I am all but enrolled in classes. I’ve been accepted to the University of Central Florida, and I’m immunized and approved for an orientation session. I’ve even changed my major already! Actually what I did was I declared. I changed from undeclared to creative writing. I might change to sociology though. (Or MAYBE information systems technology or teaching or health information management OR...OR...OR...)
I’ll start out this summer with just one class, I think. I don't want to strain myself. My first class, hopefully, will be a creative writing class, creative writing for English majors - it's a prerequisite for some other classes I want to take. If I can’t get in that one, I’ll take one of these terrific and fascinating sociology classes.
I earned a B.A. in '96, and I’ve gone back to school since then, and I've made false starts. I took some drafting classes around ‘98-'99, some AutoCAD. I never did anything with it. Back in 2002 I was looking into University of Maryland and George Mason - when I lived in metro DC. I even sent in a financial aid form. I never did follow through on that however.
Friday I went to the UCF campus to run an errand, and as I walked around, I felt pretty old. I'm almost twice as old as the incoming freshmen. I felt pangs of absurdity. But. Whatever. Age is just a number. It's how you feel, right? Your spirit. All ages are allowed. You can only feel humiliated if you let yourself feel humiliated, somebody once said. It's not like they all stopped what they were doing to stare and point at me and laugh. Not yet anyway. Any humiliation I would feel would be self generated.
There were other older folks there. A few. I studied them carefully. I don't know if they were faculty or staff or old-ass geezers like me re-entering college or entering for the first time or what. Some of them looked like they were trying to look or act young. Some of these oldsters looked like they were trying to dress or accessorize like the kids there. Or they arrived on scooters or or bicycles or those big-ass skateboards they ride now a days. For a second I thought, wow, now that's pretty pathetic. Man, be yourself. Wear your no-logo clothes, and wear your comfortable, affordable shoes and be old with pride. But I quickly corrected my thinking, I quashed the ridicule working up in my head. These snap judgments occur to you, you don't necessarily summon them, and you gotta ignore them. Who the hell am I to judge? I don't want people looking at me and thinking I'm ridiculous. I don't know, you know? I wanted to walk up to my fellow old dudes and talk to them. Hey, fellow old...dude! How are ya holdin up? How are your bones? Getting enough calcium? What's it like around here? Don't let these youngsters push you around!
I'm hoping I can take most of my classes online. I'll need to go on campus some - to go to the library. I'm not incredibly uncomfortable going to the campus - I don't know. I don't know how I feel about it. When I went to ODU, there seemed to be a lot of people in their thirties, forties, fifties, plus - especially in the evening classes. ODU was a commuter school. People from all over Hampton Roads went to school there - people looking to change careers or improve their skills or whatever. Back then, when I was around twenty, and I was taking classes, and I saw people in their thirties and forties and higher in my classes...I used to follow them to their cars after class and strong-arm rob their asses. Ha ha, nah, actually, the observation of their apparent age went no further than any surface observation like hair color, eye color, height, whatever. It didn't mean anything to me. Universities are supposed to be open places, right? Open to anybody who wants to learn or teach or both.