Whip out the Trapper Keepers and the Dukes of Hazard lunchboxes, it’s back to school time! At least it is for 30-something graduate students who have no business setting foot back into a college classroom. Yet even as I type that I know its ridiculous to think that just because I’m not the “traditional” student that I should feel like I have no place back in college.
It’s just that walking through campus after meeting with my advisor last week, I felt so old. Ancient. Passe. Washed up. A fish out of water. A phony even. Like I was just pretending to be a college student. I swear there was a flashing neon sign above my head with arrows pointing down at me that said “THIS WOMAN DOES NOT BELONG HERE. SHE’S A MOM. SHE HAS WRINKLES, GRAY HAIR AND A MORTGAGE PAYMENT. SHE REMEMBERS WHEN MC HAMMER WAS COOL AND WHEN SOME GUY NAMED REAGAN WAS PRESIDENT.” I promise the sign over my head (or at least the one IN my head) said all of that. At the very least I felt like I was wearing a scarlet letter, but instead of Hester Prynne’s “A”, mine was an “O” for “Old”.
What am I doing? Who do I think I am?
I only have one grad class under my ever expanding belt. I took a leave of absence last semester to, ahem, have a baby, and for some reason I’ve decided to go back. I’m not exactly sure why I’ve come to this decision. It’s not like the job market is clamoring for people with graduate English degrees, no offense.
So what the heck am I doing?
The noble answer to this question is to say its because I value continuing education, expanding my proverbial horizons and that I have an undying passion for literature and the English language.
But I suspect the more accurate answer is that MAYBE I’M JUST BORED. AS WELL AS A GLUTTON FOR PUNISHMENT.
I remember last semester (and it is well documented on this blog) all the angst that Literary Criticism class gave me. So what is my deal? I confuse myself so I can only imagine what I do to other people. It’s not like I have a plan here. And let’s be honest, if my employer didn’t have a tuition benefit program I wouldn’t be in grad school in the first place.
But then again, is there anything wrong with being bored and trying out things you otherwise wouldn’t? Is there some law that says a 30-something mother can’t take a Composition Theory class? Of course there isn’t. And so, I will put on my “confident face” and don my oh-so-hip Eddie Bauer backpack and race off to the humanities building after work one night a week from January until May. I’ll mingle with early-20-somethings and verbose English professors wearing corduroy jackets with elbow patches.
And I’ll fit in just fine. On the outside anyway.