I love being a student. I can’t say I have always loved school, but I’ve always loved learning from people. One of the perks of being a college professor is that I get a tuition waiver at my school (we still pay fees, and if we audit, it’s another hundred bucks – but still well worth it in my eyes).
So when I started pre-writing (i.e. outlining and completing character questionnaires) for a murder/mystery I’ve been thinking about for a bit now, I couldn’t help but think – I know there’s a course for that. I’ve always loved detective procedurals on TV (Bones, Brooklyn 99, Lucifer, NCIS, Rizzoli and Isles, and White Collar), but I never know how much is reality and how much is to fit into the allotted time slot.
And I want this story to be as authentic as possible. Enter: Criminal Investigation. This will be the first of three courses I plan to take over the next three semesters, starting with this summer session. I’ve opted to audit mostly to take the pressure off (I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to grades…leftover expectations from my K12 years; I also have significant testing anxiety – looking at you standardized tests.) With auditing, I have access to the class, the material, and the professor – without the added pressure of worrying about my grade. I can learn for the sake of learning.
This class, which started Tuesday, is an eight-week course (accelerated to fit the summer session – it would usually be sixteen weeks, so we’ll be moving quickly). It will run the same time as my own courses that I’m teaching, too – so another reason to take a little pressure off. During this course, I’ll get to learn the “principles, procedures, and techniques” of investigation, as well as how activities are coordinated, the responsibilities of the investigator, and case preparation. I have no doubt this will be an excellent foundation to make sure I can “get it right.” Or, at least, to get it to be as authentic as I possibly can.
Plus I get to be a student again. (My last course for fun was back in 2013 – it’s definitely time!)