Friday, January 25, 2008

Ask the Coed

What is it like to go back to college at age 34?

In a word, intimidating. It's been a long time since I've had basic classes - like Algebra! - so I'm always afraid I'll look stupid because I won't know something elementary, such as the First Chief Justice of United States Supreme Court.

Maybe that particular example would not be something recalled by the typical person, including myself, and I realize it has nothing to do with Algebra. Tell that to my self-conscious imagination, who thought it might be on the long list of required knowledge one must have at the ready in order to enter the classroom on the first day of class, like a secret password to a backroom, illegal poker game. A list, by the way, which looks suspiciously similar to another list titled "Stuff I Used to Know But Have Forgotten in the Intervening Four Hundred Years Since I Was in High School and Had Time to Study That Kind of Thing".

P.S. John Jay was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. I had to look it up, just in case.

What classes are you taking?

Class, actually, because it's just the one Intermediate Algebra class.

How is that going?

Very well, so far. I mean, I had to do a LOT of review of basic algebra skills the first weekend of classes, but once I did, it all (mostly) came back to me. Do you remember FOIL? Because I had to review FOIL. And exponents. And how to deal with parentheses and negative numbers with exponents and parentheses. It's just not information I retained. Thank goodness for the internet, specifically, the existence of which meant I did not have to buy an Elementary Algebra textbook at $77 million dollars from the college bookstore.

What do you like about being in college again?

I like the feeling of being extremely focused. I have lived a little, and now I know what I want to do. It means that every class is relevant to my goal and so I don't take them for granted. I do all of my homework and have it done early, unlike the last time around. Also, I like the feeling that I am not wasting time anymore.

What is your goal?

I want to complete my Bachelor's Degree in the Classics, and then a Master's in the same. Ultimately, I'd like to complete a Ph.D. in the Classics and teach college. Unfortunately, I can't take Classics courses in Central Oregon. In the interest of time I will complete a Bachelor's with a minor in History and also possibly Literature. I can get a Master's of Arts here and then teach high school. When we live somewhere that does offer the Classics as B.A., M.A. and Ph.D., I will happily pursue this ultimate goal.

I guess I am one of those people who like school, which makes sense that I want to teach. What a weirdo.

Thank you for your time. It has been most enlightening. Also, did you know you bear a striking resemblance to Drew Barrymore?

You're welcome. And thank you. I think that likeness is especially apparent if one were to stand 20 yards away, close one eye, and hop up and down....but I appreciate the compliment.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must open the latest wine club offering and do my homework.

I just thought of another benefit to being a 34-year old college student, and that would be the ability to buy one's own booze. That's not to say that alcohol isn't plentiful and easy to come by at college when you are underage, rather, the benefit comes in because it completely removes the fear of there being rufies in your glass.


Loralee Choate said...

I have all the respect for you in the WORLD.

Amber said...


I am the lucky winner who gets to interview you! Let me cruise around your blog to drum up some questions and please drop me a note at It will be loads easier to do it via email.


Amber said...

OK, my questions. Just email me back the answers!

How old are your children and how long have you been married?

How long have you lived in Oregon and what do you love/hate about it?

What is your paid writing gig all about?

How is it being back in school?

What are you studying? And what's up with the lack in math credit? (My hubby almost didn't graduate because of it. He ended up having them waive the requirement. I think he flashed his man boobs..)

What is the toughest thing about going back to school?

Why did you start a blog and where did you get the name "Occidental Tourist"?

What is the ULR for your favorite all-time post?


Lady M said...

Good for you - it's great to see your motivation.