Thursday, August 8, 2019

Diary of Zita Cecilia McNamara—More About My First Weeks on Campus—Ethnic Ignorance

Dear Bishop (My First Weeks on Campus): My roommate is real nice. She is a junior preparing for a nursing career. She has a lot of studying to do. In a way it seems strange that she would be placed in this freshmen dorm. Gee Whiz, girls are in and out of their rooms laughing, partying, having guys in their rooms, playing loud music, etc. She is trying to study in the midst of this noise and chaos.

After about three weeks, she could not take it any more. She asked me if I would move with her to a more quiet dorm. Geezo, I have so much stuff. The idea of moving is a bit too much for me even to consider. I really will miss her. She is such a nice roomy.

Well, let me share with you some unique experiences. If you recall I mentioned in my last entry I would share more about the ignorance shown by some of the other girls in Fisher House. Here goes. . .

My roomy and I are in our room talking and this girl walks in. She says not a word but walks around looking at the stereo, tape recorder, and fridge that we had as well as our canned goods. My roomy and I just looked at her wondering what was the deal. Keep in mind our dorm room was not huge, but large enough for my roomy and me. Then, she looked at my roomy and asked: “Can I turn on your stereo?” My roomy replied: “Well, you have ask Zita; it’s not mine.”

Then, she looked at me and asked: “Is this stuff all yours?”

I nodded the affirmative.

Then, she asked: “What does your Father do?”

I responded: “He works; what does yours do?”

She just walked out, not answering my question.

My roomy looked puzzled and asked me: “What do you think she wanted?” I shrugged and said that I did not have a clue.

The next day another girl from our floor came to our dorm room. My roomy and I looked up and welcomed her. She gave a “hey.” Then, she, said to me: “You have a lot of stuff. I doubt that my servants have all this stuff. What does your Father do?”

Now, before I write my response, I had to reflect on the many “human relations workshops” I was a part and the value of such workshops provided not just for students we talked to but for me as well. So, instead of my being irritated, I just chalked up her inquiry and others who made similar inquiries those first weeks as just “plain ol’ ignorance. I figured many of them had not had little if any contact with African Americans except from what they may have seen or TV or a movie. And much of the stuff on was not always that flattering of African Americans.

So, I responded: “Well, like I told your other friend, my Dad works like I figure most of your Dads do. Now, let me give you something to think about: You really do not know what your servants have or do not have. If you did you would not ask such a question. And I can tell you one thing. I would not be surprised that your servants are sick of you.”

Well, she left and fewer visitors came to ask those ignorant questions.

Um, I guess I am functioning as an ambassador for the ethnic ignorant.

Gee, I am glad my roomy is not like some of the other girls. She has said to me: “Wow, I am so sorry.”

I let her know she is not responsible for others’ ignorance.

Reflections: I have always been a strong believer that God has a reason for everything that happens. The unconscious bias that I believe landed me in the almost all-white Fisher House was a blessing in disguise.

Throughout my high school years, I was a member of the Detroit Junior Round Table. This was a metropolitan Detroit human relations organization that was made up of Detroit and suburban Detroit high school students. This was a wonderful organization for young people. It was made up of teens of different faiths and races.

Some of us would be chosen to provide workshops at schools with little diversity. Some of us would be on panels that would answer questions regarding racial relations. I learned how to anticipate and answer questions that may annoy some. My experiences on those panels prepared me for those whom I met in my dorm.

Would I become annoyed? Oh yes! However, I met so many other girls in Fisher House, especially my roomy, that were so nice and not as limited in their experiences to treat people as they would wish others to treat them. As a matter of fact, I have many fond memories of stay at Fisher House.

Also, my whole background made me feel comfortable being in an all-white environment. I attended a Catholic grade school and high school that had diverse student bodies. Also, the neighborhood I lived was well-integrated. So, my whole experience growing up was being with a diverse group of people.

 Thus, I know that my background prepared me for the ignorant and the wise. I learned that no one group of people was a particular way. And with that knowledge my background gave me, I was able to help the ignorant and not believe any one group of people all felt the same way.

OK, next week, let me share more about my first weeks as a freshman at the U.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Diary of Zita Cecilia McNamara: First Day on Campus

Editor's Note: Click HERE to read DR C's previous post on the origin of Zita's diary. This entry begins with 13-year-old Zita writing to her guardian angel, "Bishop."

Dear Bishop (Day 1 on Campus): Well, with total excitement and glee, I get out of the car in front of my dorm. I tell my Mums and Daddy that I shall go in and get signed in. Daddy and Mums get out of their respective cars preparing to get my stuff ready to move in. 

Of course, there is a line, not too long. When I get to the front, the young lady asks my name. I give it. She goes through her files, asks me to repeat my name, looks some more, and says she could not find my name. Had I come to the wrong dorm? Nope, I assure her. Then, I pulled out the confirmation info from the university. She looks at it; then, she confers with another young lady. That young lady says, "Oh, I recall that name. Um, it is in this file." Whew, I am so glad that I had not made a mistake. Then, I am given my keys to my dorm room and to my mailbox. 

I let Mums and Daddy know I am all set. And the move-in begins. I have so much stuff—trunk with sheets, pillowcase, clothes, blankets, etc. And I have a stereo and tape recorder and boxes of food. 

I recall fondly that as the days approaching my going to college got closer, Daddy said to Mums, “Whatever she needs, whatever it costs, I want her to have it. Just let me know.” Also, I recall the night before the moving-in day Daddy calls me in the kitchen where he counts out the money for my tuition and room and board [no checking accounts then]. 

My Goodness, I know that this is really happening. I am going to college! All of my hard work has paid off. Most importantly, I see the look of pride in Daddy’s eyes. He says to me, “You will be the first person with your Daddy’s name that will be going to college. I am so proud of you.”

Then, he continues and says to me, “Put your hand on my shoulder.” Gee, I have no idea what is going to be said. I do so. Then, Daddy says to me, “Remember this shoulder; it will always be there for you to lean on.” I feel a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. Yes, that is my Daddy, always there.

Oh, I do not want to say that Mums is not as much a part of my feeling of support. Yet, Mums and I are close in a mother-daughter way. In many cases our relationship has been like sisters; still, I always know who the Mums is.

Daddy and I are close in a different way. Daddy does not express his feelings as much as he just shows it. That day he had me put my hand on his shoulder is one I shall always remember.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Zita Cecilia McNamara is Back with More to Share!

Editor's Note: Click HERE to read DR C's previous post on the origin of Zita's diary. This entry begins with Zita as a new Freshman coed at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor writing to her guardian angel, "Bishop."

Dear Bishop, 

I have been on a hiatus. Much has occurred in my life since my graduation from high school. Let me give a recap. And what better time to continue this diary since fall semesters will begin very soon for many.

I was so proud looking into the audience and seeing my Grandma Mary, Aunt Rose and Uncle Tom, and my parents as I gave my salutatorian speech. The look on their faces warmed my heart. This was my gift to the people whom I loved so very much. These were the people who were such an important part of my life. They are whom my parents would drive me to for visits. And once I became old enough to drive, I would continue those visits, always feeling so very welcomed.

My beloved Aunt Mattie and Uncle Maxie did not attend. However, Aunt Mattie made sure Grandma Mary looked so lovely. And she and Uncle Maxie gave me a lovely card with money enclosed. They were not wealthy by any means. So, when I opened that card and a hundred dollar bill fell out, I had to catch my breath. Gee, I recognized just how much my graduation meant to them.

On that same day, Mr. Hutcherson stopped by the house and congratulated me and brought a present, a card with money enclosed, from him and Mrs. Hutcherson, whom I fondly called “Hutch.”

Then, I attended Orientation on the same day or the next. Mother, having been to college, had prepared me as to how to choose my classes. She suggested that I consult a map before I choose classes. The campus was a large one. And she wanted me to avoid having to dash across campus to classes that were not close. Good advice. As a matter of fact, I was able to help others in the setting up of their classes.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

DR C Now Offering Online Courses!

Many have expressed the flexibility of online classes but wanting even lower and more flexible costs for two hours and for three hours.

So, I have heard you and here is what I am offering: ONE DOLLAR A MINUTE (a minimum of 15 minutes and continued increments of 15 minutes)  

I am offering customized one-on-one online classes that fit your schedule and your pocketbook.

Besides these classes being individualized, they are quite flexible regarding the time offered. For example, you decide you want to register for a two-hour or three-hour class. 

This does not mean you have to be engaged for a straight two hours or three hours. You and I can meet for 20 minutes on one day for a specific subject and meet on another day for another. This can be done until your two or three-hour time slot is used.

You can choose the ONE DOLLAR A MINUTE (minimum 15-minute intervals). You and I will set up a mutually-agreed upon time. 


The following are cost options that you can take advantage of: 

Friday, May 10, 2019

DR C's Academic Online Cruise Ship—Week Sixteen: Trainees Get Their Grades

To read the initial post about DR C's Academic Online Cruise, go HERE.



Day One

No class was held on this day. Instead, I wanted to finish the final three conferences that were scheduled. 

I told my trainees before the final conferences that everyone should pass this course. Their performance throughout this whole time on this ship has been the basis for this statement. Also, I wanted to assure every trainee that my mantra that “I grade on improvement” is real. And so, all they had to do is perform well on their final exam. Everyone did this except for one trainee. 

This trainee did not make it on time for his conference. He did not submit his final. "Good Grief" was my reaction because I was “pulling for” this student as I have done for all of my trainees.  Did he fail the course?

No. I kept my word that I would grade on improvement. This particular trainee has demonstrated remarkable improvement. 

There were two parts to this final, the final that I would check at the conference and the other part of the final—four (4) in-class writings. These in-class writings gave those who might not have done well on the final that would be graded in the conference another way to demonstrate their ability to write under pressure. This student who missed the deadline to meet with me did demonstrate in the in-class writings as well as in past assignments. And this is why he passed, not with a high grade, but he did pass. 

DR. C's Academic Online Cruise Ship—Week Fifteen: Conferences Continue

To read the initial post about DR C's Academic Online Cruise, go HERE.



Day One and Day Two

I continue my one-on-one conferences. I may have stated in a past log that they are about 25 minutes each in length. I check their final exams. And after doing so, I ask each one of my crew: “What grade do you feel you have earned for this final exam paper? Now, keep in mind your assessment should not be what you may have prayed for or what you may want. It should be the grade you feel this paper has earned."

In most cases, the crew member’s answer to my question and my assessment is within the range the work has actually earned.


I received the final exams on the first day of this week. Yes, I recognized this was during a holy week for some. However, I encouraged them to submit this final ahead of this time. Some did; some did not. The important factor is that all trainees knew this exam could not be submitted late.

Unfortunately, one trainee did submit his work late. I did not accept it. I reiterated the class policy regarding late work, which, at the beginning of this embarking of this ship’s voyage, each trainee acknowledged s/he understood and agreed with this rule. Furthermore, I indicated just how unfair it would be to his crewmates if I did accept his late final exam.


As long as I have served as a captain, I do know that one-on-one conferences are a must for trainees. Some trainees would never come and sit with a captain if this is not offered. Yes, those who do not want to meet with me I do allow. This seldom occurs. And for the many years I have held conferences, they have helped me give the individualized care that has been a key point of my role as captain.

I suggest that anyone who wants to take on this role, if s/he has not made conferences a major component of his/her instruction, that captain should do so.

Conferences are a major factor of my teaching and I shall always continue this methodology. They help me get to know my trainees more closely. And they get to know me. Both are very important.  

What do you think about DR C's Academic Online Cruise Ship? Tell us your thoughts in the comment box below this post. 

Saturday, April 27, 2019

DR. C's Academic Online Cruise Ship—Week Fourteen: It's Almost Over

To read the initial post about DR C's Academic Online Cruise, go HERE.



Day One

Believe it or not; now, the end of the semester is here. I will be using this week and the next for one-on-one conferences. Some were really rewarding. I had trainees who really showed real effort and improvement. What a joy!

Day Two

continued conferences. If they were not sick, they were there—on time.  Those who were ill, either presented their work to me in person or emailed their work to me during the time we were to meet. 


This week my online trainees were scheduled to email me their final exam/research paper. So, I shall be busy checking papers. 


I continue to be delighted when I read a final exam that demonstrates significant improvement. And when I give the deserved praise, I experience a joy that cannot be expressed in words when I see the smile on that student's face. 

Can I say that everyone has shown improvement? Nope.😕 However, I seem to get more good works than not-so-good. For me and for my trainees that brings real joy!

My final comments will come next week. 

What do you think about DR C's Academic Online Cruise Ship? Tell us your thoughts in the comment box below this post.