'I discovered my mind'
Personal reflections from Jean Andrews
With only 24 college credit hours in art, I determined to get a Ph.D. degree in art. The University of Texas had none, but a new program had begun at North Texas. I could not consider going out of the state because it was too expensive, and all I could be sure of was income from the payments from the sale of my dream home and rental from my little house.
The year was 1973 and I was 50 years old when I made my first decision that did not consider anyone but me. I applied, took the GRE and was accepted on the condition that I made an acceptable score. Before the results were in I had to rent my house, put 35 years of housekeeping in storage and move myself to North Texas. It was scary! What if I didn't pass? I'd just have to take it again because this was "go-for-it." Needless to say, I went.
What a miracle those three years were. I discovered my mind and through it art, music, books, but best of all philosophy. The first year was very hard on me physically. Like any LOLIT (little old lady in tennis shoes), I thought I knew about registration. They said three courses. I replied, "I've always taken five." No one dared dispute me and I became the second oldest doctoral student out of 820 and the only one carrying five courses, three with labs.
I didn't know about graduate school but I learned quickly. The next semester, wearing denim and tennis shoes like the rest of the students, I was the first one in line for everything. I lived in one room and was furnished a studio in an old vacant house with two other grad students. In those three years I did 90 graduate hours with a 4.0. Drawings and paintings began to pour out of me. I read and I read – I couldn't get enough. My memory became photographic. I was on a creative roll. What if this had happened when I was 20 years younger? …
For relaxation I kept a string of little old men in dating order by color coding them so as not to double book them on my crowded calendar. The younger women where I lived had a field day trying to determine which of my visitors was green, orange, red or blue. They liked my green one best.