“If I Were a Young College Student”

(this is not actually an image of me)

(based on a 37-year-old’s observations of the first week of the fall semester ’06)

If I Were a Young College Student

I would wear a sparkly black tank top with my dingy pink-gray bra straps hanging out. I would not care or notice.

For lunch I would eat a big basket of french fries with chili and cheese on them. My beverage of choice would be a Coke. Repeat throughout the week.

I would stand in the grassy quad in a cotton blouse, long denim skirt and blue-and-white candy-striped socks, rolling a ball over my arms like a hippie rhythmic gymnast. Graceful and oblivious, a quiet and lovely spectacle.

I would converse with you openly in the cafeteria about how I have gotten drunk every night since New Year’s Eve. I would also tell you that I am quitting drinking for the week because I am on antibiotics.

I would wander the halls like a lost soul and ask a perfect stranger, “Where the fuck is my philosophy class?” I would deliver no more details, but would tromp away, sighing.

5 responses to ““If I Were a Young College Student”

  1. I would be just out of high school and thinking that my life was so much better than the older students sitting in a community college classroom. I would feel sorry for them because they were older than dirt and rain and had no other life than having their work in on time and asking questions. I would not miss class because the day care had lice.

  2. I would imagine myself on my 30th birthday, and hope that I had the resources to be a college student forever. But, I would imagine that I was working on my 3rd degree by then…not my first. You are an incredible woman Jen, and we’re doing it… just the way it is supposed to be. And think, we can wear that pink bra and not care. More so now than then.

  3. Six years ago, at the age of 37, I went back to school to finish an undergraduate degree I ditched more than a decade previous. (My application contained transcripts from five campus from San Francisco to Brighton, spread over a seven year period.) My plan was that after five years, I would have received my BA, finished off an MFA program, and finally be basking in the success of a first published novel. The first part of the plan is complete. Parts two and three are still in limbo.

    And so, when I was a 37 year old college student ….

    I had a deeper understanding of the material covered in my Renaissance Literature class than if I were 20.

    Had enough sense to be wearing hiking boots on the geology field trip, unlike the others students who were wearing their day-to-day flip flops.

    Used the word “bullshit” with facility and confidence in an essay about Thomas Hart Benton’s influence on early Jackson Pollock.

    Was much less overwhelmed by the girl sitting in front of me and the beguiling curve of her neck and the manner in which she tossed her hair, than if I were 20 years old … and wearing my day-to-day flip flops.

    Enjoyed the sweet oblivion as my fellow students unsuccessfully attempted to text-message me. “It’s a phone. Why can’t you talk to me on it? I know how to do that.”

    And, of course, I believe I did wander the halls like a lost soul and ask perfect strangers, “Where the fuck is my philosophy class?” and delivered no more details, only to tromp away, sighing.

  4. > My plan was that after five years, I would have received my BA, finished off an MFA program, and finally be basking in the success of a first published novel. The first part of the plan is complete. Parts two and three are still in limbo.

    All I have to say is that I am SO glad that I am not a creative.

    > I had a deeper understanding of the material covered in my Renaissance Literature class than if I were 20.

    Amen to that. Also, I am not studying what my parents made me study, nor something that I chose because I couldn’t think what else to do. I am a woman with a mission. I want this like I have never wanted anything before, not so much with an overwhelming desire but with a ploddingly endless one as reliable as the sunrise.

    > And, of course, I believe I did wander the halls like a lost soul and ask perfect strangers, “Where the fuck is my philosophy class?” and delivered no more details, only to tromp away, sighing.

    LOL of all my observations (lifted directly from a week of campus life), that’s the one that I can easily envision myself doing 18 years ago.

    BTW to all young readers — I was 20 once, too. I am only making fun of what I too once was. Some day you willl see the world as I do, and have a laugh at yourself.

  5. “…in the grassy quad in a cotton blouse, long denim skirt and blue-and-white candy-striped socks, rolling a ball over my arms like a hippie rhythmic gymnast.”

    Wow, it’s amazing to hear how little has changed over the years. I’m sure the drum circles on the quad will start appearing soon as well.

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