it's weird, for me. Being back at school again as a 27 year old woman. Being back at school again as a 27 year old married woman who daydreams about pushing a baby in a stroller. coming home at night to my husband, making a healthy dinner, working out and soaking in a relaxing bath before falling asleep peacefully.
I wonder sometimes what school would be like if it were populated with more people "like me" and less people who are "supposed" to be here. Today I imagined a world in which all of the 18 - 22 year olds were sent to some kind of "camp" where they lived for four years instead of going to college. At this camp they would hold down jobs: retail, bartending, professional surfing, waitressing and then the rest of the time they would be free to "get it out of their system."
I kind of imagine the whole thing to be like one long Spring Break. Partying, going out of control, binge drinking, the whole deal. Girls and Guys for that matter gone wild. I mean, isn't that what college really is anyway? And sure, I'm generalizing here but that's what a generalization is, right? A phrase that sums up a large group of people. Clearly this isn't true of ALL 18 - 22 year olds in college but from my experience, it is true of most of them.
If this camp did exist, the only difference in this four year experience for these kids would be that they wouldn't be doing all of those things AND going to school. The benefit here is obvious: education and the value of the education wouldn't, therefore, be lost on them.
See, i did half of my schooling as one of Those Kids. I was an 18-19 year old maniac. I was up all night and sleeping all day. I was counting down to Thursday nights when I could put on a mini-skirt and boots and dash off to the closest party. I wasn't sitting in class taking diligent notes and asking the professor what his interpretation of a particularly vague Emily Dickinson poem was. But that's me now. Those are the things that I do now that i am back to school as a 27 year old.
And i think it's a shame that college gets wasted on the younger members of our culture (myself would've been included in that) who don't appreciate it because there are so many people who I know now, who are in my age category (mid to late twenties) and who have already completed their schooling but have no idea what they are doing and where they are going in life. I think that it would benefit those people greatly to be able to pull a massive re-do and to attend school now. What would it mean to them to get to show up with their books and their pens and to actually listen to the conversations in class, and to approach the topics from a more mature and developed mentality instead of from the taking-it-all-for-granted mentality of the 18 - 22 year olds.
It's not the fault of the 18 - 22 year old that they take it for granted. Why wouldn't they? They don't know what the Real World is like, do they? (though of course they would protest this statement greatly - i would have, too!). They haven't had to go out there and learn it. Again, this is a generalization but for the most part these middle and upper class students haven't paid rent and a car payment and their bills, they don't know what it's like to be stuck in life wishing that you could do something meaningful that fits your personality. They are going from the pampered hallways of their youth directly into the safety of their college education and they don't know the value they can find in those hallowed hallways.
It's a shame, it is. School is so expensive and since this camp that i describe doesn't exist, most people wake up on the other side of 22 stunned and confused with the daunting task of joining the working world. They may look down at the diploma in their hands and wonder just what it is they've done, what it is they supposedly are knowledgeable of and what happens next. I've seen many a friend turn and run screaming back into the doors of a university just to get a post-graduate degree because the task of stepping into "Reality" is too confusing, too scary for them at this point. I know other friends who lament their time wasted, who wish they would have studied something different, who wish they had the money to go back again now.
Wouldn't it be great if these sorrows weren't thrust upon us at the beginning of our lives? Wouldn't it be great if we could emerge at 26 ready to take on the world because we partied through the immaturity, we focused hard during the learning and we could take on school with a better, more well-rounded grasp of who we are and what we want from life?
I know that the likelihood of this happening is .00000000000009% but i feel compelled to describe it anyway.
As for me, I'm glad that I waited this long to finish up the second half of my education. Sure, sometimes i feel behind when i compare myself to others. Yes, occasionally i look at girls walking around campus in stiletto heels and poofy skirts and wonder if they're filming a new episode of SATC but for the most part I am comfortable here and am secure in my decision. I know that I waited until it was right for me, until I had gotten it all out of my system. And I can move forward with the knowledge that those 5 or 6 years i took off weren't wasted at all because I know what I want and who I am. And i have at leas 70 more years ahead of me.
that should be enough time to fit everything in...