Is College Wasted On The Young?

Maybe we should go to college at an older age.

While most moms were shopping in the stores for back to school supplies in August for their children, I was doing the same thing, only for me. 

That’s right, I was buying paper, pencils, notebooks, pens... All the "fun stuff" one needs to go to school. Only I had to buy books as well – “Ouch,” said my wallet, as I would take out my bank card from its leather clutches!  My decision to return to school was for many reasons, some more personal than others, but overall it was my decision. 

Only my household and a select few knew of my plans to go back to school.  Why you might ask? Well, I felt a little embarrassed.  I mean, I just turned 40 and now I’m getting schoolbooks.  But really, is there an age limit? 

Apparently not at CCRI. There is one gentleman who is 87 years young!  He has been there for 22 years! Twenty-two years... Saying it is scary, and I know I will be out a heck of a lot sooner! 

But seriously, I made my husband swear an oath of silence.  I just don’t want people to ask me questions about it. 

After I graduated high school, I applied to several colleges, and was accepted by two. One was far away and one was way too expensive for me.  I decided to "take a year off" and earn some money for college, but as those plans we make in life so commonly do, my plans changed.

This past month has brought so many things!  I am taking several Literature and English classes, and I am loving them!  I have been exposed to so much, that I often wonder why I haven’t read every book in the library. 

I have a lot of reading in these classes, but that’s what I’m there for... to learn. I had done a small paper in my pre-16th Century literature class, and was dancing on the inside when I was handed the graded paper back from the professor with a giant capital "A" on it with a notation of "Excellent" on it!  

Me, I got an A, I wanted to call my high school English teacher, Mr. Costello, and tell him first. I didn't, but I wanted to show him he was right!  I could get the grades if I tried!

But I saw a lot of upset faces in my class, many with a letter on it they did not wish to share.  I asked them, "Was there a problem understanding the reading?" 

One girl said, "Nah, I just don’t have time to read, I work part time you know." 

Another boy said, "Who has time to read this old stuff? It’s stupid and doesn't matter." 

Wow, I thought, if you’re here, why not do the work?

That seems to be the theme in a few of my classes.  One girl in another class told me she only was in the class because it’s a requirement, and not because she wanted to be there. 

I agree to some degree – not every class is going to get me at the seat of my chair sounding like Arnold Horshack, begging the professor to call on me because I love the subject so much and I know the answer. 

But this is a choice you make.  You choose to join a class, you choose to attend college, you choose to not do the work.  Find the time people!  It’s your future! Stop with the excuses!

I guess what I’m saying is – I didn’t have to go back, but I wanted to, and thus I want to do well.  I want my writing professor to be bored because I did such a great job, I want my photography professor to want to learn more about something I shot, I want my literature professor to agree with me when I make a comparison of Sappho of Lesbos to Taylor Swift... Okay, so that last one is not for everyone.  I want to do well for me, and I won’t accept any excuses from me for not doing well.

I'm lucky to have this opportunity to return, and I will not waste it. Even if that means leaving the house at 7:30 a.m., heading to school at two campuses with only a long enough break to drive from one to the other, and not returning home until 9:45 p.m.  I will not waste one second of this second chance.

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Kayleigh Simmons October 18, 2012 at 02:07 PM
The 87-year-old gentleman has been there for 22 years because he wants to be; he already holds advanced degrees and is there for continuing education and personal interest.


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