Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ahh Spring

It is really easy to imagine that being a student with kids and a family ( and all that, that implies) is more difficult than being a student without all those responsibilities. How many traditional students (that is opposed to non-traditional undergraduate---meaning over 25, with kids etc.) have their studying interrupted by a phone call from their middle-school kid's principle. (then put off all the studying because the situation really is more important than passing stats) If the statistics are to be believed, not many.

That is not to suggest that trad's ( I am saying this instead of kids) don't experience stress; some take on more than they can handle some become dis-illusion with school. Some do have to work full-time to get through school.

Not to belabor the point, this is not about their issues, this is about mine.

My first two terms were difficult but the classes were really interesting and I managed to pull through with good grades (ah the grail). I did this, while still taking care of the family (doing the ever present laundry) (I have help...but she does not do laundry)

Winter and Fall were great...then Spring hit.
Here is is one of the distractions traditional students don't have, which I do.

Spring by its very nature is distracting for everyone, especially single twenty year old students who are away from home. I know that if I had been in school when I was twenty if I were in a classroom, with windows, during the spring I am sure I would not have heard any of what anyone was saying; not excluding the instructor.

In some ways I was better off, at 19, than the average trad, college student. I worked the dinner shift in a hotel restaurant, full-time. My day's were filled, as were my weekends (often in the middle of the week) , with what I wanted to do. I read what I wanted to read, I listened to what I wanted to listen to, without having to explain myself. I could spend the day hiking as long as I returned home in time to get ready for work.
I spent many a Spring day hiking around the foothills and canyons around Salt Lake City before going off to work.

Now - with a family, a house and a darling wife who gardens (and is a farmer at heart) Springs distractions have nothing to do with hiking then spending an evening sitting at an outdoor table at a cafe or sitting on the grass reading a book of Gary Snyder poems.

This Spring, this term, my weekends do not include time for home work, as they did in the cold and dark days of Fall and Winter terms. No, my time goes to lending my DW a hand with projects in the Garden: digging holes, weeding and planting.

Here , with the direction I am headed, the temptation is to scapegoat my wife. No, the responsibility lies with me. My mind and heart are outside with her, the seedlings, weeds and the compost which needs turning. (And there have been some illicit bike rides by the creek)

Fall and Winter leave plenty of room for working out the symbolism of novels, wrestling with math problems and getting down to the fundamentals of what I am being taught.

When I regain focus in the fall, and I am working hard on some stats or a case study, maybe I will do it while eating some pickled beets we preserved from our harvest.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Middle-aged? man

I have been dealing with issues of age. Before I started school I thought of myself as being youngish still, of course most of my peers were around my age or older and with some of my friends I was the youngest. (most of the guys in the East bay dads, when I was there, were a good ten years older then me).

I knew when I started that I was older than most of the students but I did not know what it meant and I still carried with me this idea that 38 is not that old. (ha you say tell that to a 20 year old)

One of my class mates commented to me that she knows me as this married guy with kids but found it interesting to imagine me as a 19 year old. I responded with "19...that was not so long ago....omg that was almost 20 years ago!" So, for all you baby boomers who I criticized for still being in the sixties (Yes, I did that when I was 19) I get it now.

My class mate went on. She imagined me, in a way, as most 20 year old college students are, excited about being on their own, learning new things, exploring careers...she even threw in "sort of a hippy."

For me that all happened in reverse order (or is it inverse) Anyway, when I was nineteen I was scared, and depressed about my future and as they say now days "emo." Now, like my younger peers at school, I am wide eyed and hopeful about what my post University future holds. "I was so much older then, I am younger than that now" (thanks mister Dylan)