Friday, September 28

2(20) + X = This Nontradtional Student

I understand life is a series of continual changes and bumps in the road. I'm learning that more and more as I embark upon life (once again) as a nontraditional student. I'm learning, because I'm paying attention.

The first challenge to overcome was the 85 million pounds of books to carry up 38 concrete steps only to walk uphill to a building and climb 30 steps to Math class. By spring, I suspect I'll have legs that will challenge Tina Turner's. I do this 3 times a week so I'm thinking this qualifies as exercise, right?

Parking deserves mention.
The parking lot I chose might be below 38 concrete steps, but the other two student lots are in the next county! I'm not 20 anymore so I try to park in the same county. (Well technically, I am 20-- twice and then some!)
But, I've figured out how to outsmart the young folks. If I arrive at least 15 minutes prior to class, I can easily find a space. Maybe it doesn't take a younger body much time to get to class. Or maybe they need that extra 10 minutes of sleep... who knows?

Another thing that has changed is that desks have went by the wayside for tables. I sit in front where there is always (elbow) room. The majority of the traditional students want to sit in the back, it seems.

I ask questions. If I don't understand or didn't hear, I ask questions. At this stage in my life, peer pressure is long gone.

I asked a question in math the other day about linear equations.
Mr. Math Professor said "Listen while I explain so I won't have to tell you this again."
Why would I not listen? I asked the questions, didn't I? Was that a "canned" response?
I ignored whatever implications were intended because I genuinely want to know so I can get through this algebraic nightmare!

After class, a young man in his 20s came up to me and offered further explanation. He then commented, "I bet it's been a really long time since you had math, huh?"
Without missing a beat, I said "Oh, about a hundred years."
(I'm doing okay.)

Now Biology is the killer for me... filled with long words I can't even pronounce, let alone spell. And I'm a good speller, too!
Dr. Biology bases all tests on lecture alone. We haven't cracked that $150 "required" book yet.
During Lab last week, I pulled out my fan to fend off a hot flash. I was waving it and my hair was flying when suddenly, a young man notices me.

"Hey, my grandma had a fan like that," he said. "She used to take it to church with her. She used it all the time."
To which I replied, "I bet I know why."

Dr. Biology saw me waving the fan and immediately went to the thermostat in an effort to adjust the room temperature. I explained it wasn't his thermostat that was the problem, it was my thermostat. He gave me a look of acknowledgment and walked back to the blackboard, trying desperately to hide his amusement. Okay Dr. Biology. That's fine. What do you say we check back and see how amusing hot flashes are when your wife hits menopause?

I'm settling in, I think.

When I begin my 30 minute drive to school, I have an escort to the end of the road. It makes me feel good that the dogs think they are looking out for me.

I've clocked old Jake here at 22 mph!

And when I park my car at home in the afternoon, this is the first thing I notice:

I'm establishing a routine. I'm sleeping better.
And on most nights, I fall asleep sitting up before 10 p.m.


slouching mom said...

Oh, I love these tales of life in the classroom! Please keep sharing them!

Nessa said...

Great pictures. I love your stories. You seem to be taking your differences well. Just remember you already know lots of things they haven't learned yet. When you are done classes you'll be miles ahead of the rest.

blackbird said...

Gosh you are brave.

Jennifer said...

I'm so happy you're doing this. I know it's stressful, but the ultimate benefit is worth it.

cce said...

This reminds me of taking my final Landscape Architecture exams while nine months pregnant. It was hard to even lean over the desk much less adjust drainage contours to prevent runoff into adjacent properties.
It's terrific you're back in the thick of it and with a sense of humor!

Anne said...

I was thinking about going back to school when my son leaves for college (hopefully he will leave). I like the part about the fan too!

Christine said...

my prof husband says non traditional students are always the best.

i just want kiss that cute dog!

Imperatrix said...

yoo hoo! Spouse of peanut butter lover...

check this out:

Anonymous said...

I've bookmarked your blog--I'm a "non-traditional" grad student, employed full-time, wife, mother...and I just hit menopause with a vengence, including just not retaining info at times.
Our cohort is also struggling with the "canned answers" that might have fit 20 year olds but are insulting to the over-40 crowd.
Good times, huh? :-)