I think I’m an ‘old person’ in my class this semester

backtoschoollogoI walked into the room and took a seat near the front, because I was always a front-sitter and, apparently, I still am.

“Why do I have a computer for creative writing?” I thought, eyeballing the monitor in front of me.

The last time I took creative writing, more than a decade ago, the desks were pushed to form a large table in the center of the room, and everyone sat around it. The better to workshop with, my dear.

“Do you know how to raise this up?” the girl next to me asked, fiddling with a plastic piece on the table.

Did she want to raise the desk? The monitor? The keyboard?

“Um,” I said.

I am what you would call, I suppose, a non-traditional student. I’m 32. I’m married. I haven’t sat in a class since 2005, when computer labs were rare and the “old person” in the class did not stare back at me from a mirror.

“Is the syllabus online?” the girl next to me asked.

“Um,” I said.

Ivy Tech Northeast’s student body is an average of 27 years old, so I suppose it is traditional for me to be non-traditional, at least here. That somehow doesn’t make it any less … strange? No, that’s not the right word. Different? Unusual? New?

Yes, that’s it. Despite the fact that I’ve done this before, this feels new. Which means I’m excited–I’ve been looking forward to this class for months–but I’m hesitant: I am in this class because I love to write, but most of my classmates, I suspect, are still figuring out if they like to write. And I want to let them answer, and I want to see them succeed. But I’ve never been one to sit on my hands when a teacher asks a question, and, apparently, I’m still not. This week, I was excited to volunteer to read Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” aloud to the class. Familiar with it? A good chunk of the words are totally made up, which made reading it aloud a challenge, but a fun one.

Throughout my 16-week class, I’ll occasionally share updates with you about what it’s like to be “back to school.”

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts: Are you a non-traditional student, too? What was your first day like? Are you a 19-year-old who noticed that some of the folks in your class are your parents’ age? What was that like?


2 thoughts on “I think I’m an ‘old person’ in my class this semester

  1. I really love it, I’m 51 years old and know just what you are feeling. I just know that your are never too old to go back to school. Keep up the great job and remember all in this together.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, Tony. It’s turning out to be so much fun, and I’m so glad you’re having a good experience, too! Enjoy the semester.

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