The Forty-Four-Year-Old Freshman
Over the years when anyone asked if there was anything in my life that I regretted, my answer was always the same, “that I never went to college.”
Now, twenty-six years after high school, I decided to correct that regret and enrolled at the Nashville State Community College. The goal is an Associate, then a B.A. in English, which was my original plan when I was eighteen years old.
Why a community college over the grand architecture and shady benches of a more prestigious school? Finances, mainly. Considering that my first two years will mainly be classes to remind me of everything I have forgotton in the past quarter-century, I would much rather pay $130 per credit hour than $500. After the two years are completed, I can decide whether I would like to move on to TSU or MTSU, or, be content was an A.A. degree.
So, here I am – a forty-four year old man prepared to sit among students less than half my age, ready to learn English, History, Math and (for the first time in my life) a foreign language. (I decided on French).
Preparations are a little more difficult at this age. For one thing – the immunization records. When it comes to those school-aged records of having your Measles-Mumps-Rubella shots, how strange that doctor’s offices don’t have your file from forty years ago! Thankfully, a simple blood test confirmed that the shots and boosters were still floating around my body after all this time.
The COMPASS exam (placement test to determine your level of learning and comprehension) confirmed what I already knew - college level English and a much needed (RE)Introductory course in Math. It was only last week that I finally understood fractions after watching several Youtube videos on the subject. Even then, I wondered why my own teachers in high school hadn’t explained the process as clearly as Youtube. They probably did. The only difference is, back that I just didn’t care.
And perhaps that is the key. Whether you are eighteen and eighty-one, the desire to learn or improve has a lot more staying power when it is your own decision.
So, I’m registered and ready to begin the Fall term as the Forty-four-year-old-Freshman. Now the only thing standing in my way is picking out just the right backpack.