Saturday, June 4, 2011

PBA, Book Two

My first day as a college student at Palm Beach Atlantic in the Fall of 1987 was pretty heady. I can still remember walking through the August heat down Olive Ave. to my first class: Philosophy. Not exactly a cushy introduction. Dr. Don Berry, whose sons I grew up with in the church, stood at the lectern in Borbe Hall and proceeded to conduct the class in the most laissez faire manner I imagined was possible. No outlines, no structure at all. This was not anything to which I was accustomed. I kept waiting...waiting..for some main point, but he just spoke. He spoke like one of those guys who sat cross legged in the Student Center, pontificating on antimatter, if with a bit more authority. Rather, Dr. Berry, a highly esteemed and great man, mind you, was dressed like a Southern Baptist preacher and spoke of Heidegger and his contemporaries. And note taking? I had no idea what to write down.

Philosophy class also introduced me to the "mixed ages" sampling so common in college, especially with what was largely a commuter campus. There were middle aged men sitting in the front row; I found it odd. I was 18 and used to being around people my own age in the classroom. It was odd but I began to appreciate it, and the class. Even if it was often merely an arena for debate. While my new friend Randall, who in great frustration, stated rather frankly that his time would be better spent even masturbating, I grew to really enjoy Dr. Berry's lectures. We did have tests, mostly essay, and I'm pretty sure I received an "A". It would prove to be one of my most memorable courses.

During my freshmen year I also took American Free Enterprise, required for all students. As Dr. Donald Warren recounts in his book Miracles and Wonders: A Chronicle of Palm Beach Atlantic University, the class was created in the 1970s by Colonel Trauger (who I had for Advertising a few years later)after he became increasingly dismayed at students' lack of understanding of how our market system (is supposed to) works after he saw the results of a campus questionnaire. Robert Inglis taught the comprehensive course. Dr. Inglis would be my prof. for several more classes as I later declared my major to be Business Administration.

Why? I've thought about this many times. That's what a guy was supposed to major in. Women typically majored in psychology (or as the many Baptist humorists quipped: the "Mrs." degree). Certainly some truth to that, as I'll relay. PBA was a Christian campus, so of course many of the guys who didn't major in business sought their B.A. or B.S. in religion. Not too many girls did. I took a homiletics course my senior year (my minor was Communications, and since we had to write and deliver a sermon at the end of the semester it counted as such) and in a class of 12 or so there were 2 females. When they delivered their orations they were torn apart during the critique session for being "too emotive."

As a sidebar, I still have the sermon I wrote, which was based on the Book of Job. I delivered mine in a semi-ominous tone ala Brad Crandall, who narrated IN SEARCH OF HISTORIC JESUS, that schlocky documentary (I use that term loosely) from the 70s. I don't remember any harsh criticism. I was also no Adrian Rogers at the podium.

Was I interested in business? Yes, actually I was. In those days, I read the Wall Street Journal and even some of the more esoteric economic journals with great interest. Mainly, I just seemed like the right major to declare, a path to credibility during the job hunt. I was naive. Bus. Adm. is one of the most general of degrees. I had little idea specifically of what I wanted to do. But I still had a few years to think about it.

I was also interested in literature and creative writing, but the so-called Voices of Reason were loud and discouraged me from taking that road, a road I believed would lead to unemployment. If I had it to do over again? Well, as I later found audiology as my career choice, I would probably major in Communication Disorders, but PBA didn't have that. Otherwise, I might've tried something more artistic.

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