Not even close to cool enough for school…

27 Jan

Classes have finally started back up again.  This is the second semester I’ve been back in college since my deployment-induced hiatus.  I aced my class last semester and have upped my course load from three credit hours last semester to seven credit hours this semester.  It seems that starting small was the way to go, as I might have lost my mind had I started off with more than one class after not having been in a classroom in three years. It takes getting used to, this whole being a college student again thing.

Going back to college has brought out some bits of myself I didn’t expect to see.  It’s weird, being 25 and going to a 100-level Anthropology class and realizing most of the students in there were in high school just last year and aren’t anywhere near old enough to drink. And then here I am, a grown up, or at least a grown up compared to them.  I’ve got a house and a husband and a dog and a job. They’ve got….a dorm room? A meal plan?

The girl sitting next to me in my Monday night class kept yawning and saying she was so tired. She mumbled about never having had a night class before and how she’s usually home on the couch by 7 PM. She told me she’d had a long day of classes. I smiled politely because that’s just what you do in situations like that, but I really, really wanted to tell her that I’d been up since 6 AM. That I’d spent the whole day at work, had rushed home, changed my clothes, and come to class. But I didn’t. Because I didn’t want to sound like an old lady.

I had to get a backpack for this semester.  I didn’t need one last semester because I only had one class and one (kind of small) book so I just threw everything in my purse and went.  But this semester, with the heavier course load and more (stupidly expensive) books, I realized I was going to need a backpack.

Who knew purchasing a backpack would freak me out as much as it did?  I got all worked up about finding a backpack that didn’t immediately label me as OLD or an IMPOSTER. It should have been a simple decision, really, but I have such anxiety about fitting in for some reason.  It’s ridiculous because this isn’t me.  I don’t give a flying rat’s ass what people think. Sure, in high school I was all sorts of uncomfortable and insecure, but my twenties have given way to a more comfortable-in-my-own-skin me (usually).  I’ve become very get the hell out of my way if you don’t like me these days.

As I was paying for parking at the university parking garage, the attendant asked if I was staff.  I bit my lip, shook my head and said no, I’m a student

And then I died a little inside.

In order to make myself feel better about the whole thing, and to convince myself I don’t really care what the big little college students think, I decided that my anxiety stems not from my desire to fit in, but from my desire to be a secret spy. I’m not stressed because they’re all going to laugh at me and call me an old lady (which yes, I know I’m not, but compared to them I’m a FOSSIL), I’m stressed because how can I become America’s greatest super spy if I can’t even go undercover at college? 

And then, I realized my ridiculousness knows no end and that I might be even more crazy than originally suspected.

But at least I’ve got a cool backpack.


5 Responses to “Not even close to cool enough for school…”

  1. Andrew January 27, 2010 at 6:08 PM #

    You should have gone with the Hannah Montana backpack! That is what all the cool kids in my class are sportin’. (Do kids still say sportin’?)

  2. san January 27, 2010 at 11:17 PM #

    I think you “blend” in more than you think you do. You’re doing just fine!

    The encounter with the parking garage attendant is funny though.
    I’ve been working at my current job for 2,5 years (and 1,5 years as an intern before that) and I am CONSTANTLY asked by visitors or new people if I am a student. I take it as a compliment 😉

  3. CuppyCakes January 28, 2010 at 3:44 AM #

    I pretty much hate backpacks since that time someone told me they were good to travel with, and then I had an ‘incident’ on the London Underground that I blame entirely on my stupid backpack.
    I’m never travelling with one again.

  4. emiliemarie January 29, 2010 at 11:20 PM #

    Ugh, aren’t textbooks ridiculous? I sold back two years worth (and $2000.00 worth!) of books when I graduated and got a whopping $200. 00 back.

    College students annoyed me even when I was one! I worked full time through my four years, so I had little patience for those that complained about not being able to watch Friends re-runs every afternoon or not being able to go out for Thirsty Thursday because of a night class. The vast majority of our youth need to grow the eff up, if you ask me.

  5. H to the Izzo January 31, 2010 at 9:44 PM #

    People think I’m a student all the time and I HATE it. So don’t worry about people thinking you are staff or old, that just means that you have an air of experience and wisdom about you, and that’s a GOOD thing

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