We all have regrets in life. Things that we wish we had done differently, things we hadn’t done, or things we o
ught to have done. I am no different, and man enough to admit it. One of those things, as embarrassing as it is to admit, is earning a college degree. Granted, I have done okay without one, and my experiences make me the man I am; but I can reflect back on my life and see opportunities missed because I did not have that piece of sheepskin. Now, in my late forties, and going through that mid-age crisis, that men are known for, I have decided it is time to fix that regret.
I’m not totally starting from scratch, I have some college credits from High School and a few classes from my early 30s. Still, I need to complete my core classes, and the local community college is the most economical. During my hours of sitting, waiting for this advisor or that registrar I have come to a few conclusions.
1) Adults returning to school have a completely different mindset than recent high school graduates. I suspect that most of these ‘kids’ are going to classes just to get through them. The necessary evil required to graduate college, and to keep their parents off their backs. I, on the other hand, have a true desire to understand what will be taught. It won’t be merely a matter of memorizing formulas and regurgitating definitions to pass tests. I have a lifetime worth of experience, where I have seen these principles used and have always wanted to understand the ‘why’ behind them. Now I have a chance to explore them, which I am sure will piss-off my peer students.
2) These kids have no freaking clue. I don’t know if I’m more annoyed with the youth or their parents. For example, while sitting in the waiting area, a mother and son approach. The son is fresh out of high school and mom is an obvious dominating figure. “Sit there,” mom says pointing to a bench. “Okay,” mumbles the son. No sooner is his butt planted, when a gaming device appears in his hand; no interest whatsoever in the world around him. A few minutes later mom returns, with more papers in her hand. “Come on,” she demands. “Okay,” the boy mumbles and follows mom — nose still buried in the gaming device. So where is the fault here? The mom for not trying to teach her son what is going on, or the son for not having the slightest interest. These kids are our FUTURE. It really worries me.
3) Education is unnecessarily expensive and difficult. It’s no wonder that the USA lags behind the world in education. Just getting registered to attend a community college requires one to jump through a maze of hoops. Perhaps that was why gaming-kid had mommy drag him around. Then once registered, it is time for books. Oh My God! Why are text books so freaking expensive? I’m a writer, I understand that authors need to be paid for their time and research, but holy cow. I have purchased programming books three times the size and only spent a fraction of what text books cost. And it isn’t like these books are going to be constantly used over the years. No, they will be used for one semester (maybe two) and then be ditched.
4) Regardless, this will be an interesting experience. Being middle aged and returning to school is a fairly unique opportunity. I’ll be able to observe how seriously (or lack thereof) our youth take their education.
Interested to see how it goes for an older guy in college? So am I. I think I found a topic for some future blogs. Stay tuned for more…