Friday, May 9, 2008

Dazed and Confused

There is not a terribly large college going population at my school. Be that as it may, we work tirelessly to build a community where kids are both aware of, and able to go directly to four year universities. One of the more minor things that we do to promote awareness is wear our college sweatshirts/t-shirts on Friday's. It seems insignificant, but you would be shocked to realize how little kids know about universities that are not housed in the Greater Los Angeles area.

Usually, you can find me in some sort of BYU shirt, but today was laundry day. I'm all about being true to my school. I didn't go to SUU, but my younger brother did, so it didn't feel like I was completely pimping myself out. Loyalty is kind of a big deal to me.

While proctoring the super serious, double top secret US History AP test, I had the dubious honor of walking a group of female students to the bathroom. There I was, loitering outside the restroom, like a common miscreant, when a nice young man walked by and asked what SUU stood for.

I was sincerely pleased with his interest, and totally aware of this teaching moment I answered, "Southern Utah University," with a smile. What came next left me troubled and concerned.

He looked right at me and said, "Cool. Where's that?" This lead to what can only be described as a meeting of the minds. We stood there looking at one another, stymied by the geographic conundrum in which we now found ourselves. Some sort of mental chess match, neither of us quite sure where to go from here.

Was there some other definition for south that I was overlooking? Is Utah really just a mythical and mysterious land, only brought into existence through baptism?

Certainly, that can't be.

Ever cautious of squelching young, sincere curiosity I stammered, "Uhhhhhh, right next to Nevada? Just beyond Las Vegas?"

"Ohhh that's cool," and he was on his way.


Sara said...

Well, Southern Utah isn't a city, is it? I don't know where the school is either. Maybe he wanted to know more than which general area of the state it's in. (So where is it?)

Jillian said...

You're probably right. I was just stumped for a minute. It's easy to forget that the things that are totally common to you are completely new to other people.

It's in Cedar City.

becky said...


Maursupial said...

I think that people who have not taught in the AV have no understanding of the fact that the concepts of "Southern" and "Utah" are difficult and abstract ideas.

I'm The Chez said...

Seeing that I teach the likes of said student in Southern West Virginia, I would have assumed that he wanted to know the exact location, as in City/Town. However, one does have to chuckle.

We experience the exact same thing here in WV. How close is Charleston to Roanoke or Virginia Beach? WestERN Virginia, etc.