Too School for Cool: College Revisited

Well it’s official, kids! I am a student again. I just registered for my fall semester classes. Now all I need to get by is a hot plate, an economy-sized box of Ramen Noodles, a bean bag chair, and a giant bong.

Oh, wait. I’m not 21 years old anymore.

[sigh]

Well, looks like I’ll have to give up the noodles.  (Trying to watch my sodium intake.)

I am about to start a full course load for my associate’s degree. Last time I was in college was um…oh…about 20(cough) years ago. Wish me luck. I’m hoping I don’t end up at the geek table in the cafeteria. Or a jock saunters over, calls me Old Lady and knocks my tray to the floor, leaving me sobbing and covered in oatmeal, raisins and weak Earl Grey tea with a twist of lemon because it really helps settle my stomach and keeps me regular.

So far, I’ve only gone to my new student orientation, but I’ve already noticed how different things are this time around.

For three solid hours, I listened to the dean and an English professor tell us not only how to study, but that we had to study if we wanted to get a good grade. I know! I was as flabbergasted as you. Next they informed us that, yes, we have to show up for our classes. And take notes. Then they showed us how to take notes. Finally, the dean announced (I kid you not) we actually had to buy the books for classApparently, in the past some students thought this was an option.

What? Where? Why? Hey, isn’t it enough I showed up here? What?

It was all I could do to not let out a huge snort of disbelief. Seriously? Have we come to this? Students these days have to be told how to be students? Why can’t they just cut to the chase and hand us our final grades on the first day?

And they say our country is in trouble.

But for once, being an advanced age is on my side. I can already see how my college experience this time around will be very different.

Going to College:

THEN: Statistics class at 8 am? Fffft! Let’s blow it off and get drunk!
NOW: Statistics class at 8 am? Perfect! I’m already up at 5 am so why the hell not?

THEN: Eh, who needs to take notes? I can retain all the professor’s lecture just by using my half-assed listening skills!
NOW: Wait, slow down….I need to copy this word for word or I’ll never get it. What did you say after “Good evening, class, let’s begin”?

THEN: Dude! Let’s get wasted!
NOW: Now children, don’t waste this opportunity. We need to apply ourselves academically or we’ll never land that job in a few years.

Things That Have Changed Since Last Time I Went To College:

  • The chairs seem to be smaller.
    Or my butt’s bigger.
    I think I’ll go with the chairs being smaller.
  • The blackboard up front looks fuzzier.
  • The blackboard has been replaced by some bizarre space-age technocrappola PowerPoint nonsense gobbly-dee-gook.
  • The dean is my age.
  • The professor could be my son.
  • All of my fellow students look so young, they resemble Justin Bieber.
    When he was a baby.
    Inside his mother’s womb.
  • Instead of going to the library and looking up stuff on card catalogs, we are expected to have our own laptops and utilize this new-fangled thing called The In-ter-net.
  • I find all the professor’s lame jokes hilarious and actually laugh out loud at them.
  • I want to study.
  • I will study.
  • I will pay attention during class. Too much attention. I’ll even make eye contact and nod my head to whatever the professor says, like we’re in this together.
  • I will be raising my hand and asking annoying questions all the time.
  • I will answer all the professor’s questions by doing my best Horshack impression.
    (RIP Ron Palillo)

    OOH! OOH!OOOOOHHHH!
  • I will never blow off a single class because I know I’ll be paying for this with interest for the next 10 years.
  • Whenever the professor mentions “the real world” or “real life”, I’ll glance at my fellow 18 year old students and shake my head because they really have no freaking clue, do they? None. But I do.  I know about all about “real life” crap to last a lifetime.
  • I have become that ‘know-it-all old lady’ student I used to roll my eyes at when I was young.
  • Ramen noodles taste like chicken-flavored dishwater when you’re not stoned.

If you went to college, did you study or blow off class? How many pounds of Ramen noodles did you consume? Will you go to my 8 am  Anatomy class tomorrow and record the lecture for me because I have to go to this party tonight, but I swear I’ll do the same for you next week?

*******************************

NOTE TO CONSTANT READER:

Just an FYI, (don’t you hate it when someone starts a sentence with ‘just an FYI’?) in case you’re wondering in the future where I am…I am either in class or studying. Or passed out in a rather large bucket of Ramen noodles. I hope to post on my blog once a week in the meantime. But if the rest of you could just stop blogging until say, December when the semester ends, that’d be great because there is no way in hell I can keep up with all the brilliantly funny and touching posts you people crank out on a daily basis. Thank you.

Catch ya latah, alligatahs.

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169 thoughts on “Too School for Cool: College Revisited

  1. Brilliant!

    Then: Sat in the last row of every lecture I attended, often falling in lust with the backs of girls’ heads.
    Now: Sit in the front row of every lecture.

    A quick tip, if the professor is making references to the real world, he may talking about the MTV show and not adjustable rate mortgages and out-sourced jobs – check with your classmates.

      1. I sat in the front row of every lecture throughout my entire physical therapy program. It felt like the instructors were speaking directly to me, and I never had any hesitation about rasing my hand to ask questions, since I couldn’t see the people behind me rolling their eyes or elbowing each other in disgust at my interupting yet another lecture.

        As an added bonus, instructors never picked on people in the front row for suspicion of not paying attention.

  2. “…I find all the professor’s lame jokes hilarious and actually laugh out loud at them…” As a professor, I award extra points just for that.

    I was an “older” student when I went to nursing school. Older than you.

    Apparently I absorbed information through osmosis as my husband would come home from his evening shift every night and find me asleep in my recliner with a humongous textbook laying on my chest, snoring away.

    I actually do have students who think they won’t have to buy textbooks, take notes, or show up for class. They are want to be spoonfed the information, record my every lecture (get a digital voice recorder – they are tiny and hold hours of blah, blah, blah…)They take pictures of my calculations on the board with their cell phones…they e-mail me at all hours of the day and night – but I warn them not to text me – makes me cranky. They have a Facebook page to which I am invited…and regularly contribute…

    College really has changed alot – and not just because I am on the other side of the desk now…

    1. I was thinking of both you and B-man during this post. I know you guys are the professors making those lame jokes now. I mean, I’m sure they’re NOT lame…I’d laugh at them…I swear!

      I knew you went to nursing school later in life and that is a HUGE motivator for me, Katy. I might be emailing you asking you for nursing advice later on (like you don’t have enough to deal with, right?)

      I remember recording a few classes for one of my friends who wanted to party every night. Sadly, to be perfectly honest, my first two years of college I NEVER drank or smoked or did anything but study. It was when I moved out west to finish college when I got into a bit more trouble.;) Still I studied though.

      1. I used to beg my husband to let me go live on campus – those kids were having sooooo much fun, and I had to go home and cook and clean every night, and help with homework, baths and bedtime stories – THEN, and only then, could I study. Of course, he didn’t think it was a good idea…

  3. On the bright side, hauling college textbooks and a laptop around should build up some muscles and help get rid of the flabby bat wings. Not that I’m saying you have flabby arms. But, you are a mom and they go with the territory. Maybe I should try carrying around heavy college books. My bat wings are massive. Congrats. I’m sure you will do well.

    1. Oh, yah. I most certainly DO have flabby arms/bat wings. I think I’m stuck with them forever at this point. It would take some serious heavy textbooks to tone them up. Thanks for the encouragement, Susan.

  4. How exciting! At least you know you’ll probably get the best grade in the class due to your willingness to buy the book and actually study. And do you realize how much control you’ll have over the grading curve? You have so much power! Surely you can score some fancy pencils or erasers from your fellow students. I mean, if people still use pencils.

  5. Best of luck on the course, you’ll get loads of blogging material from it. And you’ll get a qualification at the end too 🙂

    I never went to university but I take pride in having more knowledge and as much success in life as my friends who did go. And I still used to get as drunk as they did when they were at college.

    The only difference it’s made was that I learnt how to cook and clean up after myself, my college educated friends never did manage that.

    1. I agree with you, Joe, the school of hard-knocks is a necessary (if sometimes brutal) thing. Living on your own, not relying on your parents or teachers to do everything for you, makes you grow up quicker and be more responsible. When I was in college, I had it so easy but I really had no idea at the time!

  6. I met up with some law school girlfriends yesterday, with parts of our discussion so similar to parts of this post, it was actually a little eerie. Sometimes I think I’d like a second chance at law school, now that I know how to be diligent and take things other than Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Scrubs seriously. Then I ask myself, “Why the @#%$ would I want to do another three years of that, just to show I could do it better now?!” Nope! If I go back to school, and I’d like to someday, it’ll be in another field. Something I actually like. 😉

    Good luck in your studies!

      1. Medicine! I was actually planning my coursework when I got pregnant and calculated that delaying had its benefits. I can’t say I won’t have a change of heart between now and “the right-ish time,” but . . . it’s been a few years now, and the pull on my heart only grows stronger. 🙂

        1. Wow! I can see that, Deb! Go with your heart. That’s what I’m doing. I am going into nursing. I’ve finally managed to narrow things down to the medical field (only took my nearly 42 years to figure this out) I’m getting most of the basic courses like anatomy out of the way this year, then nursing school next year if all goes well (I’m in the medical assistant program for the time being)

  7. Wow, you go, girl! You’re inspiring!
    I just finished a grad level course in history, so I can play.
    Then: I assumed I already knew everything the professor was saying.
    Now: I assume that I’m a complete idiot and I soak up every word like gospel.
    Then: I slouched nonchalantly in my chair
    Now: I get up every 15 minutes to unkink my spine.

    Have fun!

    1. Haha! Those chairs are so damn uncomfortable! My back was killing me after a few hours. One of my classes is three hours, meets at night once a week. From 6 to 9 pm. I’m usually in bed asleep by 9 pm.

  8. Impybat

    Good luck with school! I went back to school for a Post-Bacc in Elementary Ed. I’m still slogging through the math MTEL though so I can finally graduate and get my certification.

  9. I fear that if I went back to school now, I’d start off strong only to slip back into my slacker self. My eyes would glaze over, I wouldn’t pay attention, I would be so extremely bored and still need a tutor in math. But you make an excellent point about knowing how long you will be paying for this. Geesh. It will be worth it and you will make an excellent student. Really, if I knew now what I knew then. I still have nightmares that I skipped a class all semester and couldn’t find it to take the final exam. Still after, oh, maybe twenty years. Good luck to you!

    1. My nightmares are always about high school. I’m usually naked, or wearing only underwear, or I have to really go to the bathroom. There’s always a major exam I’m late for, and it is always in math. My worst subject by far.

  10. No no no no no!! You have it all wrong!! I don’t know who that is supposed to be up there in that picture, but it is NOT you, Darla! The Darla I know would have a PLAID shawl to stave off the chill, and would be drinking vats of coffee to stay away during class. I mean, you HAVE been up since 5:00, right? Plus, where is the metamucil and orthopedic shoes? Pfft, damn school kids. You don’t know nothing about how to get through a class! Hell, when I was YOUR age . . .

    Wait, where am I? Who are you and what is this glowing screen in front of me? I think I need a nap!

  11. Congrats for going back to school! =D I am also going back in my Spring Semester after taking some time off… I think the problem is that a lot of kids don’t know what they want to do with their life so they aren’t very motivated to do well in class. I was one of those kids. I mean I did my best to do well, but I was depressed and hated it. This time around, I have direction and I am really excited to study and do well. You are going to rock this thing! Also, it is very sad that students have to be told how to be students. And they still forget what they should be doing….

    1. You are so right, Cassy. I had no clue what I wanted to major in. I was a psych major (I know) but then ended up just getting a BA. I only just recently figured out what to do with my life and it’s already half over!

  12. My husband taught a semester of college recently and lordy cheezuz christmas, have things changed. One young-un complained that she was going to get her grade dropped a letter because she would be missing the first four classes due to soccer games. It was once a week class, 16 total. Another had her parents call the dean to complain about her grades. I think if I had asked my parents to do that, they would still be laughing.

  13. Wow Darla! How cool are you?? Did you buy some back-to-school shoes?
    It is so great that you are back! What degree are you working towards?

    My kids are in college and I have dreamt that we took classes together, but they moaned when I told them about it…I wonder why?

    I can just imagine the blog fodder! I hope you get time to write a post….You could switch to photo essays….photos of the clock in class, of your hot professor, of your dorm room…

    1. Susie, you crack me up.

      How cool am I? Not cool at all.

      Did I buy back to school shoes? Yes. Sneakers with Dr. Scholl’s insert (gotta be comfy)

      What degree? I am enrolled in the associate’s for medical assisting and will transfer to nursing school next year (hopefully!) So my goal is associate’s in nursing.

      I LOVE your idea of a photo essay! I am going to do that. Thanks!

      I saw this commercial yesterday: “Back to school! Get all the cool stuff for your dorm room!” so I turned to Jim and asked, “Honey? would it be okay if I had a dorm room? And bought a lava lamp for it?”

  14. I think even the professors don’t believe half the stuff they’re saying. ‘Real world’ should be the cue to tune yourself off and doze off in a class, coz he/she clearly has nothing more to offer.
    Good luck with your school 🙂

  15. Best of luck to you! I will be starting school come the first of October so, I too, will be short with popping out blog posts. You’re a great (and funny) writer so you’ll be missed!!

  16. Aw. This is a little bittersweet with the Ron Palillo reference. Perfectly referenced, just bittersweet.
    Best of luck, Darla! I cannot wait to hear about your tales as the well-aged student. (smile)
    This post was hilariously brilliant – per usual.

    1. Aw, thanks, Lenore. I had this post written the week before he passed. I had my John Travolta reference all set and was going to call it “Welcome Back, Darla.” but then he died so I decided to add his photo.

      By the way, I am loving your new blog with Kim! 😀

  17. Good luck – I would probably do it a bit differently the second time around too – go to an occasional class, take notes on a laptop!, not eat Kraft macaroni and cheese, not go to the pub every night except Sunday–because back then it was not open on Sunday, do my assignments on time (after all I am a reporter now, so I do keep my deadlines), not have a professor ask me what my name was at the end of the year becasue I could not show up for his class because he was boring

    1. Oh god! Yes, the endless Mac-n-cheese. I was always eating this horrible pizza at the cafeteria. I’d eat Ramen noodles or pizza. That was it. Those were the days of endless carbs and partying…sigh…

  18. Thank you thank you for making me howl this awful Monday!! OMG.

    Umm. Well, in undergrad, I blew off my first semester, but I became a new woman after I arrived one hour late for my Macro Econ Hon exam. I got a B. But it made me wonder: what would happen if I took this shit seriously? I worked really hard after that.

    In law school, because each class was costing me $300 (I calculated it–but did not include interest) I skipped none of them. Nothing like an empty pocket to motivate you to get your ass to class.

    Now, as a newly-clean woman, I have no official comment on the Ramen noodle flavors while stoned. LOL.

    1. I loved this: what would happen if I took this shit seriously? Exactly!

      Nothing like your own money flying out of your wallet to get you motivated to actually study so you don’t have to repeat the class!

      The Ramen noodle/stoned thing is only something I learned vicariously through my friends. 😉

  19. Woo hoo for you! The good thing about going back to school at this age is that you will definitely make the most of it. I went back to school in my late 20’s, once I figured out what I wanted to do with my life, and instead of strugggling to get to class and to get a 2.0, I soared with the eagles, graduating fifth in my class.

    Yes, get a digital voice recorder for sure. Be aware that some can’t be downloaded onto a computer.

    And just think, you’ll be able to use the line, “I’ve got T-shirts older than you,” on your classmates! Good luck and rock on!

    1. Good for you, Sue. Graduating fifth is awesome! I went to U. of Maine two years, then The Evergreen State College out in Washington state for two years. Then my dad died and so I kinda gave up on the last few credits for a few years. Then I FINALLY got my bachelor’s at the age of 25 going to school at night while working. So it was a long haul for me, but I ended up with a good GPA (and now sadly, I realize that no one cares what my GPA was, isn’t that awful??)

  20. Dammit, Darla, why do we have to get older – and then wiser??? It’s just not right. Why couldn’t we have been wiser when we had all our brain cells intact?

    I wish you all the best in your studies, and know that you will be a fantastic student. It’s so great to see “one of ours” (fellow bloggers) do well.

    Have fun and just enjoy the ride. You will be a great inspiration to your kids.

    1. I know. If only we were wiser instead of wise-ass-er when we were young. Such a waste.

      Thanks, MJ for the comments. I told my kids I was starting school the same week they are and my daughter asked me which room would I be in because maybe we could go eat lunch together? So cute!

      1. Hey, I believe it! I took a few years off from school and returned as a 21 year old and would you believe I felt old in community college even then? All these 16 year olds running around and goofing off…. I tell ya.

  21. Good luck, D Pants!! And don’t you worry about us, we’ll be just…f-f-fine.

    Actually, I think you’ll be just fine too if you keep laughing at the professor’s jokes. 😉 In all seriousness, I’m really excited for you! And plan to harrass you on the phone if I can’t do it online.

    Oh and re: your question – I was always middle-aged at heart. I couldn’t STAND the kids who, yes, thought they didn’t need to buy their books or show up for class! And they usually got away with EVERYTHING. I had to get up at 6am and walk uphill both ways to make my 9am classes (or, you know, take the train to NYC an hour each way, so, same diff).

    1. Please, call me on the phone. I won’t be blogging nearly as much as I’d like. We can gossip about all the other bloggers! It’ll be great!
      I also was middle-aged at heart. I studied hard. Went to the library. Never drank or smoked (much). Such a geek!

      1. Hey now, don’t be gossiping about me. I know … I’m an easy target, but please go easy on me – I’ll know and then call you out, or blog about you, or … because my ears will be burning.

  22. I Looooove your picture, Little Red Studying Hood. Good luck in school – I KNOW you’ll do great! as long as you can stay awake in class and hear what the professor is saying and see the board and not correct him or roll your eyes when he says dumb stuff and not tell him to stand up straight and stop mumbling, for goodness sake…

  23. Good Luck! Your class will be very happy to see such a talented writer sitting among them. I am sure, you will get plenty of new ideas in your class room to create posts for your blog. 🙂 Now, who is going to save these kids ( Professors and your classmates) from being the victims of your humor. 🙂

    1. I plan to milk this entire college experience for blog fodder, that’s for sure. That’s the main reason I’m doing this, of course.

      And you say my ‘victims’ of humor? Haha! You kill me, Arindam. Yes, they truly will be victims. The poor things, having to put up with the old lady jokes from me… 😉

    1. Thanks, Elyse! I hope I can get through without my head exploding.
      I dropped out, too. Then came back and finished. Very slowly. I had six credits left and didn’t finish until I was 25. Took a few years off inbetween.

  24. Wow, Darla, I would NEVER have guessed you didn’t have a degree. That’s impressive, my friend.

    When I was in school, I’m afraid I was one of those annoying kids who attended every class, did all of the homework, etc. But then I went on to teach college writing–a profession I went back to a numer of years ago. I’ve only been out of it for 2 years now.

    Good luck, my friend! Can’t wait to hear how it goes!

    1. Thanks, Kathy. I was a good student overall. I never took notes though. I did study for my exams and only blew off a few classes here and there because I preferred sleeping over getting up.

      I do have a bachelor’s degree already. Which is great because lots of my past credits have transferred to this associate’s degree. I need all the help I can get!

  25. My brother was one of those people who thought he’d be cool and not buy textbooks so you now get warnings like that. It turns out that saving $400+ dollars on textbooks is not a good trade when you end up failing 60% of your classes. That’s your first lesson in statistics!

  26. As a retired (prematurely, I might add–well I guess I did add–scratch that, I did add) community college professor, I can tell you some of my best students were “non-traditional” students like you. People coming back to school mature and valuing education are a lot more fun to teach than kids who come right from high school and have no idea why they are there or resent being there.

    Enjoy every moment and demand your money’s worth from every professor!

  27. Oh Darla! I almost spit my beer out at the laptop screen when I saw your picture with the geritol. Like Peg said, have you abandoned your plaid persona?
    I, too, went back to school in my 30s to become a teacher. While you expect the young students to not always have their poop grouped, I was insulted by a few teachers who seemed intimidated by my real-life comments. Based on real life experience. They were rude.
    On the other hand, I also taught a class at community college and the returning adult students were like you will be – they want and need to be there and want to succeed. Some of the younger ones, were totally clueless.
    You will do fabulously. And, as for comparing my first college experience with the 20 years later college experience – well you know what they say about airing your dirty laundry 🙂
    You will rock! And, get some sleep ’cause you’ll need it.

    1. Wait–spit out your BEER? And where’s mine? And where are you drinking this beer? By the ocean? Sitting in an Adirondack chair with Steve King? Why wasn’t I invited? Hmm??

      And thanks, Tar, I’ll take your sleep advice to heart. I got about 4 hours last night. Maybe tonight I can get 5!

  28. When I was in college, I did study. I rarely blew off class (except on my 21st birthday at which time I had declared to all interested parties that I would be hungover and therefore not in attendance). I managed to – are you ready for this? – eat not one single Ramen noodle. But now that I’ve been out of college for 13 years, I am having trouble figuring out exactly how I did it all. And since I have a sister who just graduated, I was regularly told about the new ways of doing things but still couldn’t fathom it. Congrats on being brave enough to go bacdk.

  29. Very impressed that you’re going back to continue your education. You go Darla! I should’ve gone back and picked up a graduate degree after my kids were born, but I didn’t, so I just have my BA, and so I stand behind a cash register…

    I am SHOCKED to hear what kind of crap is being “taught” at the first class. Did they tell you to bring a sharpened pencil? Or perhaps you can all line up and the Proff will sharpen them for you.

    1. I hear you, Rosie. I have a BA as well and tried in vain to get back into my past career as an ed tech earlier this spring, but after sending out dozens of applications, I didn’t have a single job offer. So now it’s time to completely switch up careers.

  30. It wasn’t so much the Ramen noodles as it was the pilfered PB&J sandwiches from the cafeteria because I stood a better chance of not getting food poisoning from those.
    8 am class…no way. I had one 8:30 class in 4 years and if hadn’t been a complete repeat of the math class I took in high school i never would have passed it.
    Better start drinking now to get ready for the keg races….

  31. Leonore, I can’t tell you how many times I yelled out, “Oh my god, she’s TOTALLY RIGHT!” I am not back in school full time, but I started my paralegal certificate in the spring semester with an Intro to Paralegal Studies. On the first day of class, I couldn’t figure out where to sit. I’m still not a front row kind of student, so I sat closer to the back. I realized I needed my glasses to see the board. No problem, I’m used to that. What I was NOT used to was how my eyes no longer readjust to close-up vision very easily, so when the board was clear, my notes would get blurry. I had to put my glasses on and off about 25 times on that first day. Crap. I sat in the second row for the rest of the semester.

    I rolled my eyes at the 18-year-olds. I laughed out loud when one Power Point slide transitioned to the next one to the theme song of “Rockford Files”. I became the student who always started off the discussion when the prof asked the details of whatever case we were reading (after 10 full seconds of silence, I couldn’t take it anymore!). And I was the geek who asked my prof how it was I could get 100 on the midterm if I got 2 questions wrong (it was out of 104. Whaa??)

    You’ll be an awesome student and you’re going to love it! Hey, just think of you much coffee you’ll get to drink to keep up with the studying! 😉

    And yes. College students these days need to be instructed on how to be students. I could write a tome about this issue from the prof side, but I’ll spare you! 🙂 Suffice to say, you are right to be appalled, but unfortunately, it’s all too common these days.

    1. Yeah, I really do have to go back to the eye doctor again. I’m not sure my little pathetic reading glasses are gonna cut it anymore. My vision is going downhill fast, Darla, it’s pretty scary. I plan on sitting in the front row, even though I normally like to sit in the way back for a quick, easy exit.

      And seriously? Rockford Files? I am not ready for this.
      Increasing my coffee intake sounds like something I could wholeheartedly go on board with…especially for those all-nighters studying for final exams.

  32. Good luck Darla! I’m pretty sure you’ll do great based on what you said in this post.

    This first time around I was awful and extremely erratic. I would sometimes work hard and get A’s, but only in subjects I favored and with Professors I liked. Other times I would do nothing at all, hand in papers late, and even failed one class. Somehow I still ended up with a Bachelor’s Degree, but it was a miracle.

    This time around, I’m a very diligent student. My Anatomy Professor scared the crap out of me initially when he said, “Every semester, there are people who fail this class… but every semester there are also people who get A’s.” Given my grades the first time around, I needed to get A’s in every pre-req… Plus, the three young kids at home. So, I took my classes one at a time for a couple of semesters. Then I did two at a time. Last semester, I took 3. This will be my first semester going full-time. I find that I’m old compared to my fellow students, but especially in outlook. I have zero patience for the students who try to bullshit the Professor. I mean, it’s one thing to do badly, but at least have enough perspective to realize the Professor’s world doesn’t revolve around your drinking schedule! And I think Professors are fond of their older students for exactly that reason.

    1. Wow, you are an inspiration! Three young kids at home, too–wow. I took one college course a year ago in Art Appreciation and loved it. I still had my young daughter at home then. This time around, even though I’m a full time student, both my kids will be in school full time (daughter’s starting kindergarten) so that helps a great deal.

      I completely agree about the differences in outlook. At our age, we know that NOTHING revolves around our worlds anymore. After raising kids, working jobs, paying rent/mortgages, we realize the value of studying and taking college seriously.

    1. Nothing mattered to me academically.

      Until I hit college.

      Then I studied like nobody’s business and graduated Phi Beta Kappa & cum laude. I know. I’m a Super Geek. Super Geek. I’m Super Geeky. (Owww! Temptations sing!)

      So if you really want to become boring, but ace all your classes — let me know.

      So, um…what are we majoring in? Seriously? Did you say? Or did I miss that part?

      I might have been drunk.

      On ginger ale.

      Dammit. That excuse is never going to work for me. 😉

      1. That reminds me…when I started college everyone told me to major in business or accounting or maybe go pre-law.
        Instead I decided to major in the lucrative field of English.
        Wait…I have to go roll in some piles of money a la Indecent Proposal. 🙂

  33. You’re ahead of the game because you have a great attitude and, yes, you do know about “real life.” I went to college part-time – for many, many years – to get my bachelor’s degree because I was working and raising a family. Then, after years of working, I got my Master’s degree. I really enjoyed it, far more than high school. Darla, have a blast – and, study, too.

    1. Wow, that is wonderful you were able to get your master’s and stick with it all those years AND raise a family! I hope to get mine after three years. It seems like a long time right now but I gotta start somewhere.

      1. Actually, it took me about 3 years to get my Masters while working full-time as a teacher. It was the Bachelor’s degree that took FOREVER while I was working and raising a family. But it was all worth it.
        Best of luck to you, Darla.

  34. notcurrentlyblogging

    Good luck Darla. I’m happy for you. I took a night class a while back and yes everyone looked liked Justin Bieber, and everyone was weirdly polite to me. That’s how I knew how OLD I appeared to them. They were so polite that I wondered at first if someone had started a rumor that I was terribly ill or possibly dying.

    1. Oh my god! That would be hilarious if it weren’t so so very sad. And true. At my orientation I had the same feeling…kids were opening doors for me, looking at me with pity in their eyes…I guess it’s true–I’m an old lady. Or at least middle aged which is practically close to death to these students.

  35. Toootally psyched for you! Soooo on your way to busting that grade curve and being the hidden envy of all those young whippersnappers! 🙂 I just started back in an online class this summer, and I had a classmate call me “Ma’am”! Yeah, that was a special moment… This semester I’m starting out slow… not up for the full strength load yet! Maybe next Fall… best wishes to you!!!

    1. Gah!…yeah the ‘ma’am’ thing! It’s harsh, isn’t it? Dang whippersnappers! Of course, the first time I had someone call me that was about 10 years ago when a grocery clerk asked me if I needed help carrying my bags out to the car.

      Good for you starting out slow. I took one online class a year ago and really enjoyed it. I had to make sure I still had a few brain cells left before I decided to go into it full time.

  36. John Erickson

    Did I study or did I blow off classes? Um … “C”, as in all of the above? 😉 I mostly behaved myself, except in a couple of REALLY boring economics classes, one of which I tended to spend more time cracking the class up than actually studying. But I still pulled a “B”, which based upon my total lack of effort was pretty respectable.
    But don’t follow my example – be a good, studious student! Just don’t ask me to cover you for ANYTHING prior to 10am. Not unless it’s a topic I already know, ’cause I’ll guarantee “in one ear, out the other”. 😀
    Seriously, good luck, enjoy, and rock those books!

  37. Another thing that’s changed since we were last in college: Before, Kurt Cobain was a paradigm-changing force of rock power. Now, he’s been dead longer than incoming college freshmen have been alive.

    Don’t bogart that Geritol – pass it my way!.

  38. Absolutely hilarious, and oh so true! I work in a university library, so I see this stuff all the time. Students come to use the microfilm machines (ancient technology!) and look up their birthdates for a class project. And, get this, these freshmen are born in like 1994! That’s the year I graduate high school! And every single one of them has a laptop because I guess paper and pencils no longer work. It’s a different world.

    1. Someone else just told me that freshmen were born in 1994 but I refuse to believe it. You can’t really count on math sometimes.

      I graduated high school in 1988. Years before the internet. We used to have to type our reports on PAPER. Using a typewriter. Sometimes the ink ribbon would get jammed. Yes, we barely survived these days before the internet and laptops.

      1. Ha, I had to take one of the last typing classes in high school. I still think I’m a better typist because man you did not want to make a mistake on a typewriter. One time I typed an entire timed writing without my ribbon in. It was just invisible typing. Brilliant!

  39. Loved the post! I’ve taken a few classes at the local community college, 20 (ahem!) ISH years after college. I became a surrogate mom to some of the students. It was kinda cute and kinda weird. I don’t think the professor knew what to do with me- how to relate to me.

    And yes, all the students looked like they were fourteen!!!

    You had a bean bag chair in college? Spoiled rich kid.

    1. Ooh…a surrogate mom? I can see myself doing that. Maybe I can start scolding them all into doing homework and brushing their teeth and cleaning their plates.

      I not only had a bean bag chair…but a lava lamp. That sat on top of a lovely milk carton. I also had a boom box that sat on top of a piece of plywood with two cinder blocks. And my bed? an old futon on the floor. Yep, I had the coolest furniture back then.

  40. Good luck, Darla! I went back to school before Maycee was born, and I loved it as an “older” student. I found myself looking at all the youngins and thinking, “You have no clue how awesome a priveledge it is to attend this place!” But, only time will thell them, too, as it has us. 😉 I also found that being older and wiser (taking that term loosely), I actually had to work at it less because I knew more-such a benefit! And, as for Ramen noodles…I actually JUST started allowing them in my pantry only in the past few months because Maycee had them at her dad’s and like them. I OD’d so hard on Ramen in college and the years following that I couldn’t even stand to think about them in any capacity, NO JOKE! LOL! Enjoy the adventure! What are going to be studying, BTW? XOXO-SWM

    1. Thanks, I sure hope you’re right about being ‘wiser’. I am studying medical assisting with the hopes of getting into nursing school next year. My first class is anatomy and physiology tomorrow (yikes).

  41. You’ll be an amazing student, Darla, and I’m sure your fellow students will learn a lot from you. I wish you the best of everything in your new career, but you’d better keep writing.

  42. John Erickson

    Since my Email isn’t allowing outgoing notes, I have to drop this here. Neil Armstrong has died from complications of heart surgery done earlier this month.
    Godspeed, Neil. The constellations have a new star among them.

  43. I miss you already, DarDar. I mean it. But who I really miss is the DarDar from 20 years ago. She sounds fun.

    Your bullet list was spot-on excellent. Great post. I give it an A.

    P.S. Whaaaaaa? Oh, God! Horshack is dead? Epstein just died and now Horshack? My heart is broken.

    1. I was so much fun 20 years ago, Angie. But it’s never too late to relive my wild-n-crazy days, right? Ah, who am I kidding, I just want to take a nap more than anything most days.

      And I know, the bigger point of my post is how much I loved Welcome Back, Kotter and how I’m getting to the age where all the icons from the past are passing on. Death sucks. “Up your nose with a rubber hose!”

  44. Darla, I’m so proud of you (not that I have any shared DNA or right to be proud), but it takes courage and a strong will to go back to school and I admire that. I really enjoy my adult students. They’re serious, insightful, and outfitted with wisdom. They’re serious about learning because they see it as a bridge to a career and a new life. They’ll tell you they were up all night with a sick kid, rather than some lie i.e. The dog puked on my term paper.”
    While the blogoshpere is a great place, it’s not actually real, so spending time in the real world accomplishing a real goal is a fulfilling an ever-growing part of who you were meant to be. You go girl. Let me know how I can help.

  45. You’re my hero!! Totally loved this post! It so took me back to a time not so long ago.

    I went back to school in my mid-30’s – electrical engineering. The math and physics (and amount of dorks in the student study hall) sucked at first, but after spending many nights sleeping on my electronics and numerical methods text (I swear, those formulas wicked to my brain!!), I was home free. Then my husband knocked me up, unexpectedly. And then again a few months later. That was kind of a deal-breaker.

    Let’s see, hm. Summary of my favorite parts:
    1) an extra locker just for the coffee maker and endless caffeine supplies,
    2) ping-pong table just outside study hall for quick breaks,
    3) the family of rats that lived in the student lounge sofa that I often slept on (yikes!),
    4) text book sharing (that was my idea…I saved me a some students serious $$),

    My absolute favorite, though, was the spit wad that hit the back of my head in calculus class after I asked if the professor could kindly repeat what he just said because I couldn’t hear a thing over the ruckus at the back of the classroom. I stood up, walked back to the punk, and slapped him in the back of the head. ‘Cause I could do that, and because I was old like his mom, I totally got away with it and got applause from the rest of the (cowards) class. He wound up getting kicked out of engineering school due to cheating.

    I’m so going back one day – for a second go. Only next time, I’ll be a grandma-type!! You’ve inspired me. You are gonna rock nursing school. I’ll miss you, but I’m so glad you’re doing it. 🙂

    1. Oh, Shannon> Thank you for sharing your experiences! Electrical engineering?? You are amazing. I bow down to you. I’m not a huge fan of math or science. I’m going into nursing to help people. I suppose I HAVE to know the basics though…sigh…haha!

      your spit wad story was hilarious! Oh, how I would love to slap someone in the head just once. I had a study group last week meet up after lab. It was me and three 18 year old girls. OH my god. Talk about feeling out of place. We were discussing how to write up a report on diabetes and this one girl said, “Oh, let me do it. I like, totally, now how to write and stuff. I just took, like, a class on it in high school last year.” WTH?? I almost died laughing. Well, then, I said to her, “take it away!” Be my guest. Oh, man. I am waaaaay too old for this stuff.

  46. Ah, yes. I can relate. I just got my bachelor’s degree in 2010, and I was 39 years old at the time. I was working full time and going to school full time as well for over two years of my time at school. I finally burned out on that, quit my job and only went to school full time for the last year. Ah, that was sooo nice, to “just” go to school full time. It felt like I was skating because I had sooo much free time!

    I remember getting so pissed when I heard some 18 year old kid whining to her friends about how her dad expected her to get a part time job while she was going to school and she just didn’t have time for that–it would be too hard. Then she went on to analyze every minute of a party she went to the night before with her friend. f she didn’t spend so much time gabbing with friends about completely inconsequential parties and trying to figure out what some friggin’ gesture meant that some dude made, maybe she would have more time. Taking 12 credits was too much for her. Try taking 16 AND working full-time, beeyotch! Sheesh. Seriously. I wanted to strangle her. The sad thing was that this attitude was pretty common.

    1. I can’t believe anyone could go to school and work full time! I know people have to do what they have to do though. Still, I couldn’t do it. I’m considering working part time this year while going to school. But, honestly, school will take up a good 30 hours a week of my time. I bow down to anyone who works, raises a family AND goes to school. They should be given a medal. I can barely handle my kids and school right now. And you’re right, I’ve already encountered a few 18 year olds complaining about school and then they tell me they still live at home with their parents. So I don’t feel so bad for them.

  47. Hilarious!
    I attended college in India and lived with my parents the whole time, so there was no getting stoned or anything, although I snuck a drink every now and then. I blew off a lot of classes. There, if you got good grades in 12th grade, you went to the best schools, which happened to be government subsidized. I believe I paid the Rupee equivalent of $1000 for my four years. So naturally, I had no respect for the classes. I had 8:30 classes for which I left home around 7, but I blew them off and watched morning shows of lots of movies because the tickets were cheap.
    When I read about college in the U.S. on others’ blogs, I feel like I’ve missed out on some good experiences. I know I’m here for grad school, but it’s not the same.
    Nice post. I’m sure you’ll enjoy college and learn a lot because you know exactly how important it is.

  48. Wow, Darla– good luck! I’m sorry I wasn’t even around the interwebs on your first day back; otherwise, I would have totally packed you a healthy, virtual lunch so you didn’t have to stoop to buying something greasy from the university cafeteria.

    I’m also thinking about heading back to school (maybe next year?) I already have a Masters degree collecting dust, but I’m debating going back and getting more “practical” training. The idea of being a ‘mature student’ scares the crap out of me, though– and reading this post didn’t help! 😉 All the same, I hope everything is going well so far this semester. Your less-frequent posts should be easier to catch up to now. 🙂

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