Sep 15, 2014

Going Back to School... as an Adult

Going Back to School... as an Adult.

I'm taking a Programming class.

It was supposed to be an online course, which would be the most efficient way to get supplementary training for some of the IT stuff they're teaching me at work.  If you read my somewhat rant-y post about businesses not giving a crap about their customers, then you know it wasn't going well.

Well, I've resolved it, mostly, by transferring into the Wednesday night class.  Same professor - but being in person cuts down on all the communication issues.  She's a super nice lady, so I don't want to say any more negative things, but I'll be honest - she probably shouldn't be in charge of the online class.  Knowing programming doesn't automatically mean you know how to set things up for online students, or how to use the web portal, and the school should probably ensure that their teachers are qualified before sending them off to do online education.  /negativity

Anyway, back to night class.  I figured it wouldn't be so bad returning to my old haunts.  I'd be almost 10 years older than the youngest, fresh-out-of-high school students, but there should be some older students too.

Then I walked into the class.  Only 5 or 6 students were already there (college students don't go to class on time!  Silly me), and they looked YOUNG.  Particularly the fellow I ended up sitting behind.  It was a bit of shock when I saw his face.  "Is THAT what college students look like now?  How old have I gotten?!"

The age gap widened further when one of the giggling young men in the back corner called out the instructor's name, "Uh, Ms. Jones?  I have a question."

"Ms."???  I had automatically called her by her first name in our emails.  Whoops.  No disrespect intended!  But after getting used to a business environment, and finally feeling like an adult, it doesn't even occur to me to call someone Mr. or Mrs. Whatever.

But I can vaguely remember getting out of high school and being so accustomed to the Mr./Mrs. mentality that even when the college professors instructed us to use their first names, I would forget and use the more formal last name.  It was a weird age, wanting to be taken seriously, but not feeling like a "grown up."  I digress.

As I was attempting to come to grips with my unexpected ancient-ness, other students began filing in.  Other adults.  I heaved an inward sigh of relief.

At some point, "Ms. Jones" explained that she had given us an extra 30 minutes at the beginning for questions, so not everyone would come in right at 5:30.  Ah, so the first students there would be the full time students - the kids.  The adults were probably all too glad to get an extra 30 minutes in between their full-time jobs and night class.

We went around the room and did introductions, which at first felt unnecessary, but by the end I was glad, as it had given the newly transferred students, like myself, an excuse to make eye contact with everyone and learn a few names.  We had to introduce ourselves, explain why we were taking the class, and say what our major was.

When we got to the youth in front of me, he explained that he didn't have a major, as he was still in high school and he was taking this class as an enhancement to his high school curriculum.  Aha!  Mystery solved.

After that revelation, it was pretty easy to settle in and forget all about feeling out of place.  After all, if a high-schooler can fit in, so can I.

P.S. I have an interview on The Trish List today!  I got to make up my own questions - go marvel at my creativity

Have you taken on-campus classes as an adult?  Did you find it harder to be respectful of the teachers?

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  1. it must be weird to go back- just because I would freak out that they would "notice" my age difference! but sounds like you're making the most of it!

  2. I don't know that I would like to go back to school with kids, I'm not so big on kids unless they belong to me and I can boss them around. :)

    I am auditing an online class with UC Berkeley so maybe that counts?

  3. I don't even think I could go back to school at this point. I would feel a little awkward like you described, and questioning the ago of the "kids" in the class, making me feel super old. Annnnd I am pretty sure my attention span for a class is zero. I am not sure what happened to me as I got older, but the attention is just not there anymore. yawn. Haha!

  4. Hahaha...I went through the same thing when I went back for my Masters...7 years after I graduated with my Bachelors. Being a non-traditional student the 2nd time around gave me a whole new perspective of college.


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