500 Words At A Time: What College Was Not

Closing in on 100 500 Word posts and I think I have covered a lot about my college experience or re-college experience. College has been a lot of things to me and college has not been a lot of things to me…

Perhaps I should alter this from what college was not to what college is not…at least for a non-traditional student or as I like to say, adult with kids…

College has not been one party after another

Maybe if I was younger college would have been filled with more parties, especially here where there is little to occupy the time of the young, but I came here with some years on me and a family. Despite what the movies show, parties do not happen non-stop there are way to many pressures keeping that from happening. For people similar to Barb and I, who are you going to party with?

There is a lot of agism on a college campus. At a certain age, the students, faculty, and staff initially assume that you are a professor, employee of the school, or a parent looking for a kid. There are many times when I have used that assumption to my advantage (discount off because I am a professor and forgot my ID, thank you) or to get people to leave me alone or to get into places I would not normally get into (one of my dislikes for pinwheel sandwiches). On the other hand, most students do not want to do anything with an “old person” outside of class and are at times very insistent that they do not need you in class.

Then there is the parent factor. I wrote about this a few times before now. The gist is that some students will treat you like a surrogate parent, in that they come to you for advice, money, and dinner only when it is convenient for them…you know you did this to your parent. However, many of the do not want to hear the advice they came for, are unable or unwilling to say something as simple as “thank you for dinner” and I found myself spending time teaching them life skills that they probably should have learned from someone before me.

College has not been the time of my life

I have plenty of life ahead of me. I have many times in my life that have been much better than the last five years, thus I am confident in saying that college has not been the time of my life. This is not the apex of who I am or will be. Unlike popular media representations, years from now I will not be sitting around moaning about how good it was in college. Perhaps this is a me thing, but if school of any kind was the best time of your life you have not been living life to the fullest post school. Get out and live.

College has not been a free ride in money or time

Among some friends and family members not to mention people who are watching from a distance there has been this impression that going back to college is a free-ride. I or you, the college student, is doing nothing more than attending classes, which leaves you plenty of free time to do whatever. Let me put that notion to rest right now, even now in my last semester with a schedule set up by me for me, I have less time to do “whatever” than at any other moment in the last five years.

Time is a commodity that most college students do not have in spades, at least college students who are similar to me with a family. What did I do when I wasn’t in class? Homework, a time suck. Taking care of the family, my true job and as any parent will attest to time consuming. If I didn’t have time, surely I had money after all going to college is all about free money?

Fuck and no. In a few months I owe someone a lot of money. The money we had went to living and I am not ashamed to say we needed help from time to time and thank you to those who did help. College is expensive, unnecessarily so in several places-books to name one. Life outside of college is also expensive. The money we had went to living. The money we will be earning in a few months will also go to living…well shit.


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