Student Letter: “Sorry I Skipped My Final Exam”

I received a post card  in my mail box today at the City College of San Francisco that made me laugh. A student  in my  Fall 2010 PH50A History of Photography course was an enthusiastic attendee all semester and then suddenly stopped showing up. As it was my first semester teaching the class (which subsequently kept me busy most nights, weekends and early mornings before the class meeting) it was great to have enthusiastic students show up Monday mornings at 8:30am  – ontime!

When this particular student quit showing up, I was a bit worried but not too worried. Sudden attendance drops happen at urban community colleges. San Francisco is an expensive place to live and many students are juggling classes with full-time work and families. Not uncommonly, life obligations get in the way. Today however, via a post card stamped from South Korea, I learned the real reason for the sudden lack of attendance. The reason? Not what you’d typically think – and a reminder of why I feel grateful to do what I do!

The postcard above reads: Erika, I am sorry I skipped my final exam. On a whim, I sold all my stuff, bought a mechanical film camera, and moved abroad to pursue a more analog lifestyle. Last week, I visited North Korea, this week South, next week Japan, then Siberia, China then who knows. I’ll be back in 2012! Maybe. I decided to see the world and your class was my inspiration. Thank you!

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