When I was in college at The Ohio State University, I decided to use a pencil to take notes and record my answers on tests, essays included. I liked a pencil (and still do) because I felt a sense of control over my responses. I could erase and start over if necessary.
Two years ago, the alumni magazine solicited entries for momentos or storied keepsakes from college that were special.
I submitted a story about my most cherished item, a gray Ohio State pencil. A few weeks later, I received an email. My entry was accepted and I needed to send a picture of myself to accompany the feature as well as the pencil.
I carefully wrapped my pencil, now about three inches long and sent it in a small USPS box. I was anxious my beloved pencil would get lost in the mail, or somehow fall off the editor's desk and land in a trash can. Sensing my fear, the kind editor of the magazine let me know when the pencil arrived.
Below is what appeared in the summer 2018 issue of The Ohio State University alumni magazine - "Simple, Yet Instrumental."
When I entered Ohio State as a freshman in January 1967 I had already experienced an unsuccessful semester elsewhere. I was anxious and my self-confidence was close to zero. Before classes began, I went to the bookstore and (for $40.00) purchased all of my books for the winter quarter. I also bought an Ohio State pencil. I didn't think much about the purchase of a humble writing instrument that day, but somehow this pencil served as a constant in my adjustment to a large campus. It gave me hope, encouragement and confidence as the months and years continued. It was with me at all times, tucked safely in my purse as I walked across campus. I took all of my tests for the next three and a half years with this pencil, filling lots of blue books and computer cards. It's been nearly 50 years since my graduation as a speech therapist, and I still treasure this pencil that accompanied me on my path from a shaky, uncertain beginning toward a successful professional life.