Entering my first classes as an older student is daunting, and a little terrifying. Especially since the school is riddled with Running Start students (Running start is a program which allows high school kids to get free college classes during their junior and senior years of school. The credits count towards both their AA and high school classes), and then throw in that I’ve got ten years on the average college student.
Ok, I am going to stop myself right there. That is not entirely true. I am 27, and I am going back to college. I have plenty of friends that started again at my age, and I have a really dear friend who has ten years on me and is just starting to go back to college to become an architect. So I can’t complain too much about my age. Never mind that both of my parents went back to school after I, their youngest child, graduated high school. Once again, cannot complain.
But I know there are other people out there, other people that are in the same boat as I, or any of the above folks mentioned. We are all late bloomers or returning students, and lets face it, things change.
So, to help the returning older student, I compiled some tips of things to keep in mind:
- Choose your study partners wisely.
Being an asshole student when I was in high school, I did go to Running Start, but I did it to take advantage of the system in a negative way, instead of using the powers for good. I wanted to be able to skip class and not have the school call my parents and rat me out. Seriously. That is why I went to running start. I know, I’m a jerk.
But if I did it, there are numerous other kids out there that are doing the same. There are also the kids just out of high school that are going to college because they don’t know what else to do and are just not ready to move out of their parents’ houses.
So, keep a good eye on your classmates, pick out the slackers and avoid them. They might be nice kids, they might be nice people, but you don’t want to get stuck with the lions share of the work load in your study group.
- Know your resources
Colleges are filled with resources to help you succeed. They are not like every other mountain that wants to defeat you, but rather wants to see you accomplish your goal, and do it well.
- You’re not the only one to have a first day
Every person there set foot on campus for the first time, meekly peaked around doors to see if they’re in the right building, room, area, etc. Asking for help for directions, advise – no one will begrudge you this simply because every one has experienced their first day on campus.
Just to drive the point home, I ran into three people I knew that were starting their first day back at school – highly unexpected since it’s the spring quarter. But there you have it!
As I wandered the campus, comparing it to the little bit I remembered from when I was in high school, I found the ladie’s room. I had to giggle as I read the graffiti on the walls of the stall.
No name Skank anywhere, no Ronda slept with Justine’s boyfriend. But instead, references to literature, and pros. Even with the multitudes of Running Start students that fill the halls, there is still the lack of high school BS.
I thought it was sweet.
I flushed and before leaving the stall, decided to take a picture of it. I heard the camera sound of my phone as I took the picture and gasped! I never had the sound on my phone audible – and there was a person in the next stall.
I don’t think I’ve ever left a bathroom so quickly and so red in the face.
The campus itself of course hadn’t changed much, aside from the new – what I think to be – science building across the street, but I knew that was going in. However, the halls that I had spent so much time between classes in, waiting for the class before mine to get out and visiting with my other friends, had acquired some brighter colored walls, in fact a cafe even, comfortable seating with lots of tables. It even had computers lining one wall.
I was pleased to note the upgrade.
With minutes to spare before class began, I dashed upstairs and obtained my student ID, and officially became an Orca, our mascot.