Somewhere along the way, I moved back to AZ, got a job at Walgreen's (a mile from my house - walkable!), became officially engaged, and was fired from Walgreen's (I took too much time off, except that I didn't really take it off, Jake called in, unbeknownst to me, and took a long weekend off for me because he was secretly flying out over fall break to propose. When I got called into the manager's office and he started out with "We're going to need someone a little more dependable." I was like, "What? I had bronchitis." Fact: I had just taken two days off because I had bronchitis. And then the manager reminded me of the weekend "I'd" taken off right after I started working there. I was trying to remember taking time off. Oh but wait, I didn't take time off, and if my name wasn't on the schedule, then how would I ever know I was supposed to be there before my then-boyfriend called me off. It was weird, and I didn't find out Jake had done that until I was telling him how I got fired. Pish-posh. There were tears. And not to Jake, but during the actual firing. I tried to keep them in, but they would not stay. I could not believe that I, BrieAnn Lund, was getting fired. Especially from Walgreen's. Especially by a guy who was about to pop the buttons off of his uniform vest.). 

Back to school: I was withdrawn from 2 of the 4 courses, and thought that "incomplete(s)" would follow for the other 2, but that was not the case. At the end of the semester, right before I got married, I got a letter in the mail from CAC. It was a transcript. Can you guess my GPA? You'll never guess, I didn't think it was possible, and I think it might be a record.


You read that right. Point-Five-Seven. I wish I had a copy to prove it to you. I didn't know enough about anything college-y then to go in and request that they be changed to incomplete(s). And after a little tear-fest, I don't know that I cared too much either. I was getting married, and that was enough to keep my mind off of it. But I started caring when I got serious about applying to schools in Oklahoma, and the only thing I had from an institution of higher learning had my name with 0.57 next to it. One of the universities I applied to was the one I am now wanting to take some courses at. My name should have changed with my most recent application, but alas, it did not. So I am BrieAnn Lund, and they needed my transcript from CAC, which they now have, and I called today because they still need my transcript from OCU, which I sent 2 weeks ago (the call was also about the whole name thing).

I ended up going to a community college my first semester in Oklahoma. Out-of-state tuition was cheaper there than at a university. It ended up being really a good thing. I was able to take my 4.0 from there and get the full academic transfer scholarship from OCU, even if the academic transfer scholarship was a pittance compared to the first-time freshman academic scholarship. It was something like 4,000/year for transfers and 10,000/year for first-time freshman. The difference would have been 3/4 of my student loans. But seeing an academic scholarship with my name on it was redeeming, even if I was on academic probation for the first semester to make sure I wasn't really a 0.57 GPA kind of gal. I don't know how many times I had to explain that number to people: professors, financial aid, admissions counselors. Ha. It will follow me for the rest of my academic life. It's okay [now]. I've grown to appreciate the irony that exists in being able to say I have a college transcript that says 0.57 and another one that says I graduated with honor. Magna even. I'm glad the latter is the most conclusive, even if it doesn't say summa.

One more secret, since I'm in a divulging mood:
I never sent in Thank You notes for the community scholarships I got in High School. It has been pressing on my mind. I appreciated them, and I didn't even ask for the other half of them because I didn't want them to be disappointed they picked me. I still remember what they were. I'm sure I could contact my high school and get the addresses. Yes, I think I'll do that. AND...

I wish it was a one-time thing: We never sent out Thank You notes from our wedding. But we wrote all of them. Every single one. But after a while, it was like, do we go ahead and send these? I think we held onto them for 4 years before tossing them. Let it be known that I am still thankful for every dish and dollar and card and towel and kind word and pot and utensil and glass and crock pot and iron and basket and picture frame and every big and little thing. I'm sorry I never let you know. AND...

I didn't send out a few of the Thank You cards after Magnolia was born. I wrote them! But they live in my top drawer. They are in the picture above. We moved when Magnolia was 7 weeks old, and I didn't have addresses for a few of them in Chicago. The cards moved to two different houses now, and Jake thinks it's crazy that I still have them. But I do. So:

Mardee Clive (orange envelope)
Monica Crews [who is now Monica Phillips] (orange envelope)
Amber Dowdle (pink and green envelope)
Carina Bischoff (pink and green envelope)

Thank you for watching Cora while I was on bed rest and for the meals and for the cute dresses and for the kind words. I'm still grateful from the bottom of my heart for you helping me take care of my darling daughter and family during a difficult pregnancy.

And George and Celeste Jones (pink and green envelope): Thank you for the cute clothes for the girls. I loved that you got something for both of them. And I loved that they were both yellow.

And Carl and Margaret Edgerton (yours is the big white one): I wrote you a card after a service over a year ago. I'm still going to send it someday, and I still mean every word I said. 

And maybe I'll send all of these cards someday. It's not like I'm going to toss them now after I've had them for so long.

I'm happy to report I'm doing much better. As you can tell, writing a thank you note has never been a problem. It's the sending it - and that might be just as important as the feelings of gratitude - but my collection hasn't grown in a couple of years, so hopefully this lack of sending ability is a thing of the past.


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