Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Then and Now

When I was in college, I thought that the older women, the "moms" that went back to school after 20 years were laughable. Why bother going back to school when their lives were half over? School was for young people. These women were supposed to be at home helping their kids with their homework, not doing their own. But, secretly, underneath my smirks, I was jealous of them for one thing. They got the better grades. I assumed it was because their lives were so pathetic they had nothing better to do, but I envied them that. Even if I hadn't been so painfully shy back then, I wouldn't have befriended them.

Well, guess what? I turned into that mom going back to school 20 years later.

For years I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I thought I knew what I wanted when I was 19. What a joke. I don't think I would want any of those things now. Including the boyfriend. And then I just sort of fell into every job I've ever had, aside from the ones I thought I wanted to do but soon discovered that I would have to be crazy to continue in that vein. Getting laid off this year provided me with the opportunity to revisit the broke feeling of my college days (daily spaghetti and the occasional Taco Bell). But it also became a wake-up call. Do I really want to go back to the same thing I've been doing? Not really. Do I want to just fall into another job? Nope. So I took some time to think about the things I've enjoyed doing over the last few years. The parts of my jobs that I did really like. And after some soul-searching and months of researching master's programs, I chose and enrolled in a school. Ta-da!!!!

College is an interesting concept now. I'm old. Or at least I feel old when I compare the differences between Then and Now. When I was in college, there was no internet. The one computer class I took taught DOS and we used floppy disks. I know, some of you don't even know what those are. Fuck you for being young. Now all of my classes are online. I don't buy books in a bookstore, Amazon sends them to me. I share classes with people from Alabama, Indiana and India. Only they actually, physically, live there. In college I wrote my papers on a word processor. I took notes on paper. On a desk without a computer. I actually had a callous on my finger from writing so much. I don't think people even get those anymore.

The other big difference? Yeah, it goes back to those better grades. Part of it is that I'm paying for it this time around, but that doesn't really factor into the day-to-day of class. Honestly, I've just gotten really competitive. Including with myself. And I think I'm smarter. I have "life experience" or some shit. So I can't accept less. My first class spoiled me; I aced it. I was lulled into a false sense of geniusness. My second class started easily enough - I got a 99%. Yes! Go me!! And then the second assignment brought an 88%. What? The fuck? That is NOT an A. This can't happen. I am an A student now. I kicked my ass on the next paper and am now checking for my grade roughly every 45 minutes. It has to be an A. Has. to. be.

Here's another little twist on the Now. I do have a kid in school still doing homework. I ride her little tush constantly to get better grades. I have high expectations of her. I push her and don't accept excuses. So now I have to set an example or something stupid like that. Honestly? I think I'm competing with my own kid now. Hey, whatever gets us that elusive 4.0....


Serial Monogamist said...

It's not an exact comparison, but: it is fun to watch b.f. interact with the other grad students. He's only 10 years older than they are, but man. What a difference a decade makes ....

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