This past Monday I returned to a university lecture hall as a student for the first time in 14 years. My first week is now under my belt, and I have not run screaming for the hills. In fact, it went quite well, all things considered. I realize it’s still early days yet, but I’m finding it easier to maintain my sense of perspective about school this time around. After all, I’m really choosing to be there, in a way that I wasn’t when I was 18 years old. Then, it was more about what was expected. Now, it’s about what I want to do for myself. That makes a huge difference.
In case you’re curious, here are some of the high points of my first week.
- I’ve really appreciated all of your well wishes.
- It takes less time for me to drive to campus than I expected, and finding parking is easy.
- I can still be insightful in class.
- My history professor is funny, and he played the banjo for us during the first lecture.
- The mostly much younger students are not at all put off by my comparatively advanced age.
- The campus waste stations include recycling and compost bins.
- The teaching assistant in my history tutorial went out of her way to create a safe space for everyone.
- My history textbook is Canadian History for Dummies, and it’s a really good read.
- I enjoyed my first education lecture, which is good because that’s the reason I’m going to school at all.
- I was able to figure out the online course material delivery system without too much effort.
- Most of the other students took notes using a pen and paper, like me.
- So far my workload looks like it will be fairly manageable.
- I am one of the few students who doesn’t appear to be intimidated by the writing, probably because I’ve been churning out hundreds of words a day for years.
The fine print says, “Artist’s conception. Real professor may vary.”
- I have to be in class at 8:30am on Thursdays, which was a bit of a shock after not having to even leave the house before 8:40am for the past five plus years.
- Studying anatomy for my kinesiology class involves a lot of memorization.
- For my lab work in the same kinesiology class, I will be analyzing my body composition, including my body fat. You can guess how much this mom of two in her late 30s is looking forward to that.
- I got lost twice this week.
- Reading for school means less reading for pleasure.
- There is a fair bit of schedule juggling when combining the variable schedule of school with the decidedly not variable schedule of parenting.
- Homework is still not what anyone would call inspiring.
- The Simon Fraser University campus is as cold and rainy in winter as ever, and I don’t have a hood or an appropriate umbrella. Luckily this is fixable.
An upside to being lost was happening upon a pretty courtyard.
Fortunately, so far the high points outweigh the low points, and many of the low points are either temporary or fixable. For instance, I doubt I will get lost every week. All in all, I’m off to a pretty good start. I’m still taking things one step at a time, but I’m feeling more optimistic than I was last week at this time. I’ll take it.