115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

Prior Learning Assessment

Sean Bernard, University of La Verne

Sean Bernard  teaches in and directs the creative writing program at the University of La Verne, and is the author of the novel Studies in the Hereafter (2015, Red Hen) and the collection Desert sonorous, recipient of the 2014 Juniper Prize.


Sean Bernard is the author of the novel Studies in the Hereafter (2015, Red Hen) and the collection Desert sonorous, recipient of the 2014 Juniper Prize. In 2012, he received a literature fellowship in prose from the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches in and directs the creative writing program at the University of La Verne, where he also serves as editor for Prism Review. His stories have recently appeared in The Gettysburg ReviewGlimmer Train, and Crazyhorse.

Prior Learning Assessment

My girlfriend and I went to a career fair. This was at her new university – she hadn’t started classes yet, but she’d applied and been admitted. She wanted to go back to school. Classes started in a few weeks but she hadn’t met with anyone about what actual classes to take, and I was unconvinced anything would really happen. No one seemed nervous about the details.

          Maybe she just liked the idea of going back to school. I was encouraging because I was supposed to be. I also didn’t care a whole lot. It was that point in life for me, a point that I’m still, to be honest, stuck in.

          They had these panels at the career fair. It was a Saturday. We got there at ten a.m. and it took a while to find parking. I parked on a sidestreet behind a microbus, its butt-end messy with faded surfing decals. No Hodads. A sandaled man watering his tomatoes set a hose down and put both hands on hips and stared at us. We ignored him and walked toward the college. Or anyway pretended to ignore him – I wanted badly to turn back. I was afraid he’d spray water on the car. Not that it mattered but for some reason it did to me, terribly, and it made it so I had to pee when we got to the school. I felt embarrassed. Water on a car. Who cares?

          The panels were in addition, I mean, to all the booths where people wanted you to write your name and email address. The cops had a strong presence. They had a lot of booths at the fair, at least six all spread out. It felt a little desperate. They had free whistles and plastic badges and I wondered what it would be like if everyone in the whole country was police. All of us. It sounded okay for a minute, and then I was poked in the ribs.