By Patty Juliuson
In every class, be it high school or university, there seems to be “that student.” You know the one. Everyone else is heaving heavy sighs and rolling their eyes at having to take the class, and “that student” is perched on the edge of her seat, notebook open, # 2 pencil at the ready, and enthusiastic, bordering on geeky.
True confession: I am that student. I LOVE UNIVERSITY. There, I said it. I am so glad to be a student at SNU, and I can not help but be excited at the beginning of a new semester. So many opportunities! More friends, different profs, and fresh information. Who knows where the path may lead?
New students, take heart: I entered SNU in 2010 as a 51-year-old freshman. I may be a little older than the average bear, but I still have a lot in common with you! I confess that during my first week I got stressed out and cried. I was totally overwhelmed. However, I managed to settle in and learned to make the most of new (translate: disorienting) experiences while adjusting to academic life. My professors were very helpful and encouraging, and I met a few friends along the way who helped ease the anxiety that comes with the unknown.
There have been classes that I really did not want to take as well as those that were so difficult I thought my brain would bleed, but I tried to treat each one as an opportunity. I challenged myself to learn things I was told I was no good at (math and science), and I managed to get through TWO semesters of Spanish without driving my professor insane (I think). ¡Hola amigos y amigas!
No matter how stressful the class load, I have always retained a sense of wonder that I AM IN COLLEGE. Woot! Proverbs 13:12 (KJV) says “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick; but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” Well, this girl’s desire has come, and I am making the most of it. It took so long and required great sacrifice from a lot of people for me to get here; I don’t want to just get by. I want to do my best, take chances, succeed, fail, learn, experience, and have a great time doing it. What a wonderful phase in my life, and what a great place to be having all this fun.
If I am in one of your classes, keep in mind that I am a student just like you; I just have higher mileage. I bring a seasoned perspective to discussions and can offer encouragement and support when things get tough. I am passionate about education, optimistic for myself and you, and have enough experience to know that these are days to be spent and savored.
No big promises, but I’ll try to keep my geeky enthusiasm under control. See you in class.
“Geek alert” is the first article in Patty Juliuson’s column, “As I See It.”
Good for you. Wish you well.
Your perspective is appreciated by many of us who entered college as traditional undergraduates with an advantage over our traditional-aged classmates of one or more decades of experiential knowledge. For our younger classmates who are willing to form friendships, you may discover more similarities than you will dissimilarities. Some of my closest and dearest friends, who remain to this day, are former classmates who were half my age.