Back to School…

Posted on August 22, 2008. Filed under: Everyday Me | Tags: , , , , , |

So, it’s august and what is everyone getting ready to do – head back to school. Well guess what?! I’m ready!! Boy, in January I could not wait to graduate, but now in August of that very same year I’m ready to pack up my belongings and head back to a cramped dorm room, heck I’d even be willing to live with the smelly kid just to get to go back.

I never thought I would be the one to say it but, really school was awesome. And not in the stay in school kind of way, more in the sense of how great students really have it. Yes college students are poor, and they live cheap, but they have fun with very minor responsibilities and a lot of freedom. What a life! All of this back to school business really makes me crave for a new textbook, some pencils (mechanical of course!) and maybe even a lunch box. I don’t think I would fit in as well though,  but it would be amazing just to get one extra year, or five of that lifestyle.  This led me to consider what I would do differently if I could go back and have one more go ’round in college:

One of the things I wouldn’t change was the carefree way that friends are made, and kept. Friendships in college are very easy-going and carefree which is great! Going to a large state school it would seem like maintaining relationships around a campus so large would be a challenge but they really weren’t. It was great walking down the block smiling and waving to kids from the freshman dorm you lived in, or the office you worked in. As a ‘real adult’ I have found that I still try to make this types of friendships with my fellow commuters and passersby but its not the same, older adults don’t have the same expectations from friendships. I guess to most, a friendship needs to be more nurtured, but I think having a friendship that lives through a morning smile on a bus or train, and a wave at the lunch hour in a deli are really great to have. They are people that don’t require much of you and your time but make your day that much brighter because they are there, everyday.

I would definitely want to take more courses. As the smarty-pants that I was I finished my undergrad collegiate career by only having to take 2 courses, now I wish I had filled up on the fun stuff that last semester. I would have loved to take that floral arrangement course I always looked at, and a few more French courses as tedious as they were, just because I had the time and the ability to learn. And as far as the courses that I ‘occasionally’ skipped, yes I would still skip them even if it meant a slight improvement in my grade!

I would try to make more opportunities for myself – make a few more network/business connections, take on a few more extra-credit assignments for the experience and befriend more of the professors just to gain additional insight. I would have loved to pick up additional internships to put years under my belt but I think more rewarding would have been time spent doing research with a professor on a separate research project. That would truly show me what it is like for the real world graduate researcher, and open my eyes to a world that is pretty tucked away.  As for making friends with the teachers, why not? There was nothing to loose but it seemed to hard tight-roping the line between looking like a kiss-up and someone who was genuinely interested. In the end, I think I made connections with the professors who meant the most to me and the others weren’t really worth as much of my time.

I think the best part of being in college overall was not he learning itself but the experiences the learning created. We all experienced late-night cramming and writing sessions that lasted for hours on end just to make it in under the deadline. Most of us also experienced classmates who put little to no effort into the coursework and breezed through with As because they were too intelligent to be at a public university and made the rest of us look bad. The classmates we learned from were the stressed out ones that never did their work, had excuses and people to blame all of their mistakes on and had to spend the weeks before and after finals chewing down their finger nails hoping that their professors would pass them based on how nice they were or more importantly ‘how hard they worked’. Watching those students helped shape those who cared about their grades into more well-rounded students with nice fingernails.

The older students were the ones who really intrigued me though. I had a few classmates who had children my age, or even older yet they never missed a class or deadline. It was marvelous to see an older generation wanting to better their education and work hard for a dream that would most likely not merit the same rewards monetarily as it did for typical college students. There were adults who knew the doors an education could open, and even though many of those doors were long shut, they knew that having this education gave them a power, and it liberated them into a new class of people that were able to conquer the world with knowledge. I learned a lot about life from the older students, and I wish them nothing short of the best, they have inspired me in ways that most of my peers never could.

If I were to pack up and move back tomorrow, back to my dorm with my safe and tasty dining hall food, the safety of friends, and meaningless responsibilities – I would very nostalgic and still thinking that the grass greener was on the other side. At that point, my biggest bill was the one I created buying clothes and textbooks, which still seem like better purchases than rent and electric. Grocery bills were nothing more than chips/dip and whatever beer was on sale, and of course BLUE for my darling cupcake! Looking back on college its hard to imagine not packing up, I may just get through this school year without school, but I promise I will have to cry at least once before Halloween with the sadness of knowing that I am TOO OLD for college; this is a very sad realization to come across.
 
Now that I’ve gone back and relived a few of my many memories from College I hope that I can make at least half of those happy memories from this point out, and I think I can do that, I think we can all look back on the past with a smile and be reassured that the future will be just as happy and bright.
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