Back to school at 42

I registered to take a course this winter at the community college, and thought it might be interesting to blog about it.

I wondered if it will be like that new TV show, Community? That would be so cool.

I went the compus today to pick up my textbook ($114 used; I remember when I thought it was outrageous to pay $50 for a new textbook. Yikes!) and found it looking pretty much the same as when I went there right after graduating high school, that is after going to and dropping out of two other colleges first. It’s the same unattractively functional campus, but then what more does a community college campus have to be.

Walking into K-building, the Student Center, to hit the bookstore, I noted that it smelled the same. It wasn’t a bad smell, it wasn’t a stink. It wasn’t a particularly effervescient smell either, but it was a memory trigger for me. I spent the better part of three years on that campus, taking classes that I was mostly exicited about and eager to do well and move on to a university, preferably one away from home. I also worked on the school newspaper, when they had one. Apparently they don’t anymore. You might think that working on a community college newspaper wouldn’t be all that exciting, and you’d be right, normally, but that particularl sememster was an election year — Bush v. Dukakis, and because Macamb county was lousy with Reagan Democrats the candidates hit it hard. In fact, the saying back then was that so goes Macomb county so goes Michigan and so goes Michigan so goes the country. A big spot light was cast. And I got to be in the middle of it, attending press conferences for Bush, Dukakis, and Reagan. It was pretty amazing. I even got to talk with some of the secret service, plus meet reporters from The NY Times, The Chicago Tribune etc. It was a great experience to kick off a journalism career with, but I wasn’t that interested in journalism. I wanted to be fiction writer. And at the time I didn’t see how being a reporter would help me get there. Shows how dense I was back then. Who knows where I could have gone from there? And what kind of experience I might gained. Ah, well….

Anyhoo… it was interesting to be back on my old academic stomping grounds. But a little depressing as well. I’m not going to be one of the young, cool  hip students (if indeed they exist at community collge) but one of the mid-life returning students. I remembered those people. Not that there was anything wrong with them, they usually made the best lab and study partners. But it seemed a bummer that school was more like work to them than an enjoyable experience. I enjoyed school immensely. I guess because I was good at it. But I wonder if I’ll enjoy this time around as well. We’ll see, I guess.

Of course, I imagine there won’t be too many of those young hipster students in my class, since it runs from 8-10pm TTH.


3 responses to “Back to school at 42

  1. I just realized that I need to read your blog post. I’ve been so busy lately – i opened the email and it dropped off my radar. ugh! thank you for sending it! i’ll get on it tomorrow. thank you so much. anyway, my husband, 43, his books this semester were $806!! three accounting books. i felt so sick i thought i might throw up a little. i still think the whole 40-year-old freshman is a terrific blog name/post name/book. we should collaborate on a slideshare presentation when they have their next contest! it could be really funny!!!

    • That’s okay, Jen. Don’t sweat it. I know how busy you are. And believe me I’ve got plenty of other projects on my plate that I can work on in the mean-time.

      $806 for books — that is a little nauseating (sp?).

      I thought that there was a blog entitled 40-year-old freshman? Or am I thinking of something else.

      I would be in effect (or is it affect?) a freshman, since it’s an intro class. But I suppose that I have an advantage in that I have 2 degrees already. So…

      Anyway. Class from 8 to 10 pm should be interesting. Depending on my classmate, Thursday (and possible Tuesday, who knows) could turn into a bar night. HA!

      Collaborating on a slideshare sounds cool — only, what is that?

  2. Be always learning. Cliche, I know, but it is wise and I think characteristic of our generation. My wife just finished her last undergrad class this summer and now is applying to grad school after 17 years of raising our kids. I am bracing for book costs and all of the other costs, but a mind is a terrible thing to waste, right? Dang, another cliche! Sorry. Congrats on sniffing the halls of community college once again–It may smell the same but it will be way different this time.

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