We’ve all heard the old adage that …”You can’t teach an old dog, new tricks.”
Well, I’m an old dog, and I’m about to find out if that’s true or not. I have enrolled in a local university and am trying to go back to college after 37 years to finish up and get my degree.
Now, you might ask yourself …why would he do that’And I would tell you, I don’t know, but as they say… it seemed like the thing to do at the time. It isn’t as if I don’t have enough things on my plate as it is now, but I guess this just adds a little more to the pile.
First off, I have to go in for an interview to see how many hours I’ll need on a degree plan. I’ve decided to go for a history degree since a business degree isn’t needed any longer. They suggested a degree in English or creative writing, but I passed on that as well, since I can’t stand anyone to critique my stuff. I’d hate to learn that everything I’ve been doing for years was all wrong. In this capacity, ignorance is truly bliss.
No, I figured if I am going to spend the next three or four years trying this out, I might as well dive into something I enjoy rather than something I dread. I love history, so that makes sense to me.
During the interview, they checked my last college grades. I had made a ‘D’ in a course, which had put me on academic probation. Since I never went back to school, I was still on probation after all of these years.
They wanted an explanation. Said they had to have one before I could be admitted.
I looked at the transcript and realized the last time anyone had even looked at this stuff was in 1968. That’s 37 years ago. I thought back to what was going on in my life and told them…I was a cop, the city had a riot, my wife was pregnant, she lost the baby and had a nervous breakdown, I had a new business getting started and was trying to make decent grades, but some how other things got in the way. They told me that was fine; they had more information than they needed. I got the impression they were looking for something along the lines of ….”I went on Spring Break and forgot”. I suppose kids out of high school don’t have many excuses like these. Well, they haven’t lived as long as I have either.
Anyway, here I sit in a class of 25, and I’m trying to figure out who’s the oldest, me or the professor. I can’t tell for sure. I can take notes, and I can listen and I can learn.
My kids think this is a hoot. I have a parking sticker on the back of my car, I have my books. God, are they expensive. I have my notebook and I have homework.
I spent all weekend reading 100 pages of my assignment and then writing a paper to be turned in next class. Over the past 30 years, I’ve written hundreds of papers, letters and proposals relating to various businesses that I’ve started or been involved with. I can tell you none of these has produced the kind of anxiety I’ve gotten over this first paper. My palms are sweaty and I’m nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs while my wife reads what I’ve written. She says she likes it, but then I’m filled with doubt, because maybe she’s lying and doesn’t want to hurt my feelings. Can it be this bad or is it really good’The only true way to find out is to turn it in and let it be graded.
For years I had this nightmare that I was in a geometry class again and had this final exam, which I had zero possibility of passing. If I didn’t pass I was doomed to repeat this course over and over. I suppose that’s one reason I’ve waited so long to determine if I could muster up enough gumption and brain cells to get back into the habit of studying and learning something new again.
So, I’ve paid my tuition, bought all of my stuff and am now committed to doing this semester. We’ll see what happens and how it goes from here on out.
At least it’ll give me something to write about each week.